This apprenticeship standard has been approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. However, starts on the apprenticeship will only be possible once a suitable end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) has obtained Ofqual recognition. Once the EPAO has obtained Ofqual recognition, funding for apprentice starts will be permitted and this message will be removed.

Overview of the role

The design of a unique tooling process pathway that enables components to be mass produced in the most economically viable way.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the advanced manufacturing sheet metal/presswork supply chain of automotive and aerospace. The broad purpose of the occupation includes the design of a unique tooling process pathway that enables components to be mass produced in the most economically viable way. The process pathway often includes a sequential series of steps using uniquely designed press tooling procedures such as blanking, drawing, piercing and forming in order to make the completed component.

The tool process design engineer has to determine from the volume of required components whether to design manually operated or automatic (progression) press tooling. In some designs the components being produced could also be part of an assembly created from different additional sheet metal pressings that have to be welded together.

Examples of a tool process design is the manufacture of complex automotive and aerospace sub-assemblies such as aeroplane and car seat chassis, vehicle doors and bumper beam assemblies that undergo several process steps. Working with clients on unique components that create commercial advantage to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and through a process of critical analysis, interpretation and evaluation of complex information a unique innovated tool process pathway is created.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with managing directors, technical/production directors, senior managers in finance and purchasing, management/technical specialists from customers together with technical specialists from suppliers, the production team and operatives on the shop floor. A tool process design engineer will typically spend their time working between the design office, board room and the factory floor.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for designing a unique economically viable high-volume process tooling pathway, capable of mass production while meeting customer specification and achieving consistently high tolerances and quality standards. A tool process design engineer will work both autonomously or as part of a team, depending on the project, company size, and will exercise considerable judgement on projects with a high-level personal decision making and influence.

Depending on the size of the organisation a tool process design engineer would typically report to the production or managing director of the company and will have significant leadership and project management responsibility together with budget accountability.

Typical job titles include:

Press tool designer Process design engineer Senior process specialist Tool process design engineer Tooling process specialist

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Design new unique tooling in line with a developing process route. Using computer aided engineering technology to ensure the full potential of the manufacturing equipment is best utilised against a background of competing existing production demands also applying and promoting Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) requirements to the process.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K8 K9 K11

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 2 Undertake complex forming simulation trials where the new component is "formed" from a series of process steps

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K8 K10

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7

B1 B3 B5 B6 B7 B9

Duty 3 Use bespoke computer aided design (CAD) equipment to create the design of the unique press tools associated equipment necessary to produce the component.

K1 K6 K8

S2 S3 S5 S6

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B9

Duty 4 Interpret customer data in order to develop a tool process route that meets the quality & quantity of parts needed by the client

K1 K3 K4 K5 K7 K8 K9 K11

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6 B8 B9

Duty 5 Consider manufacturing feasibility issues and offer counter proposals back to the customer offering safety performance to the component including component handling issues (sharp edges and component lifting weight)

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K9 K11

S1 S2 S3 S6 S7 S8

B1 B2 B3 B4 B6 B7 B8 B9

Duty 6 Develop the tool design brief to meet customer requirements in relation to cost quality and delivery including health and safety (H&S) considerations such as tool handling features.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K8 K9

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8

B2 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9

Duty 7 Design and developing the process brief, while being an implementer of best practice in safety management.

K1 K2 K6 K8 K11

S1 S7 S9

B1 B2 B5 B9

Duty 8 Applies the companies’ quality standards to create a tool pathway design as specified by the customer in line with internal H&S standards and the customer's needs.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K8 K11

S1 S2 S5 S7

B1 B3 B4 B5 B7 B9

Duty 9 Interact with the design office, factory floor, suppliers and customers to confirm design parameter

K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8

S3 S4 S5 S7 S8

B1 B2 B3 B4 B6 B7 B8

Duty 10 Use appropriate planning techniques necessary to meet design, technical and budgetary requirements

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K11

S1 S3 S5 S6 S7 S8

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B7 B8 B9

Duty 11 Provide technical updates and progress reports to the Managing or Production Director and client using Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) Technique reporting

K1 K3 K5 K9 K11

S6 S7 S9 S10

B1 B2 B4 B5 B7

Duty 12 Controls expenditure and works within specified budgetary constraints, liaise with the finance team and ensure the appropriate level of financial impact on the company

K1 K3 K4 K7 K8 K9

S1 S5 S6

B2 B3 B8



K1: Strategic tool design including the principles and practices of toolmaking machine capability and the limitations of new press tools Back to Duty

K2: How to design a new tooling process for volume production without inhibiting existing production demand using leadership and management techniques Back to Duty

K3: Planning and forecasting outcomes of new tooling processes including those where there is limited definition tooling processes Back to Duty

