Grundon site to pilot IQ Professional Recognition In Mineral Extraction initiative in south of England
GRUNDON Sand & Gravel’s flagship Kennetholme Quarry, in Berkshire, has been recognized as a PRIME site by the Institute of Quarrying – the first quarry in the south of England to attain such a prestigious accolade.
It comes after Kennetholme was chosen as the latest location to pilot the Institute’s PRIME (Professional Recognition In Mineral Extraction) initiative, providing employees at all levels with ongoing training and professional development.
Once they have successfully attained the Institute’s new Technical Membership grade, the scheme allows them to use the letters TMIQ after their name.
PRIME dovetails neatly with Grow@Grundon, Grundon’s own training and development programme, which underlines the company’s commitment to giving employees the opportunity to study and progress their careers.
On Thursday 28 July, Emma Bellingham (pictured in white hard hat), the Institute’s learning and development officer, visited the quarry to launch the programme with a presentation and lunch for all staff.
‘As an industry, we have an ageing workforce and it’s really important to look at how we can pass that knowledge and experience down to the next generation of managers and supervisors,’ she said.
‘Kennetholme fully met all the necessary criteria to become a PRIME pilot site. PRIME fits well with the Grow@Grundon programme and I have been very impressed by the opportunities available for training and career progression, and also by the reaction of employees, many of whom were very enthusiastic about the scheme.’
The PRIME programme, which includes 35 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training each year, is designed to recognize the contribution made by quarry employees who deliver specific technical services at all levels within the industry, including shotfirers, blast designers, mechanical fitters and weighbridge staff.
Kennetholme is one of a number of sites piloting the PRIME scheme, which aims to recognize the workforce as industry professionals, by awarding their training, competency, knowledge and experience.
Andy Bright, deputy aggregates manager based at Kennetholme, said: ‘We’re thrilled to have been named as a PRIME site and recognized as a Centre of Excellence. For our employees, PRIME is a great move as we want to develop their skills and ensure they stay with us and have a bright future ahead.
‘The training programme means they are always gaining knowledge of the industry, together with greater understanding of issues such as protecting the environment, customer relationships and how to improve output, and we’re delighted to be part of the initiative.’
In order to become a PRIME site, the Grundon Sand & Gravel team had to demonstrate that the site meets strict criteria, including how it records training and development and promotes itself within the industry.
Rachael Willson, learning and development trainer from Grundon’s HR team, said: ‘We take our investment in professional development very seriously and it’s important for employees to know the opportunities available to help them expand their careers within Grundon.
‘The training allows them to develop an array of new skills, enabling them to progress in the future, while also helping Grundon ensure we have the right people in place and to attract future employees into the industry.’
Although launched at Kennetholme, the PRIME initiative will be open to all employees at the company’s other quarries in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, and Frith End, Hampshire.
Estates director Andrew Short said Grundon were delighted to be working alongside the Institute of Quarrying. ‘It is very important to us to give our employees the opportunity to upskill, to gain qualifications, improve their competence and professional knowledge, and further their careers in the industry,’ he said.
‘The PRIME programme, together with our own training and development, gives them something to aspire to and I hope it’s an opportunity that many employees will take.
‘At the same time, it also means when we are talking to regulatory and planning authorities, and to our neighbouring communities, they can all be confident that we operate to a certain standard of competency. It shows the outside world that we take the impact of our operations and our responsibilities very seriously.’
The CPD training will include attending exhibitions and seminars, learning from colleagues and toolbox training.