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Total Professional Development

The Institute of Quarrying embark upon the next stage in Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

We are all familiar with CPD (Continuing Professional Development) as a buzz-phrase for staying ahead of the game as professionals within our sector. CPD is part of what being a ‘professional’ is all about, whatever industry we work in. Some professions take a mandatory approach, requiring CPD returns to be submitted to a regulator. Others place the responsibility for monitoring CPD on the professional individuals themselves, often helped along by a scheme run by their professional association.

The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) is one such professional body that helps its members with CPD in a variety of ways, but it is about to take things a lot further, thanks to a brand new initiative in partnership with the Mineral Products Association (MPA), British Aggregates Association (BAA), Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC) and the Quarries National Joint Advisory Committee (QNJAC).  


PRIME (Professional Recognition In Mineral Extractives) is designed to give all employees the benefits of tailored CPD and professional recognition of their skills and the contribution each person makes to the success of the businesses in which they work. Historically, CPD has been the domain of managers and senior executives. However, we all know that our industry is driven by teams of people holding important positions of responsibility, requiring the application of high degrees of skill and knowledge. Historically, such people have been excluded from the scope of CPD schemes, but the PRIME project aims to raise the game so that participation in CPD is an all-inclusive aim, dubbed by some as TPD – Total Professional Development.

The drive towards ‘Target Zero’ has seen the health and safety performance of the industry improve exponentially over the last few years, attracting acclaim from Health and Safety Commission chair Judith Hackett. This improvement has come from increased awareness in all levels of management and operatives, through better induction and subsequent training and assessments. The importance of leading hands, foremen and supervisors is known to all owners of businesses, but to date they have not been fully embraced as fellow professionals.

The picture painted by demographic trends is concerning, showing that a high and increasing proportion of our industry workforce is over the age of 50, and that most of the workforce is male and from a white ethnic background. Such a picture does not do justice to an industry that genuinely is, and wishes to be seen as, progressive and technologically advanced. This hampers recruitment into the industry, making it unattractive to females and many ethnic minorities.

The Institute of Quarrying is making its move. The introduction of a new Technical grade of membership is currently on the drawing board at the organization’s headquarters in Nottinghamshire. The opportunity to acquire a recognized professional status within IQ should be attractive to hundreds of people currently overlooked within the traditional interpretation of who is a ‘professional’. Coupled with the Total Professional Development concept, the career prospects and development opportunities that the industry has to offer can be showcased, making it far more attractive to new recruits – something that will become vital as we start to recover from the present recession and find colleagues retiring, taking vital knowledge and skills with them.

Couple the above with a career pathway stretching from Level 2 QCF to beyond honours degree level, with the ability to join it without formal academic qualifications, and the opportunities for all employees to improve themselves will be better than ever and our people will have transferable, recognized qualifications to support their professional status.

PRIME is being funded initially with an investment of £240,000 from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) Growth and Innovation Fund and an industry contribution of £133,000. The Fund is aimed at employer-led projects that set out to leverage new ways of investing in workforce skills in order to fulfil the growth potential of UK plc. A steering group with representatives from employers, trade associations, training providers, HSE, QNJAC and the Institute of Quarrying has been formed to oversee a programme, initially covering the next two years, which will result in the roll-out of CPD to all levels of employees within the sector and its supply chain.

Briefings and seminars will be held with both major and SME companies, suppliers and contractors. Presentations will be made to national conferences and regional/branch meetings of relevant organizations. Tailored CPD packages will be developed in conjunction with representatives from all levels in the industry, and these will be rolled out in the next two to three years. A major launch will take place at Hillhead 2014, where it is hoped to interact with every visitor and exhibitor.

CPD, or TPD, perhaps, should be the foundation for the future success of the quarrying sector, leading to even further improvements in safety, greater efficiency, better productivity and profitability, and a more motivated workforce. The industry should become recognized as being progressive and providing highly skilled jobs that require professional employees who enjoy working in a highly technical environment.

Three things to consider:

  1. How can I get the whole of my team involved in planning, undertaking and recording CPD?
  2. What opportunities can I see for those in my team who are not traditionally engaged with CPD?
  3. How well do I encourage participation, in the spirit of Regulation 40 of the Quarries Regulations 1999?

Where can I get more information?

You will hear more about PRIME as the project gets under way. In the meantime, MPQC and the Institute of Quarrying have learning materials available to help you:

MPQC courses:

  • Worker Involvement – in conjunction with QNJAC
  • Effective Safety Committees 
  • MPQC Course – Toolbox Talk Delivery

IQ CPD modules

  • Safety Committees and Safety Representatives

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