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Quarry Management Certification System (QMCS)

Australia launches its professional recognition programme

By Greg Bondar, secretary of the Board of Certified Practitioners and national executive officer of The Institute of Quarrying Australia

The introduction of QMCS (Quarry Management Certification System) by The Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) is in response to industry’s need for a ‘professional’ system of recognition of members of the IQA who have decided to publicly raise the professional bar in terms of quarry management and supervision and hence gain recognition as either a Certified Practising Quarry Manager (CPQS) or a Certified Practising Quarry Supervisor (CPQM).

The QMCS was never designed to be a replacement for any legislated requirement, but simply to give IQA members surety of recognition of acquired skills and experience. It is based on the industry’s competency ‘bible’ MNQ03 (the Extractive Industries Training Package).

The IQA is a professional body and as such it is promoting and developing ‘professional’ and not ‘regulatory’ standards, as the latter is the domain of government. As a consequence, the IQA makes no apologies that it is for IQA members only, although those wishing to undertake certification may certainly apply for membership and certification concurrently.

A person cannot be a Chartered Engineer unless they are qualified to be an engineer and a member of The Institution of Engineers (Engineers Australia). It is worthwhile reproducing their requirements for chartered status (akin to the IQA’s QMCS status):

The Chartered title may be held by those in the Member and Fellow grades in each occupational category: Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), Chartered Engineering Technologist (CEngT) and Chartered Engineering Officer (CEngO).

The Chartered titles are exclusive to Engineers Australia. They stand for the highest standards of professionalism, up-to-date expertise, quality and safety, and for capacity to undertake independent practice and to exercise leadership within the engineering team. As well as competence, they denote commitment to keep pace with advancing knowledge and with the increasing expectations and requirements for which any profession must take public responsibility. Chartered Status should be the aspiration of members engaged at the leading edge in all fields of engineering endeavour.

So what is QMCS?

First and foremost it is a voluntary system; members of the IQA are free to apply or not to apply for certification. The system covers all aspects of the certification process including a standard for each grade, identification of training required, ongoing professional development, a recording system for ongoing compliance and audits, as well as a code of ethics.

The system has the following attributes:

  • It recognizes two grades of certification — Certified Practising Quarry Manager (CPQM) and Certified Practising Quarry Supervisor (CPQS).
  • Each grade has a minimum qualification requirement.
  • Each grade has a minimum experience requirement.
  • Applicants require endorsement by suitably qualified or experienced industry participants.
  • To gain and maintain certification there are on-going professional development requirements and requirements for continuing practice in the industry.
  • Adherence to professional ethical standards is an essential requirement for certified practitioners.
  • There are procedures to follow for initial and ongoing assessment for certified practitioners and for the auditing of compliance with the system.

What is expected of a certified practitioner?

Certified practitioners are expected to uphold the code of ethics, undertake professional development and maintain their professional practice on an ongoing basis. They are also required to maintain records of their ongoing professional development and practice.

Through the leadership provided by The Institute of Quarrying Australia, the Australian quarry industry has a comprehensive set of relevant national qualifications, but it did not, until now, have a national system for the recognition of the professional status of those practising as quarry operation supervisors and managers. As the professional body for quarrying in Australia, The Institute has established such a voluntary system for its members.

Should there be face-to-face interviews?

The QMCS is based on a stringent application system which requires all prospective candidates for the award of a CPQM and CPQS to provide detailed information relating to qualifications and experience, supported by referees. In cases where the certified practitioner (CP) board feels that prospective candidates do not meet the criteria or fail to provide details and/or convince the CP board of their qualifications and experience, the CP board will, under Section 7 of the Rules of the Board of Certified Practitioners (The Application and Assessment Process), invoke the provision to interview candidates as and when necessary.

Moreover, where IQA branches or referees recommend a face-to-face interview the CP board will also act accordingly and consider such requests and recommendations.

In essence, the application system used by the QMCS in effect acts to verify qualifications and experience and as such an interview is not paramount, though may be undertaken where necessary and appropriate.

It is worth stressing again that the QMCS is a voluntary system and is open to all IQA members from quarry operators of all sizes irrespective of tonnage output. In fact, many IQA members are from the smaller independent section of the quarry industry Australia-wide. The first IQA recipient of the CPQM was
Greg Sawford (Hobart, Tasmania).

To date the CP board has over 25 applications for QMCS from five States: Tasmania, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The next steps

It is incumbent on all in the Australian quarry industry to embrace the QMCS, which is, quite simply, the advancement of the quarry professional through a system of certification which has undergone nearly two years of preparatory work through consultation with no fewer than 18 organizations including industry bodies, regulators and quarry operators. The IQA calls on all those wishing to undertake certification to contact the IQA to seek further information on the QMCS.

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