MATERIALS TESTING APPRENTICE (LEVEL 3), SOCOTEC UK (Align JV delivering the Central 1 portion of HS2 Phase one)

Your next step towards your dream career…


What? Level 3 Laboratory Technician Apprenticeship

Where? Align Compound, Chalfont Lane, Hertfordshire, WD3 9XN

When? Monday – Friday, 40 hours per week. Shift work may be a requirement.

How much? £15,000 pa

How long? Fixed period of 21 months with the opportunity to stay on with SOCOTEC permanently

Expected start date? 17th Jan 2022


Working for Socotec

SOCOTEC is the UK’s leading provider of testing, inspection, and compliance services. Our extensive service offering allows us to support customers with complete solutions providing peace of mind and delivering efficiencies. Dating back more than 100 years, SOCOTEC aim is being “The UK`s leading provider of testing, inspection and compliance services.”

At Align you’ll play your part in delivering a landmark project of international significance. The twin-bore tunnels through the Chiltern Hills, five ventilation shafts and the Colne Valley Viaduct form a key section of the HS2 route. Together, they will be an iconic symbol of Britain’s future railway – featuring an imaginative, sympathetic design that will push the limits of infrastructure engineering. An opportunity like this might only come along once in a career.

With that in mind SOCOTEC are looking for 2 passionate people to work on this major rail infrastructure project with Align JV. Anyone who has a keen interest in science and isn’t afraid to get stuck in and get messy should apply.


What it’s like being a materials testing tech

As a material testing technician apprentice, you’ll be training for your Level 3 NVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (LATA). Your goal will be to learn how to test construction materials, including concrete, aggregates, and earthworks, to ensure they are safe to be used on construction sites. There is a physical nature to some of the work carried out such as some heavy lifting of sample bags is required from time to time so you will be required to able lift weights up to 20kg’s at a time.

We are looking for you to develop into the role by undertaking an agreed structured training program of study in house so that in time you will develop an understanding and knowledge of several different types of tests on concrete, soils, and aggregates in the laboratory. Specific duties would include:

  • Carry out testing in the laboratory to assess compliance with the relevant British, European, or site-specific specification
  • Maintain high standards of work and compliance with UKAS accreditation requirements
  • Comply with quality system for materials testing laboratory, developing an understanding of materials reporting
  • Produce factual reports that inform the project teams and managers within agreed deadlines
  • Maintain equipment calibrations and notify the lab manager of any defects requiring attention
  • Proactively communicate within the team to ensure effective performance
  • Comply with laboratory and site safety procedures
  • Responsible for maintaining training records

Working as part of a close-knit team, you won’t be alone. You’ll be supported and guided, learning on the job, by a team of experienced materials technicians to gain official qualifications that’ll boost your career.



So how does the apprenticeship work?

At Tiro we’re obsessed with changing lives through science and technology apprenticeships so we can’t wait to have you on board.

Over 21 months, you’ll devote 20% of your 40 hours of working time towards a Level 3 Laboratory Technician apprenticeship. You’ll be trained by an expert tutor from Tiro as well as an experienced mentor at SOCOTEC, who together, will make sure you develop the knowledge, skills, and work habits you’ll need to succeed in your career. The best part? You’ll be earning £15,000 a year while you learn.

Being an apprentice is hands-on, so you’ll get the chance to learn things you might otherwise not have experienced in a university or college environment.

Tiro and SOCOTEC’s goal is to transform you into a fully competent technician, ideally open to accepting a full-time, permanent position within the SOCOTEC team.


Who we’re looking for:


  • Passion for science, and/or laboratory testing.
  • Interest in construction (Prepared to get stuck in)



  • Ideally English, Maths and Science GCSE A-C grade or equivalent (however lower grades will be considered, so don’t be put off)
  • Full UK driving license (due to travelling to various locations within the site once trained and qualified)
  • Completed an intermediate (level2) apprenticeship in An Engineering or Construction Discipline or equivalent (desirable but not essential)



  • Good IT skills – Knowledge of Microsoft Office packages e.g. Excel.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good use of your initiative



  • Proactive in identifying problems and defects
  • Be willing to work outside of a pre-defined scope to help the team move through initiatives
  • Committed to self-development
  • Accurate and meticulous person
  • Creative and innovative
  • A strong team player


Things to consider

Due to the location of the site Align JV are offering subsidised housing for £10 a night to all apprentices which can be used throughout the week.

What next?

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you may be offered a more permanent job with Socotec . If not, your qualification will open doors elsewhere in a related field. Or you might decide to move on to a higher-level apprenticeship where available.