The PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology is a foundation degree level course that is internationally recognised as the premier qualification in the packaging industry.  

Our courses prepare learners to take responsibility for packaging operations at any level through the supply chain and can lead to higher level study.  We offer a number of course options that all feature guidance and support throughout the learning journey.

Why study towards the PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology?

Completion of the Diploma in Packaging Technology demonstrates your commitment to your career and to the industry.
Delegates who successfully complete the Diploma are equipping themselves for progression within the packaging industry to a position where they can assume responsibility for packaging in a company at any point in the supply chain. 
Networking opportunities abound, providing the opportunity to draw on the experience and knowledge of others.

Who is the course aimed at?

Diploma students come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines but they all share a desire to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the packaging industry. 
The Diploma is a Level 5 qualification (foundation degree level) so learners should expect a challenging and rigourous course that explores the packaging industry in detail.  We would normally expect those wishing to undertake the course to have a minimum of 1 GCE A-level and 5 GCSEs at grade A–C, or equivalent, including one science subject, or to have previously graduated from our PIABC Level 3 Certificate in Packaging course.   Industrial experience can be used as an alternative to formal qualifications and we expect all learners to have good communication, numeracy and IT skills.

How can I study the Diploma?

We offer our PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology course in three formats to suit learners of different types.

  • Online learning - If you feel confident in your ability to study independently or you need to fit your studies around a hectic work and personal life, our online online course might be the best option for you.  You can work through the units at a pace to suit you with the support of our online tutors.  You will still need to sit your examinations in either June or November.
  • Classroom course - If you would prefer a more traditional format you may wish to choose our intensive classroom course.  This is comprised of three, five-day sessions spaced roughly a month apart.  This format allows you to meet and learn with like-minded individuals and many of our former students have kept in touch.
  • On-site course - If you like to learn by seeing processes in action the on-site course is for you!  This option features 15 days of learning (five lots of three) days based at packaging sites around the UK.  In addition to lectures and workshops the onsite course also includes factory tours.

How is the course structured?

The PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology is split into four units which build on each other.

Unit 1 - Packaging in Today's World
This Unit introduces learners to the subject of packaging by examining what packaging is used for and what it does for the product and the user, both within its broad social, economic and marketing context, and meeting its specific functional and aesthetic requirements. Emphasis is placed on understanding product properties and the different and sometimes conflicting requirements and expectations at each stage of the life of the product, and thus deriving packaging solutions to meet these requirements and expectations. Factors which affect the safety and legality of packed products are considered, along with ways of ensuring compliance, and the need to recognise and address environmental impact.
Unit 2 - Packaging Materials
In this Unit learners study the main packaging materials: glass, metals, paper/board and polymers, along with closures, adhesives and labels.
The raw materials, manufacturing processes and conversion processes used for high volume packaging materials and components are studied along with how these materials are tested to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Performance throughout all stages is considered, including packaging lines (especially material/machine interfaces), storage and distribution, display and sale, use and disposal by the final consumer.  Market uses and applications, along with the influencing factors which affect current and future usage are also reviewed.
Unit 3 - Packaging Processes
In this Unit, learners study packaging machinery and packaging line operations in detail.  The Unit also introduces learners to many of the management functions associated with the design, development, production and use of packaging materials and components. These include design, decoration, line operations and quality systems.
The main decoration processes and how they relate to the main packaging materials are covered, along with an understanding of colour, pre-press processes and inks.  The advantages and disadvantages of each process are discussed, allowing learners to select the most appropriate process for a range of packaging materials and components.
Unit 4 - Packaging Reseach Project
Professional practitioners in the packaging industry are faced with different tasks and problems throughout their working life and a programme that prepares people for that type of role needs to ensure that they develop the skills of applying knowledge and expertise to the solving of such real-life problems. This Unit is designed to enable learners to apply what they know and have learned about packaging to a concrete research project, perhaps in their own company. This involves specifying what is to be learned, carrying out research and tests and reporting on their findings.  Tutors can play a key role in all stages of the organisation and completion of the project providing support and advice to candidates. Colleagues in the workplace and beyond and fellow students are also invaluable sources of support.

How long does the Diploma take to complete?

The PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology is assessed through four formal examinations and one research project report and we anticipate the the course should take around 480 hours to complete .  The examinations must be sat during one of PIABC's two examination series which take place in June and November each year.  Generally the Unit 1 and Unit 3 exams are on the morning and afternoon of the same day and the Unit 2A and 2B exams are on the morning and afternoon of the following day. Some people opt to sit two exams in one day, others prefer to sit one exam on each day; how you choose to complete your examinations is up to you. However, to help you to make good progress through your course and complete it in a timely manner we have put together the following suggestions.

For courses starting in Spring
  • The taught elements of the course will take place from March onwards
  • Aim to sit two exams during the November examination series and the other two in the examination series the following June. 
  • You should submit your research project title and ideas by 31 January, in between the two examination series, and your final project report should be submitted by 31 August the same year.

For courses starting in Autumn
  • The taught elements of the course will take place from September onwards.
  • Aim to sit two exams during the June examination series and the other two in the examination series the following November. 
  • You should submit your reserach project title and ideas by 31 July, between your two sets of exams, and your final project report should be submitted by 31 February.
For online learners
  • If you start the course between November and June, you should sit two exams in November and the remaining two exams the following June.
  • If you start the course between June and November, you should sit two exams the following June and the other two exams the following November.
  •  We recommend you sumbit your project title and ideas approximately 10 months after your start date and your final project report should be submitted a maximum of seven months after this.

How is the Diploma assessed?

Assessment takes a number of forms.  The theory you study in units 1 to 3 is assessed through four formal written examinations, consisting of short and longer answer questions.  These examinations vary between two and three hours in duration and are taken as part of PIABC's examination series in either June or November each year.
The final unit consists of a 5000-7500 word research project report.

How much does the course cost?

We offer our PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology course in three formats and the price varies depending on which option you choose. 

Our classroom and on-site courses cost £2899 (+VAT at 20% where applicable) which includes includes lunch and refreshments during the fifteen days of face to face teaching.  Our online course costs £2045 (+VAT at 20% where applicable).  T

In all instances there are additional fees of £380 (VAT free) for your registration with the awarding body PIABC, and £175 (0% VAT) for the course text book.

This makes the total costs, including VAT as follows:

  •  Classroom and onsite courses - £4033.80
  •  Online course - £3009

Members of IOM3 are entitled to a discount of 10% on the course fees (not including PIABC registration and the course text book).



Register to attend the classroom-based PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology course which will be running on 13-17 September, 11-15 October and 15-19 November 2021.




Register to do the PIABC Level 5 Diploma in Packaging Technology Online Course