Overview of the role

Maintaining, managing and installing a diverse range of specialist equipment and technology used in the manufacture of food and drink products.

Details of standard

This standard has options. Display duties and KSBs for:

Occupation summary

Food and drink is one of the largest, most dynamic and fastest growing sectors of industry. Food and drink engineers maintain, manage and install a diverse range of specialist equipment and technology used in the manufacture of food and drink products. Combining engineering competence with an understanding of the principles of food safety, science and technology, their focus is on managing, maintaining and continuously improving existing assets. They operate within the confines and unique challenges of the sector. These include the variability of the product itself, the legal and regulatory framework, environment factors and customer and consumer expectations and standards.

They fulfil a variety of functions within food businesses, dealing with mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, process development and project engineering.

They usually work as part of a team including other engineers and will interact with other functions and teams within their own company, such as manufacturing, production planning, health and safety and quality. They are responsible for their own work and may be responsible for teams.

This is a core and options apprenticeship. Apprentices must complete the core and one option relevant to their role. There are two options:

  • mechanical
  • electrical

Typical job titles include:

Continuous improvement food and drink engineer Food and drink electrical engineer Food and drink mechanical engineer Food and drink reliability engineer

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set their own entry requirements in terms of prior academic qualifications and vocational experience. Typically candidates will have 2 A-levels at Grade B or equivalent, including A-level in maths or equivalent and at least one further STEM based subject and 5 GCSEs including English and maths (grade C or above). The food and drink maintenance engineer level 3 apprenticeship provides a preparation route for this apprenticeship.

Core occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Co-ordinate site-based engineering activities using site standards.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 2 Implement and operate engineering activities within regulatory requirements.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 3 Assist the site/company to deliver operational targets, achieving optimal operational efficiency at the lowest cost.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 4 Support the transition from a reactive to proactive approach to engineering.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 5 Maintain and optimise the performance of current food and drink manufacturing equipment and machinery.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 6 Design and install new process lines to meet emerging business needs.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 7 Embed reliability centred maintenance strategies and techniques.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 8 Identify the root causes of process and equipment failure and addressing through the implementation of continuous improvement techniques.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 9 Lead the development of systems to drive planning and control focussed improvements.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 10 Lead the efficient and effective delivery of asset care.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Option duties

Mechanical food and drink engineer duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 11 Option 1.

K19 K20 K21 K22

S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8



K1: Legislative, regulatory and ethical requirements, such as Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres (DSEAR) and Atmospheres and Explosives (ATEX) regulations, and their application to food engineering processes; food safety, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), health & safety and environmental considerations. Back to Duty

K2: Food science and technology; how engineering is used in food and drink production: heating processing, packaging, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), preservation, chilling, freezing, sterilisation. Back to Duty

K3: Engineering processes and equipment including automation and controls to make and deliver products to market: shaping forming equipment, ovens, chillers, freezers, sterilisers, MAP packing machines, check weighers, temperers, washing/cleaning, fillers, extruders, bulk solid handling & distribution and liquid systems process validation, sieving, filtration, metal detection, bar code verification metal detection wrapping and palletising. Back to Duty

K4: Engineering theory and techniques to develop processes i.e. thermodynamic and thermo-fluid analysis heat transfer can be applied to design of baking, cooling, preserving, freezing, chilling systems. Back to Duty

K5: Hygienic engineering principles relating to type of material, machine assembly, design and practice; and their importance to delivering food hygiene and safety and employee health and safety requirements in a food and drink process. Back to Duty

K6: Packing materials in food; inter-relationships with food ingredients, final product and their effects on safety, quality and performance through the supply chain i.e. how to engineer correct seals on film, cardboard, tins, stable transportation, moisture barriers. Back to Duty

K7: Problem solving tools to analyse e.g. Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve Control (DMAIC) principles. Back to Duty

K8: Interpretation and evaluation techniques. Back to Duty

K9: Overall Equipment Efficiencies (OEE), for example Smart Reliability Driven Maintenance approaches including Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM)/ Failure mode, effects, and critical analysis (FMECA), Condition Monitoring Techniques and applications, Single minute change of Die (SMED), Line balance. Back to Duty

K10: Risk management techniques, reliability/criticality tools and how they are used to reduce operational losses/wastage operations. Back to Duty

K11: Life Cycle Asset Management (LCAM), Criticality Analysis & Technology Selection (CATS), Intelligent Maintenance, Repair and Operations (inventory) (MRO) Optimisation. Back to Duty

K12: Product, machinery specifications: how they are used to set capability measurement, performance testing and maintenance requirements to deliver a standard set of operating conditions for consistent product delivery. Back to Duty

K13: Effective planning and scheduling, including effective communication, team working and project management techniques. Back to Duty

K14: Customer/food trade association standards, such as British Retail Consortium, Retailer and Engineering standards. Back to Duty

K15: General manufacturing services: steam, pneumatics and hydraulics, electrical supply, refrigeration, water supply and effluent. Back to Duty

K16: Manufacturing services specific to food: air filtration, oil free compressors, cleanliness of steam for food, sieving of materials, use of food grade lubricant, primary secondary cooling chemicals for food, MAP gases and generation i.e. Nitrogen. Back to Duty

K17: Factory digitisation/optimisation (Iot, Factory 2020 principles), for example principles of control engineering, logic controllers and data communication systems, sensors and devices, drives and transmissions, pumps and distribution systems, safety circuit systems, computer aided design, shop floor data gathering, PC use and computerised maintenance. Back to Duty

