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University status for Professional Exams

THE UK’s £6 billion quarrying and road-surfacing industry, which provides employment for around 60,000 people, is this week launching its first-ever recognized higher-education programmes at the University of Derby.

The Institute of Quarrying and the Institute of Asphalt Technology have teamed up with the University, which has a 110-year heritage in teaching geology, to unveil the first-ever university-level academic diplomas for the industry.

The initiative has the backing of the major international operators in the industry, including Tarmac, Lafarge, Hanson, CEMEX and Bardon Aggregates, who will each sponsor some of their staff to take their place among around 250 students on the two diploma courses every year.


More than 200 managers and supervisors working for quarrying and asphalt companies across the UK and the world will begin studying on the Diploma in Quarry Technology and the Diploma in Asphalt Technology courses in September 2007.

Following today’s media launch at Midland Quarry Products’ New Cliffe Hill Quarry, a formal course launch will take place tomorrow [20 April] at the University’s Kedleston Road site.

Dr Derek Walton, Head of Subject, from the University of Derby’s Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences, described the announcement as outstanding news for the University and a major step forward for the industry.

‘The industry has been looking for a way of upgrading its educational provision through academic accreditation at university level to recognize the skills and knowledge of its highly trained managers, engineers and technicians,’ he said.

‘The University has a strong track record in delivering high-quality geoscientific courses to meet the needs of industry and our expertise in this area is further underlined by this announcement.

‘Currently, there is a national recruitment shortage in the sector, so the new courses will provide excellent ways to commence or progress a career in a traditional local industry.’

The courses will be delivered largely through work-related distance learning but will feature four weekend tutorials a year. Aimed at supervisors and managers, modules will include health and safety, environmental awareness, management skills, material testing and a focus on industry-specific technical activities such as blasting, pavement design, road surfacing, engineering, processing of minerals and environmental controls.

In August, the University will take responsibility for staff and students currently studying on the two Institutes’ existing DAPS (Doncaster Assisted Private Study) courses delivered, at present, by Doncaster College. Those currently studying the final DA

Mike Smith, general manager for the Institute of Quarrying, which represents 6,000 people in the industry worldwide, said: ‘Our current qualifications, the Professional Examinations, are widely known and respected but not recognized nationally within the National Qualifications Framework.

‘The industry has been keen to offer academically recognized study programmes and this move also addresses issues of competence within the industries raised at a national policy level.

‘These diplomas will provide the ‘underpinning knowledge’ required by quarry managers and supervisors to demonstrate their competence under the Quarry Regulations and National Highway Sector Quality Assurance schemes, and enable engineers involved in the industry to register with the Engineering Council.

Cedric Hollinsworth, international development director for the Tarmac Group, and president of The Institute of Quarrying, said: ‘Our industry is a fundamental supplier of the products which enable us all to enjoy a civilized lifestyle. We need to ensure that we are able to recruit and train a competent and responsible core of managers.

‘The Institute has always been at the centre of education in the sector, and this new course will enable us to raise the standards of education and qualifications to meet the needs and challenges the industry faces in the 21st century.’

For more details about the courses, contact Dr Derek Walton on tel: (01332) 591786.



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