K4: Applies business improvement processes and techniques, innovative ways of working and failure proofing techniques (for example Poke Yoke) to deliver a feasible and economically viable process Back to Duty

K5: Collaborative working including relationship management with clients, stakeholders and the supply chain by utilising negotiation, influencing and mutual problem solving techniques. Back to Duty

K6: The scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical principals involved in creating the optimal manufacturing process design, including geometric dimensioning and tolerances allowing conceptualisation and refinement of the design and theoretical fixture behaviour Back to Duty

K7: Advanced lean manufacturing techniques including programme management, failure mode analysis, problem solving, advanced quality planning and single minute exchange of dies (SMED) Back to Duty

K8: Properties of materials including the metallurgical properties of various metals, for example, mild steel stainless steel and predicting the effect on the material during the tooling process Back to Duty

K9: Business planning including project management, planning, forecasting, risk analysis, financial planning, commercial impact and contractual obligations, together with supply chain management, logistics and resource constraints Back to Duty

K10: Team formation and leadership including motivation, coaching and human resource development, preventing dysfunctional working using techniques such as emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and change management Back to Duty

K11: High volume sheet metal forming and cutting techniques in a continuous production environment taking into consideration industry requirements and regulations. Back to Duty


S1: Design and trial volume press tooling processes including blanking, piercing, forming, draw forming, press tool components selection, ganged setup, progression tooling, transfer tooling, clamping, material selection and heat treatment Back to Duty

S2: Create new tooling solutions using specialist software programmes to produce 3 dimensional (3D) models Back to Duty

S3: Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate complex information and ideas to create the new tooling solution, using bespoke software programmes to create 3D models such as car seat chassis assemblies Back to Duty

S4: Design and develop gap gauges, acceptance gauges including co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) dimensional checking and 3D laser scanning for analysis and problem resolution Back to Duty

S5: Undertake advanced forming simulation using computer aided equipment (CAE) Back to Duty

S6: Confirm feasibility and estimate the cost of volume component production including, gross material cost, labour costs, machine cost overheads, machine utilisation capacity (Takt time) capital expenditure and consumables and contribute to overall budget management. Back to Duty

S7: Design tooling solution to meet customer requirements including external specifications set by clients and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) while fulfilling ethical and sustainability requirements. Back to Duty

S8: Lead and manage a team to implement new tool process projects from their inception into full production, for example by using planning, organising team control and motivational techniques. Build on the ideas of others to improve outcomes. Back to Duty

S9: Communication and influencing techniques by choosing appropriate communication methods for the audience, ensuring understanding and delivering effective presentations and reports Back to Duty

S10: Provide timely succinct written reports that explains complex technical issues and potential consequences using language and phrases appropriate to the audience’s knowledge and understanding. Back to Duty


B1: Strong work ethic with a positive attitude, motivated by engineering and business values for example: motivated by externally set challenges, accountable and persistent in completing tasks. Back to Duty

B2: Professionalism - dependable, ethical, responsible and reliable while consistently setting demanding personal targets Back to Duty

B3: Team player, works effectively within a team and supports others when required. In doing so, applies these behaviours in a respectful and professional manner Back to Duty

B4: Self-analytical, overcomes problems through a process of reflection and review and by undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) in order to use new technological advances in the sector Back to Duty

B5: Commits to the beliefs, goals and standards of their own employer and to the wider industry and its professional standards Back to Duty

B6: Problem solving identifies issues quickly, enjoys solving complex problems at the root cause and applying appropriate solutions Back to Duty

B7: Quality focus that promotes continuous improvement and consistently applies logic to the design process Back to Duty

B8: Resourceful and adjusts to different conditions and technologies through market research quickly while continuing to meet the tool process design criteria Back to Duty

B9: Demonstrates a safety mind-set and promotes Health and Safety leadership to others at all times. This occupation sits within an industry with extensive and rigorous Power Press Regulation (PUWER) requiring a disciplined and responsible approach to manage, mitigate and avoid risk 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 aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • IMechE for This Apprenticeship Standard aligns with the current edition of the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) at Incorporated Engineering (IEng) level. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship will either wholly or partially satisfy the requirements for IEng and reaches the agreed level of professional competence as defined in the Assessment Plan.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: non-degree qualification
Reference: ST0641
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 27/02/2024
Approved for delivery: 10 July 2020
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 48 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £22000
LARS Code: 578

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Confederation of British Metalforming, Stadco, Milton Keynes Pressings Ltd, Gestamp, Regent Engineering, Kiyokuni Europe, Impression Technologies, HT Brigham, Denso Marston, Aisin Europe, Hadley Group

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 10/07/2020 Not set Not set

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