Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer discounts?
To be fair to all, we do not offer discounts as our courses are keenly priced. All people on the course pay the same amount. This allows people to book well in advance, especially those who need to book flights, travel, hotels etc..
Can I pay in other currencies?
Credit card payments made over the phone are only accepted in Sterling. On our website you can use our Worldpay secure portal to pay in Sterling, Dollars or Euros using a credit card. You can pay using your Paypal account in the currency of your Paypal account. International bank transfers by Swift/IBAN processed at your end in your own currency and paid at our end in Sterling.
Are meals included?
Refreshments, snacks and lunches are provided during course hours. If you have any particular dietary requirements, we can accommodate your needs, just let us know.
Is accommodation included?
Accommodation is not included as people have widely differing needs and budgets. We have a local accommodation list with recommendations, some of which offer our customers preferential rates.
Where are you located?
We are located north of London with good transport links to all London airports and the Eurostar Terminal. Click here for our local accommodation and travel information.
If I book a course and travel what happens if the course is cancelled?
If you have paid in full and received a course confirmation, we guarantee to run the course. We use our own facilities and tutors, with no middle men, and we have never cancelled a course to date.
Can you provide an invitation letter for my visa?
Once your course is booked and paid, we will send you a full course confirmation and invoice receipt. These documents, combined with your travel details, are usually sufficient for your visa application, but always check the requirements of your local UK embassy.
Do I need to bring anything?
Just yourself, an open mind, long trousers and closed leather shoes.
I have a disability, can I attend your courses?
This will depend on the type of disability and which of our courses you wish to attend. We can accommodate wheel chair access, learning disabilities etc.. Please contact us directly to discuss your needs.
What is available for lunch?
Fresh sandwiches and rolls are provided throughout the week with a range of fillings. Tea, coffee, orange juice, biscuits, crisps and fruit are provided throughout the day. We can cater for vegetarian, vegan, halal, allergies etc. If you have any particular dietary requirements, just let us know when booking.
Why choose Dark Matter Composites?
How do we know how good you are? Why should we choose DMC over other courses?
Customers have directly compared our courses to other providers and have provided feedback confirming that our courses have more structure, more technical content, are more intensive and actually deliver what the industry needs. Have a look at our customer feedback, customer list and course structure and feel free to call us with any queries you may have.
What is covered on the courses?
We have been lead consultants in producing the UK’s National Occupational Standards for composites since 2001. These dictate the technical content for UK qualifications such as BTechs/NVQs and are approved by the UK’s composites industry. The technical content of our courses have always been in-line with these standards so you can be assured that the content is what the industry needs.
Click here for how our courses are structured.
Click here for individual course information.
Who does the teaching?
We train and develop our own in-house course tutors. All tutors have industry experience and are actively involved in providing training and consultancy to our customers to ensure they are the experts in their field. Click here for more information.
Why don’t you offer 1 or 2 day courses?
We have run these in the past, however the time constraints greatly limit the practical exercises you can do and what you gain from them. Structured week long courses, where you produce a range of parts yourself, allow you to digest and retain much more information. You complete the processes from start to finish on different parts and gain a much greater understanding.
There are cheaper courses available, why should I choose dark matter composites?
We use industry recognised suppliers, materials, equipment and tools, no shortcuts are taken. Our expert tutors ensure you get the best technical instruction without compromise.
I have seen other courses that have similar names to yours, how are they different?
We have been delivering composites training courses for over 15 years and during this time our courses have been imitated but never bettered. Our customer feedback has confirmed, along with continual updating of courses, that our technical expertise and course content are second to none.
What happens on the course?
Do I get to make my own parts?
Yes, all of our courses are highly practical and typically three to four items are produced by each delegate. Everything you make is yours to take away.
Do you recommend any reading material prior to course?
As yet we haven’t found a single book that gets the processing detail across that complements our courses. There is so much detail covered on our courses, even we have found it difficult to put it into book form. During the course we are happy to recommend supplementary books, suppliers, manufacturers, etc..
How will I be learning?
All our courses include interactive theory sessions (with slides and notes), detailed demonstrations and practical sessions broken down into bite sized chunks, accommodating for all learning styles. Our tutors address the needs of the group and individuals throughout the course. Each course is structured with full lesson plans, click here for an example.
How can you teach beginners and experienced people on the same course?
All our practical exercises are intricate and technical. They are designed to be achievable and meet a range of needs. For beginners the courses address intensive initial training, allowing them to gain experience and achieve results quickly. For experienced personnel, the course is more thought provoking, leading to much more detailed application and refinement of techniques. As we keep our courses up to date with new developments there is always something new to learn.
Is there a test? Do I get a Certificate?
Practical assessments and a short written test are included in all our courses. The results you achieve are provided at the end of the course and on a final certificate sent afterwards. You may find this useful if you are looking for work in composites, as our courses are well recognised within the industry.
I am new to composites and your courses seem very technical, are they suitable for me?
