Industry News

A win for vocational education and training and quarrying

It is fair to say that vocational education and training (VET) has been slow to “take off” in Australia. Competency based training has been around for a long time and the current National Industry Training Package has now been in place for four years.
Quarry operators, however, have been happy to rely on internal, often unstructured training and university graduate programmes to train quarry supervisors and managers.
The major problem with this method of training is it requires competent site-based trainers and mentors to ensure competency outcomes are achieved and clearly a large proportion of our industry just doesn’t have such resources.
There has also been a shortage of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) offering training and assessment under the RII09 extractive industry training package throughout some parts of the country.
Some of this is the result of a lack of interest shown by the quarrying industry but high demand from the coal sector has also led RTOs to direct their attention to coal industry training.
In some states, legislated prescriptive coal competency requirements have meant all coal mine workers have been required to attain at least some units of competency under the RII09 training package.
It is therefore pleasing that a number of industry stakeholders including Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia, the Australian Drilling Association and the Australian Workers Union have recently signed a compact in support of the VET system and in particular the RII09 industry training package.
The IQA has supported this package since its introduction and all of our PDP programmes are mapped to units of competency within the RII09 package. The significance of this is that a market for structured training will be created, thus encouraging training organisations to offer competency training in the extractive sector.
I am also heartened by discussions within the National Mine Safety Framework on common competency requirements for statutory positions across the mining states of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, including the proposed new statutory position of quarry manager.
It’s our hope that competency requirements, in the form of a practicing certificate, will include recognition of competencies held under the RII09 training package and the IQA’s Quarry Management Certification System (QMCS).
The QMCS is an independent certification system, administered with integrity and transparency by a board of practitioners. 
It provides a path to certification of quarry supervisors and quarry managers based on comprehensive experience, qualifications, ongoing professional development (OPD) and continuing practice. 
While the VET qualifications Certificate IV in Surface Extraction Operations and Diploma in Surface Operations Management are prerequisites, there is also provision for special admission for those applicants that prior to the commencement of the scheme:
a) were performing in the role of a manager or supervisor relating to the quarrying industry and/or have been granted a relevant certificate, and 
b) have maintained their OPD and continuing practice.
The quarry industry has a proud history of on-site competency based training and it pleasing to see the industry is embracing VET and the QMCS to provide a more structured approach to the recognition and maintenance of competence. 
Wayne Scott
Institute of Quarrying Australia

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