K18: Digitisation: 4.0, modelling of lines/process, 3d modelling scanning and printing, product dimensional measurement, rheology measurement. Back to Duty

K19: Mechanical design, mechanical analysis (static) performance of components, mechanisms and systems; study of friction wear; the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion (tribology). Back to Duty

K20: Laws of thermodynamics and its applications within a hygienic food and drink environment: the fundamentals of heat transfer, thermo-fluid analysis, entropy, energy efficiency; conservation and sustainability. Back to Duty

K21: Steam fundamentals such as fuel types, combustion, feedwater, boiler controls and instrumentation, operation of boilers, safety and legal requirements and boiler efficiency. Back to Duty

K22: Heat recovery systems and energy management including the requirements of efficient best practice. Back to Duty

K23: Electrical and electronic systems, design techniques and their applications to British Standards. Back to Duty

K24: Installation of systems and supply systems following food safety standards e.g. tray work. Back to Duty

K25: Advanced electrical principles (low voltage (LV) to high voltage (HV)). Back to Duty

K26: Instrumentation and calibration techniques for systems, for example thermo, weights and flow. Back to Duty

K27: Automation and control systems primarily with the following low voltage systems, i.e. building automation systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) controls, access control systems, data cabling and fiber optic cable installation and termination. Back to Duty

K28: Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and network systems Back to Duty

K29: Electrical safety systems and smart solutions. Back to Duty


S1: Use engineering principles to deliver products/packaged food. Back to Duty

S2: Comply with standard operating procedures, company, legal and regulatory requirements and customer/consumer and engineering standards. Back to Duty

S3: Plan, for example labour and engineering materials. Back to Duty

S4: Influence and communicate with colleagues and others, such as engineers, other functions and teams. Back to Duty

S5: Assess team and individual performance, provide feedback to improve; coach and mentor. Back to Duty

S6: Use continuous improvement techniques, for example apply quality management principles, participate in failure investigations and contribute to and implement practical engineering solutions for efficiency and/or profitability. Back to Duty

S7: Use IT, digitisation and manual methods to collect data from systems to support engineering activity within the business. Back to Duty

S8: Use and develop planned preventative maintenance (PPM) strategies, incorporate appropriate proactive maintenance routines, such as vibration analysis, thermography, simple visual/part measurement. Back to Duty

S9: Analyse operational performance, specification and data. Back to Duty

S10: Evaluate possible failure modes and identify strategy, for example technical risk assessment methods, PPM to RCM techniques. Back to Duty

S11: Contribute to the construction and commissioning of equipment and machinery used for producing preserved/fresh and safe food and drink products. Back to Duty

S12: Design, produce, and operate mechanical machinery. Back to Duty

S13: Design power circuits, utilising software and calculation. Back to Duty

S14: Apply specialist reliability engineering techniques to prevent or reduce the likelihood or frequency of failures i.e. vibration analysis, oil sampling, heat mapping, non-destructive testing. Back to Duty

S15: Apply thermodynamic theory to more complex engineering systems, for example tempering chocolate, cleaning systems, sterilisation, vacuum cooling. Back to Duty

S16: Design and improve systems, for example steam, water or air. Back to Duty

S17: Design and configure electrical systems i.e. add distribution boards to circuits. Back to Duty

S18: Modell dynamic systems utilising software tools. Back to Duty

S19: Design and modify electrical control engineering systems i.e.: Engineering LAN/ network. Back to Duty

S20: Diagnose faults on complex control systems. Back to Duty

S21: Decipher complex programme sequences in higher and lower level languages. Back to Duty


B1: Safe working, for example promotes a culture of food safety and safe working practices. Back to Duty

B2: Takes ownership of work, for example takes responsibility and ownership of decision making for good food practice; is proactive, and demonstrates initiative; plans work: dependable; works autonomously within own sphere of responsibility. Back to Duty

B3: Shows pride in work, for example strong work ethic; displays a positive mind set; pays attention to detail; looks for new ways of working that improve outcomes and results. Back to Duty

B4: Committed to self-development, for example seeks learning, drives the development of self and others; maintains and enhances own practice through continuing professional development activity. Back to Duty

B5: Shows integrity and respect, for example promotes integrity in process and site standards, respects others, promotes good communication at all levels, adapts personal style to meet work needs. Back to Duty

B6: Team player, for example drives good relationships with others, works collaboratively, contributes ideas and challenges appropriately. Back to Duty

B7: Responsive to change, for example flexible to changing working environment and demands; resilient under pressure. Back to Duty

B8: Shows company/industry perspective, for example promotes the position of the business in relation to market and competition, keeps up to date with industry and market advancement, commercially aware. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Professional recognition

This standard partially aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • Relevant professional institutions for Incorporated engineer

    Additional experiential evidence may be required.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 5
Reference: ST0624
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 10/01/2023
Approved for delivery: 10 May 2019
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months
Typical EPA period: 6 months
Maximum funding: £18000
Options: Mechanical food and drink engineer, Electrical food and drink engineer
LARS Code: 454
EQA Provider: Ofqual

Find an apprenticeship

Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: ABP Foods, Champion Reeves, Faccenda, KP Foods, Kraft Heinz, Muller, Nestlé, OAL, Pladis, Premier Foods, Princes

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 Standard and end-point assessment plan revised 10/01/2023 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 10/05/2019 09/01/2023 Not set

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Is this page useful?

Tell us about your visit

Help us improve our website