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Quarry apprentice chalks up an industry first

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Mike Hill, chief executive of The Hills Group congratulates Aidan Jeffreys on the successful completion of his apprenticeship, joined by Peter Andrew, group director of Hills Quarry ProductsMike Hill, chief executive of The Hills Group congratulates Aidan Jeffreys on the successful completion of his apprenticeship, joined by Peter Andrew, group director of Hills Quarry ProductsAhead of National Apprenticeships Week next week (March 4 to 8) a trainee with a Swindon-based aggregates firm has chalked up an industry first.

Aidan Jeffreys, who works at Hills Quarry Products, has become the first candidate in the UK to complete the Level 2 Mineral Processing Mobile and Static Plant Operator apprenticeship.

Aidan’s apprenticeship programme, which began in September 2017, was delivered by Mentor Training Solutions with the support of his colleagues at Hills.

“I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship. At first it was a little daunting but once I learnt the processes, the aggregate products and how to use the equipment, the training became easier,” said Aiden.

“Everyone has been helpful, patient and friendly throughout my apprenticeship and support from my colleagues on site helped me to progress quickly and complete the apprenticeship in only 15 months.

"I am also very pleased to be the first person in the UK to complete this qualification.”

Peter Andrew, group director at Hills Quarry Products, said: “We are delighted that Aidan has completed his apprenticeship so successfully, he has settled in extremely well and coped well with the pressures of learning whilst training.

“Due to the success of Aidan’s apprenticeship, we want to increase our recruitment of apprentices and we hope Aidan is the first of many apprentices to join the company.”

During the apprenticeship, Aidan spent the majority of his working week undertaking practical and theoretical work-based learning units and a variety of training courses including learning how to operate mobile and static plant, health, safety and environmental good practice and achieving a Level 2 Diploma in Plant Operations.

The apprenticeship programme was developed and delivered by Mentor Training Solutions to meet the requirements of the apprenticeship standard and assessment plan developed by a trailblazer group of industry employers including Hills Quarry Products and MPQC’s standard-setting organisation MP Futures.

The programme provides apprentices with high-quality training to grow their skills, knowledge and understanding to competently operate mobile and static plant, providing them with a strong foundation to develop their career within the mineral processing and associated industries.

Tracy Colton, head of apprenticeships at Mentor Training Solutions said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Aidan and the team at Shorncote Quarry who have been enthusiastic and supportive from the beginning.

"Aidan’s knowledge, confidence and capability have developed throughout his time on programme and I am sure Aidan will continue to learn and can look forward to a fantastic career within the industry.”

Aidan is now a fully qualified Mobile Plant Operative and will continue to work at Hills’ Shorncote Quarry near Cirencester where he undertook his training.

Hills is looking to recruit two apprentices this year to start the Mobile and Static Plant Operator apprenticeship in September at Shorncote Quarry and Mortimer Quarry near Reading.

Anyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship can contact the Hills Group on telephone 01793 781193 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.