Mineral and Construction Product Sampling and Testing Operations

Occupation Overview

Collecting and sampling mineral and construction products to ensure they meet customer specifications

Occupational Profile

The Mineral and Construction industries employ around one and a half million people and contribute around £17 billion to the UK economy.

A Mineral and Construction Product Sampling and Testing Operator collects and samples mineral products, heavy construction products and/or final end use products to ensure they meet rigorous British and European standards (BSEN) and to ensure they meet customer specifications. Materials can include ready mixed concrete, cement, mortar, asphalt, road building and high speed rail products, precast and pre-stressed concrete. They work in a range of subsectors including mining, construction, quarrying, road building, waste and recycling operations. As product failure and poor quality can lead to end use failure, expert knowledge and attention to detail is essential.

A Mineral and Construction Product Sampling and Testing Operator can:

  • Collect and sample products at source and/or on customer site.
  • Report findings verbally and in writing in accordance with BSEN standards.
  • Suggest ways to improve quality of products using knowledge of the material and production process.
  • Use specialist equipment in order to grade materials, use compression and flexural testing equipment in order to measure strength, use nuclear density, thermocouples for temperature, slump and spread measurement equipment and methods for chemical analysis in order to check product quality, workability and consistency.
  • Prepare reports on quality measures and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Control raw material constituents by ensuring they are safely used and stored.
  • Use their knowledge of materials to minimise waste and support recycling.
  • Diagnose faults with sampling/testing equipment taking steps to rectify them.

They usually report to the technical site supervisor, but can also work autonomously and   have the ability to make decisions. This is a key role supporting the entire production process. Due to the safety critical nature of the role, attention to detail is essential.  Working safely and ethically is paramount as the sector is highly regulated so they always demonstrate an excellent understanding of site, regulatory, safety, health and environmental issues.


Health, safety & environment

What is required, an ability to:

  • minimise waste and recycle or dispose of waste in line with business environmental and sustainability policies.
  • comply with risk assessments, safe systems of work, company safety policy and procedures at all times.

Sampling and testing tasks

What is required, an ability to:

  • sample product either on production site or on customer’s site using the appropriate equipment for the product. For example, asphalt testing would include tests such as: organoleptic analysis, binder content, grading analysis, temperature, bulk density, % refusal density, insitu density and texture depth – when thinking of asphalt testing – assessing whether the material correct and whether it been laid correctly
  • plan and perform tasks following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and safe systems of work.
  • produce reliable and accurate reports
  • follow industry guidance when completing sampling tasks and and record progress against them.
  • diagnose faults with sampling and testing equipment and take appropriate actions.
  • identify deficiencies in both product and the placement of the product. (e.g. concrete being poured into foundations which are holding rain water)
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate data and identify results requiring further investigation (non-conformance) seeking advice from colleagues as appropriate.


What is required, an ability to:

  • deal with issues calmly and diffuse difficult situations.
  • provide courteous and attentive customer service in every aspect of the role, this includes preparing clear written reports and listening and speaking to customers politely, explaining issues factually and clearly.
  • communicate information, including the use of information management systems, either digital or paper based.
  • communicate with people at all levels effectively ensuring accurate information is passed clearly and promptly.

Commitment to code of ethics

What is required, an ability to:

  • work within the company rules and regulations.


What is required, an ability to:

  • use IT software and systems in line with company policy and procedures. This will include using test data entry, analysis and reporting systems.


Health and safety

What is required, an understanding of:

  • the risks of activities and equipment both on site and within normal place of work. H&S at Work Act 1974, Manual Handling Operations regulations and COSHH regulations.
  • risk assessments, mineral products and industry related legislation, safe systems of work, site specific hazards.
  • the importance of promoting a positive health, safety and environmental culture through situational awareness and by personal example, taking appropriate actions if others are acting unsafely

Effective communications

What is required, an understanding of:

  • reporting lines in both day-to-day and emergency situations.
  • how to communicate with customers and colleagues (e.g. completing product reports, verbally briefing site manager)  and how to develop and maintain working relationships.

Commitment to code of ethics

What is required, an understanding of:

  • the wider business in which the company operates including personal role within the organisation, ethical practice, policies and procedures

Product and technical knowledge

What is required, an understanding of:

  • products ranging from clay, aggregates, gypsum, cement, concrete and asphalt. How these are produced from raw and recycled constituents; end uses; production requirements; customer requirements; production process and product specifications.
  • how products are interlinked (e.g. Aggregates are raw material in both concrete and asphalt. Gyspum is a raw material in cement.)
  • relevant BSEN or EN product standards for each product produced and how they apply in the workplace.
  • the implications of sub-standard/out of specification products to customers, end users and the wider business. sampling and testing equipment, processes and procedures. (For example air entrainment testing for external concrete slabs)


Professional judgement

What is required, will:

  • work within own level of competence or limits of responsibility and judge when to seek advice from line manager or colleagues.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

What is required, will:

  • identify own development needs and take action to meet those needs.
  • use own knowledge and expertise to help others.
  • proactively participate in continuous personal development.

Customer service

What is required, will:

  • maintain a professional, courteous, polite and friendly approach at all times.

Accepting responsibility

What is required, will:

  • take responsibility for own behaviours, actions and standards of work.
  • work well in a team.


What is required, will:

  • strive to work efficiently, meet deadlines whilst maintaining accuracy.

 Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the entry requirements for this apprenticeship.


MPQC Level 2 Certificate in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities for Mineral Products Operations must be achieved to meet regulatory requirements within the sector.

Apprentices without level 1 English and Maths will need to achieve this level and take the test for level 2 English and Maths prior to taking the end-point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.



Review date: 

After three years.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


Recruiting school leavers? We can help