Flexibility on CPD hours for conference add-ons

Posted on 7 June 2016

Amid some confusion and concerns around the number of Continuing Professional Development hours accruing for attendance at industry conferences, the IOQNZ brought together a recent round-table discussion supported by AQA and hosted by MinEx.

Mark Pizey, Chief Inspector for Extractives attended along with Priscilla Page, a specialist WorkSafe inspector. Rene Sterk, chair of the New Zealand branch of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, (AusIMM), also contributed.

CPD hours will become particularly important from next year once new Certificates of Competence (CoCs) are required to be held by anyone managing a quarry or mine. New A Grade managers annually need at least 24 hours per year of CPD (16 hours formal minimum/ 8 hours maximum informal) and B Grade Quarry CoCs require 12 hours minimum per year (8 hours formal min / 4 hours max informal.)

In line with WorkSafe’s requirements which are set out in a CPD Gazette notice, attendees at the QuarryNZ or AusImm conferences will receive four hours formal CPD hours. Attendance at AGMs such as IOQNZ, AQA or AusIMM is additional and formal learning hours can be claimed for this. IOQNZ’s immediate past president Gordon Laing put forward an IOQNZ proposal that by attending a range of sessions at an industry conference (plenary, AGMs, workshops and seminars), A Grade Managers should be able to qualify for a maximum of ten formal hours and B Grades, six formal hours.

MinEx CEO Les McCracken stressed the need to take a principled approach to CPD in order to maintain the integrity of the system and that a fairer allocation than WorkSafe’s current regime would be a maximum of 4 hours for a 1 day conference and 8 hours for conferences of durations two days or more. This would then better align with the current allocation of up to 6 hours for a seminar or workshop.

AQA president Brian Roche outlined AQA’s interest in developing the QuarryNZ conference from next year onwards so as to add workshops which increased CDP hours for those attending. He says CPD was becoming important and the conference needed to adapt to better reflect that for attendees.

Rene Sterk says the AusImm conference is structured differently than QuarryNZ’s. AusIMM is usually 3 days of technical presentations with short courses and field trips held in the 2 days before and after the conference. AusImm also manages its own CPD system, rather than having this done under WorkSafe’s auspices.

Mark Pizey says he wants to take a flexible approach to CPD hours for New Zealand quarries and mines but any increase in hours for conference attendance has to reflect additions to the conference. He suggested field trips within the QuarryNZ conference, while interesting, were not formal learning sessions though they can count towards informal hours. These field trips could potentially be replaced by workshops on issues such as slope stability or quarry face design, accruing formal CPD hours. Another alternative was to add a half day or more to a conference so attendees could attend 4 hour workshops and get formal CPD credits.

Mark Pizey wants CPD workshops to be informative and understandable by people working in quarries and mines. “We need to dispel the myth that you need to be a lawyer to do CPD.” One area Pizey indicates he wishes to look at is the power to exempt people from completing the requirements when there are extenuating circumstances such as a major illness. “If you were unable to complete a given year’s CPD requirements due to significant, unavoidable circumstances, the Board of Examiners should be able to look at that.”

There were comments from both MinEx and IOQNZ board members about the challenge some particularly older quarry workers face in going back into a classroom. Mark Pizey said that anyone who wants to update their CoC needs to complete the required additional unit standards which came out of the Royal Commission on the Pike River cal mine tragedy. However, these are not onerous and the training is available from a number of providers.

Both MinEx and WorkSafe are currently running either forums or workshops which include discussion on CPD hours and COC completions. These are listed here Mark Pizey says he wants to see more such information workshops and forums around the country on CPD and which can accrue formal hours. He says webinars, as recently pioneered by IOQNZ are also a way to get formal learning and gain CPD hours.

Rene Sterk says COC training needs to be accessible and low cost. To learn about any AusImm workshops or training look here AQA and IOQNZ, which jointly run the QuarryNZ conference, have agreed to work together to develop a programme for next year’s Auckland conference and beyond which sees more opportunity for attendees to attend formal learning sessions and gain CPD hours.

Mark Pizey says any CPD log book should be submitted to the BoE Secretariat for review and recording. The Secretariat currently provides feedback and advice on log book entries and is happy to talk to anyone who has a question.