The NZ Mining Board of Examiners has been working with Worksafe on new Certificate of Competency requirements relating to safety-critical roles in mining and quarrying.
The final Certificate of Competency requirements were Gazetted before Christmas and are now in force. Current certificate holders will have to sit additional unit standards by January 1, 2016 in order for their certificates to remain valid.
Most of the unit standards and experience remain unchanged with unit standards added. The major changes relate to the new additional unit standards and cover human factors; risk management; and health and safety management.
A first aid certificate is required for all CoCs and explosive unit standards with the exception of B-grade quarry managers, electrical superintendents, mechanical superintendents, ventilation officers, winding engine drivers and mine surveyors.
A lower level, level 4, legislation unit standard replaces the level 6, 7142 for the coal mine deputy, B-grade opencast mine manager, B-grade quarry manager and B-grade tunnel manager.
No competencies have been set for the Manager of a Designated Quarry.
At the end of last year MITO solicited feedback from the industry on the appropriateness of times to attain credits and qualifications, and certain standards, and whether qualifications met workforce development needs.
MITO says it will act upon this feedback prior to submitting an Application for Approval to list the qualifications to NZQA.
The consultation related only to the proposed extractives qualifications and not to Certificate of Competency (CoC) requirements now in force. These qualifications contain more than just health and safety skills and are being developed to meet the educational needs for specific roles within the industry.
Specifically, “The aims of the review are to: Streamline the number of qualifications listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework; ensure that any qualifications registered with NZQA are relevant, fit-for-purpose and meet an identified industry need; and clearly communicate the career and education pathways in your industry,” Worksafe says.
Six qualifications have been proposed to replace the 20 current qualifications.
The proposed identified graduate roles are: A new starter (level 2); a competent operator/miner (level 3); a first-line supervisor or team leader (level 4); a supervisor (level 5); a manager (level 6); and a Mines Rescue team member (level 4).
“NZQA is developing Foundation Skills qualifications, which will give recognition to people who have gained workplace-ready skills and knowledge (such as basic health and safety, self-management skills, and some induction-type knowledge). In some sectors of the extractives industry, tailor-made programmes leading to the level 2 Foundation Skills qualification may be suitable for new starters.
“Unfortunately this qualification is still in the early stages of development, but we see this as an option for the educational pathway.”
In the survey participants were asked, once the proposed level 2 qualification was available, if they would be interested in MITO developing a programme tailor-made for the industry so people could work towards this. They would be awarded a New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 2).
There are two proposed qualifications at level 3: A New Zealand Certificate in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Processing Operations; and a New Zealand Certificate in Underground Mining (Operator). These qualifications are targeted at school-leavers or new workers in the industry, as well as those in the industry seeking formal recognition of their skills and knowledge.
“The purpose … is to provide industry with operators with the skills and knowledge to competently undertake a range of tasks within the workplace. Graduates will generally work under limited supervision.”
Survey participants were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed that this qualification met their workforce development needs.
Tailor-made programmes and learning materials
Once the proposed qualifications have been approved by NZQA, MITO will begin the process of programme development.
This again involves working with industry representatives to develop training programmes that are tailor-made to meet the needs of different workplaces, work roles, sectors and contexts, within the overall suite of proposed qualifications.
At the same time, all learning and assessment materials, such as workbooks, will be updated to ensure they are current, relevant, and user-friendly. Programme materials will include support for learners with low language, literacy, or numeracy skills.
Qualification pathway development
The Governance and Working Groups developed the proposed qualifications and pathway using NZQA’s new rules for qualifications. All industries have been mandated by NZQA to develop ‘New Zealand’ qualifications that will be used in place of current ‘National’ qualifications. All current ‘National’ qualifications are being phased out.
To determine the qualification pathway for the extractives industry, the Governance and Working Groups considered which roles across the different sectors should be recognised with a qualification. The skills and knowledge required by these role-holders were then aligned with the NZQA level descriptors.
The identified graduate roles are: a competent operator/miner (level 3); a first-line supervisor or team leader (level 4); a supervisor (level 5); a manager (level 6).
NZQA is developing Foundation Skills qualifications, which will give recognition to people who have gained workplace-ready skills and knowledge (such as basic health and safety, self-management skills, and some induction-type knowledge). In some sectors of the extractives industry, tailor-made programmes leading to the level 2 Foundation Skills qualification may be suitable for new starters.
In addition, a specialist Mines Rescue Working Group has developed a proposed qualification at level 4 for Mines Rescue team members.