Our courses are suitable for anyone new to composites including beginners and unskilled people. Exercises take you from first principles to more advanced techniques as the course progresses. If you have any questions about suitability of a course we are always happy to chat.
I want to make composite parts and don’t know where to start, which course is best?
Our ‘Produce Your Own Composite Parts’ course is ideal. You will make your own parts from start to finish, from making a pattern, to a mould and then final parts. All the process steps are covered along the way; from initial dimensions through to final trimming and finishing. We will explain how to set up a basic composite workshop, advising you what to buy and from where (and what to avoid). People who have attended this course have gone onto making their own parts both as hobbies and businesses.
I’m not an engineer, can I still attend your Engineer and Designers courses?
These courses require delegates to have a high level of technical learning ability and to be able to apply principles covered. A sound technical background is recommended for these courses (either through prior qualifications or time served experience) which can be material, process, manufacturing, engineering or design based. If you would like to discuss this with us we are always happy to answer questions. For Engineers and designers overview click here.
I already have experience, how can your courses help me?
Our technical course content has increased by 50% over the last 10 years to meet the highest demands of the composites industry. We have had many experienced personnel attend our courses, often with experience ranging from 3 to 20 years. To date, even experienced personnel have found our courses informative, challenging and key to getting up-to-date with current practices. The most common statement we get from experienced personnel is ‘I wish I had been told that years ago’. For reviews click here.
I want to repair composite parts, which course is suitable?
Our repair courses will be more than suitable to give you the knowledge and skills you need to complete your own repairs. You will learn the theory and practical skills/techniques required using a range of materials. On our stage 1 course alone you get to complete 8 repairs throughout the week, ranging from cosmetic through to structural repairs over a range of parts.
Do you offer a stage three repair course?
Our courses are very intensive and carefully structured to give you the most from the time you are with us. Most of the repair blanks are produced by us, prior to the course, giving you time to cover more repairs. As a result, there is no need to provide a third stage to our repair courses.
Why are the trimming and repair courses a higher price?
Complex parts and repair blanks are made by us prior to the course. This maximises your time to focus on completing a range of practical tasks, without spending your time making parts. It also ensures the consistency of our parts and repair blanks.
Jobs in Composites
I would like to have a career in Composites, what are the job prospects like?
The field of advanced composites has been growing continually worldwide. During the recent recession, some sectors have declined, but as a whole the composites industry has continued to expand. Anyone who can demonstrate a good grasp of composites can have good career prospects for years to come.
If I attend a course, will I get a job?
By attending a course, you will have the opportunity to learn about composites in a highly structured manner. We cannot make anyone skilled within a week, but assessments are included in our courses. The results of these show the achievement of an individual in a controlled environment, and gives employers a guide to your potential. Combined with the fact that you have invested your own time and money in a course, this will stand you out from the crowd.
Can you help me get a job?
We cannot find you a job directly but we can recommend agencies and websites that specialise in composites. Our courses are recognised within the industry and our final certificates show the marks you achieved. We have found that those who have succeeded on our courses have found work within the composites industry.
Materials & Equipment
Do you sell materials?
We do not sell materials, but we provide a list of material suppliers we use for our courses and recommend materials throughout the course. Using poor materials and equipment can cost more in the long run, so we also advise you on what to use and what not to use.
Your AIR tools are expensive, why should we spend so much?
When we started to develop air tool kits specially for composites, it was purely because we wanted the best extracted air tools available that did the job well. We were not driven by price, but having trialed many manufacturers air tools back to back, it was very apparent there was significant variation in tool balance, vibration and performance. Even similar looking tools, that you could mistake as just being a different colour, performed very differently. From past production experience we knew that Dynabrade tools lasted longer and performed better than the cheaper tools available and our testing confirmed this.
Our tools are used by skilled personnel as well as our course delegates. As such, they are not always treated well by our delegates. However, cheaper tools prove to be a false economy, they do not last, need frequently repair/replacing and in many cases do not work as well. We consider Dynabrade the 'Rolls Royce' of air tools which is why we worked with them to develop our range specifically aimed at the composites industry.
In all our demonstrations, we have shown customers that the tool performance can also have an impact on production time saving and additional process stages. Some processes that have taken days have been reduced to minutes or hours. Once you take into account time savings the tools can provide, the price of the tools become cost effective very quickly, making their higher initial cost very easy to justify.
Of course you need to work to you own budgets, but somethings are worth spending more on and will save you time and money in the long run. My favorite tool in our collection is still a 4” non-extracted disc cutter (DMP0139), which is now over 10 years old and as good as the day I bought it. If you would like advice on tools and equipment please contact us.
Replacement Course Certificates
I've lost the certificate from a course I attended. Can I get a replacement?
Yes we can provide a replacement certificate but we do have to charge a fee to cover the individual printing of a certificate. This can be ordered by clinking on the shopping option next to this text. We will need your full name as well as the course you attended and the month and year. If the course was booked through your company, we will need this information also. We have thousands of people who have attended our courses and it can be difficult to find the information in our archive without the information.