CHINA clay producers Imerys have agreed a £1 million deal with Cornwall College for a five-year programme that will see about 800 operational staff and 150 managers assessed and accredited to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) standards.
According to UK kaolin operations director Ashley Shopland, the scheme forms a vital part of Imerys’ strategy to have a competent and qualified workforce while driving down injury and accident rates. ‘It’s a very positive move that we should be looking to gain accreditation for the competence of our workforce across the many different skills that we have, and need,’ he said.
‘It’s equally positive that we are going to be able to work with a local provider –– Cornwall College –– over this five-year programme. Together, I'm sure we can deliver successfully against the targets we will set, and allow our workforce to gain the recognition they deserve for the competencies they hold.’
In 2005, Imerys’ Blackpool Pit was judged the safest quarry in the country in the annual RoSPA Health and Safety Awards. The new training programme aims to build on that success and is in line with the HSE's Hard Target initiative to reduce accident rates in the quarrying industry.