At the forefront developing skills within the extractive industry, the IQA is strengthening its commitment to education with its competency framework and development of an online platform.
The Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) says it all with its vision, ‘Educating and connecting our extractive and associated industries’.
As a leading provider of education for the extractive industry, the IQA is continuing to evolve access to courses and the quality of content available.
The IQA is aligning course delivery through updated competency framework, that integrates with the IQA’s existing Quarry Manager Certification Scheme and the requirements across each state.
IQA chief executive officer Kylie Fahey spoke to Quarry about the competency framework and how it will support IQA’s education to best serve people throughout the quarrying industry.
“The IQA is in a period of transformational change and education is at the heart of this change,” Fahey said.
“The IQA will be the centralised location to which quarries and quarry workers from all levels come to for training and professional development.”
The competency framework is divided up into five key areas that examine and expand upon the competencies and necessary skills for working within the extractive sector.
The areas comprise safety and risk management, leadership and management, emergency management, operations, and personal effectiveness.
“The competency framework is designed to ensure course content aligns to the level of learning required for the role and is flexible enough to work in any state ,” Fahey said.
“Quarry Managers need a different level of competency to say a Quarry Supervisor.
“That is why the competency framework aligns courses to the levels in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). “
“For example, courses targeting Quarry Supervisors will be delivered at a level three to four and courses targeting Quarry Managers will be delivered at a level four to five,” she said.
Referencing roles against the AQF levels, this means the IQA has aligned workshops to appropriately qualified individuals.
The competency framework plays an important role in helping sites plan workforce development, consider the skills required in succession planning and help sites evaluate the competencies of their workforce as required under the various state legislations.
“We see a clear requirement in all states for a mine site operator to employ and ensure the workforce remains competent,” Fahey said.
“There are differences in each state. For example Quarry Mangers are required to undertake mandatory professional development (CPD) in NSW and CPD is currently being introduced in Queensland for SSEs.”
The competency framework aligns to these mandatory requirements,” Fahey said.
“As present and future state regulations differ between states and territories, the areas of competencies chosen represent flexible and broad areas to ensure that all individuals can demonstrate required skills regardless of work or location.”
The IQA will make available a rolling 12-month calendar of courses to ensure sites and individuals can plan training.
Later in 2023 the IQA will be launching a full online offering via a personal learning cloud (PLC) where individuals and organisations can undertake a range of on demand online training.
Delivering learning across a range of modes, the IQA offers workshops through face-to-face sessions or virtually and the PLC will compliment existing delivery.
Workshops are delivered by IQA facilitators who are “experienced industry professionals who have working knowledge of the industry topic or understand the quarry industry and are practiced by nature”, Fahey said.
Further supporting and guiding the industry towards solutions, the IQA can provide advice in meeting categories and the type of learning requirements in NSQ and planning to meet the NSW Maintenance of Competency scheme requirements.
Not only is the IQA capable of supporting individuals with education and plans, the association has the tools to support companies with corporate training.
All IQA content can be delivered in via the scheduled courses or contextualised to meet an organisations needs.
Having recently delivered in-house training for Boral, Hanson, Delta Group and Wagners, among others, the IQA can help plan and deliver training for teams of all kinds.
These types of corporate training sessions are beneficial due to the fact the course of contextualised to the specific needs of an operation.
They can be run directly for staff to increase engagement, and at a time and place best suited to the needs of the business.
The frequently updated IQA website features a detailed calendar of events.
“We want to be available and accessible to the industry,” Fahey said.
“If any members or prospective members are looking for something that isn’t visible, we strongly advise they to pick up the phone or send us an email.
“We are here to support our members and the wider industry and will make ourselves available to do so however necessary.”
To supply the industry with its accredited training needs, the IQA has partnered with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) around Australia.
These partnerships provide the training required for formal qualifications and helps to ensure they are in line with the requirements of state and national requirements.
Integrating the development of so-called soft skills and technical training is a key focus of the competency framework, with its inception owing to the critical role soft skills play in improving safety outcomes.
Soft skills are identifiable as the personal traits, behaviours, and interpersonal skills that are crucial in interactions with other people.
“Our research and review of previous training recognised that the historical training offered by the IQA had a lot of very good technical content, but we were not integrating soft skills to work along-side the technical content,” Fahey said.
“The competency framework considers soft skills and technical skills and incorporates those soft skills, particularly around safety, into the training itself.
“We’re trying to make sure that the industry is exposed to the soft skills in all aspects of its training, with a key focus on improving safety outcomes.”
These soft skills are not tied to a specific job role or function, but are rather general characteristics that each individual is likely to exhibit in the way they work.
“A large part of identifiable soft skills are leadership, communication and resilience, which have been incorporated into training across the the key competencies areas,” Fahey said.
“A good safety culture where people feel able and encouraged to report Evidence clearly supports a positive safety culture will held decrease incidents and injuries.
“You don’t learn soft skills just by attending a course. Developing leadership requires constant attention, ongoing development and the opportunity to reflect.
“These skills are not simply an output of a single course and that is why we are trying to reinforce them in all training and give people multiple exposures to the content to help them build necessary skills.”
Investing into the improved skills of individuals, supporting the industry to improve health and safety and providing access to innovation and better practices are the key reasons behind the IQA updating the competency framework.
Watch this space for more detailed information as the IQA moves closer to formally launching the framework and the PLC through all branches later in 2023. •
For more information, visit the IQA website here.