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The IQ CPD Scheme

Good Progress, Could do Better!

By Mike Smith, general manager of The Institute of Quarrying

The Institute of Quarrying Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme was introduced in January 2003 as a voluntary scheme with no associated sanctions and a recommendation to undertake 30h of CPD activity per year. Indeed, a reward in the form of a Certificate of Achievement for 100h of CPD was offered and has now been claimed by many registered members (fig. 1).

As can be seen from figure 2, the scheme was slow to ‘take off’ in the first year but registrations increased rapidly during 2004 and continued into 2005. Part of the reason for the increased interest was the declaration by the Health and Safety Executive, as reported in the January 2004 issue of Quarry Management, that from 1 April 2004, inspectors would ask to see ‘demonstrable evidence of competence’ for ‘persons in charge’ of quarrying operations. The stated preference was for the recently accredited SHE NVQs, but other qualifications, such as Chartered Engineer or Geologist, would be accepted. Since, at that time, the NVQs had been available for only a short time and very few had been awarded, inspectors would accept the situation where managers were scheduled to be registered for assessment towards the NVQ but would expect the manager to be undertaking and recording CPD activities.

The matter of ‘demonstrable evidence of competence’ was clarified through guidance issued by the HSE to inspectors in the form of a sector information minute (SIM 03/2005/15), which was published in the November 2005 issue of Quarry Management. This guidance cites failure to undertake CPD and maintain a record of CPD activities as a consideration for taking enforcement action.

Situation today

At the last count, as shown in figure 2, nearly 860 members of The Institute of Quarrying had registered on the CPD record scheme.

At the beginning of this year, following the publication of SIM 03/2005/15, The Institute wrote to senior executives in the quarrying industry to draw their attention to this guidance and to advise them upon the established IQ CPD scheme, which is free to members. These letters have been followed by telephone calls and discussions with nominated, delegated persons, and figure 2 shows that CPD registrations have continued to increase in 2006.

All of the companies that have been contacted have acknowledged awareness of the issue of ‘demonstrable evidence of competence’ and the contribution made by CPD. Within many operating companies, substantial effort has and will continue to be directed towards obtaining SHE NVQs for all staff with a responsibility for health and safety, and NVQs for operators in order to achieve the voluntary target of a competent workforce by the year 2010. As evidence, more than 650 candidates have now registered for assessment for the SHE NVQs, which well exceeds the target of 500 set for 2005.

Many, however, are still in the process of deciding upon the best and most efficient method of meeting the requirement with respect to CPD. Some, for example CEMEX, Imerys and Robert Brett & Sons, have considered internal CPD schemes, some have issued instructions to affected employees to register upon a recognized CPD scheme. Others have issued a recommendation to that effect.

The registration of employees by company (Easter 2006) is summarized in Table 1.

The following observations may be deduced from this table and survey:

  • Many companies, especially the major operators, are still in the process of defining a policy upon the issue of CPD which is strongly recommended.
  • There are big differences between the numbers of registered persons employed by the major operators, which are of approximately the same size, as indicated by market share. This suggests that very different internal policies exist with respect to CPD, which may not reflect well on the industry as a whole.
  • Although the total number of members who have registered for CPD in three years is encouraging, given that there are well in excess of 1,000 quarries, there probably remain many managers, assistant managers and supervisors with responsibility for health and safety who are not undertaking CPD according to an accredited scheme.
  • The position of several smaller quarrying companies is remarkable in that nearly all persons with responsibility for health and safety seem to be undertaking CPD. Celtic Energy, for example, have nearly achieved a ratio of two registrants per site. Admittedly, this may be easier for companies with few employees and simple management structures.

CPD audit

The annual audit, when approximately 10% of registered members are asked to submit copies of their CPD records, has now taken place three times since 2003. The good news is that all records now received are good. The only disappointing news is that, despite reminders, about one fifth of registrants fail to comply with this request.

Further reward for CPD registrants

In view of the greater importance now attached to maintenance of a record of CPD activities, the Council of The Institute of Quarrying will consider two recommendations of the Education Committee which met in April:

  • Publication of the names of CPD registrants on the IQ web site as recognition of that member’s commitment to professionalism.
  • Production of a Certificate of Achievement for 500h.

The whys and wherefores of CPD

All professional bodies advise members to undertake CPD for the purpose of maintaining and extending knowledge and skills in the years that follow the gaining of an initial professional qualification.

Ideally, the benefits of CPD for a professional person should be self-evident, but an incentive may be required to encourage busy people to spend time learning outside of working hours. Thus, professional bodies often stipulate a minimum requirement for CPD which is enforced with varying degrees of rigour. Some professional bodies operate an obligatory system with the threat of sanctions, such as expulsion, but the IQ CPD scheme is entirely voluntary and is promoted by its benefits. The Institute recommends 30h of CPD a year, although the true measure is the value of the learning experience and not its duration.

A free CPD guidance folder is available to all members from: The Institute of Quarrying, 7 Regent Street, Nottingham NG1 5BS; tel (0115) 945 3883; email: [email protected]

References

‘HSE gets tough on competence’, Quarry Management, January 2004.
‘IQ CPD scheme – How is it going?’, Quarry Management, August 2004.
‘Competence under the Quarries Regulations 1999’, SIM 03/2005/15, Health & Safety Executive, September 2005.
‘Be competent, be safe …. and have the evidence!’, Quarry Management, November 2005.

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