NZ quarry workers go back to school

Eighteen of the Portland, New Zealand company’s quarry workers have completed level 2 and 3 New Zealand Qualifications Authority national certificates.

“It may sound easy but the majority of employees are in the 40-plus year-old bracket. I thank them for having the courage to, in their own words, ‘go back to school’,” quarry manager Richard Frost said.

Two quarry team leaders also took part in the scheme.

The workers studied topics covering health and safety, environmental considerations, operation of mobile plant such as dump trucks, loaders and excavators, and fixed plant such as crushers.

There will be 39 certificates handed out in recognition of the work the employees have put in over a four-year period.

Frost said the training was not an industry requirement “but a great starting point for those wanting a career in the extractive industry”.

Previously, the chance to gain similar qualifications had been “sporadic”, with only employees who wanted to obtain their quarry manager’s tickets going through the training.

“We made a decision to make this available to all,” Frost said.

The process has inspired some workers to aim higher, with some choosing to go on to gain a B grade quarry manager’s ticket.

“Twice a year, in our quieter periods, we brought in a trainer to work with the guys through their unit standards. This meant the group had to work as a team as to maintain production, we had to rotate them. They also had to help each other as, in all teams, some have particular strengths and weaknesses,” Frost said.

Golden Bay employs 18 people in its two quarries, with a total staff of just over 200.

Source: The Northern Advocate (NZ)

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