Improving competency in the industry

We are now confronted in Australia with a federal election campaign that will dominate 2013. Our industry will continue to operate in this political environment but decisions made during the year will inevitably take into account potential political ramifications from the September election.

The amount, and extent, of regulation continues to burden our industry, despite some attempts in a few states to reduce “red tape” and regulatory burden. As individuals, and companies, we often experience frustration at the fact there is little we can do to change this other than to petition our politicians and support the lobbying efforts of our industry bodies.

The mining skills shortage also continues to put significant pressure on the quarrying industry. Training and competency remain major challenges for quarry operators as they try to retain good workers and provide training to the current workforce, to ensure they are competent for the tasks we expect of them. Unlike government regulation, however, this burden is one we can do something about, albeit it requires time and the allocation of resources.

Wikipedia defines “competence” as a combination of knowledge, skills and behaviour used to improve performance, or as the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role.

For an individual to obtain the knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable him or her to perform a task, he/she needs training, mentoring and an assessment by a competent person. In our industry, mentoring and often training is provided by a combination of site-based sharing of knowledge and externally provided training. This training is developed using the units of competency in the nationally recognised training package RII09. Much of the training offered by the IQA is based on the performance criteria of these units of competency.

In many areas of the country, registered training organisations (RTOs) offering training to the RII09 package are in short supply. The IQA is currently identifying RTOs that can provide this training across the country. If you would like information on these providers, please contact the IQA’s General Manager Paul Sutton, whose contact details are in the box-out to the right.

Funding for this training is also available federally through the National Workforce Development Fund, and through some states’ skills funding programmes. SkillsDMC is the industry skills council responsible for the RII09 training package. It has advisers in each state that can assist you in where to go for funding, and in preparing applications for funding. To find your local contact, visit the SkillsDMC website.

We have the provision of a skilled workforce in our own hands. We are the ones that need to decide we are going to improve competence
in our industry. There are training providers, skilled quarry workers and funding available, so there are really few excuses for us not achieving a competent workforce.

I understand that for many of you, particularly in remote areas, there are other issues at play but we often let the problem drive our thinking. When we make a conscious decision to fix something, we discover it is not so hard.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend