MinEx encouraged by mentor response

Posted on 3 October 2017

MinEx chief executive Wayne Scott says the mentor programme for mine and quarry workers has been an instant success.

There are now 18 industry mentors helping applicants across the country prepare for their certificate of competence oral exams. 

Scott introduced the idea at the QuarryNZ Conference in July and the programme launched the following month. 

“It’s been a good response," Scott says. "When I first proposed the idea at the quarry conference I had six people volunteer in the first week.” 

Keri Harrison from Southern Screenworks in Christchurch and Gavin Hartley at Blackhead Quarries in Dunedin were the first volunteers.

Now there are mentors in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, the West Coast, Southland, and Wellington.

The mentors hold A and B grade certificates of competence and all but one – Ant Stodart from New Vale Coal  – are from the quarry sector.

“We’d welcome more mining guys but the need is really in the quarry and alluvial sectors,” Scott says, particularly for B grade quarry tickets. 


MinEx has also developed a new version of the mentor’s pack which contains sample exam questions and extracts from the legislation.

Mentors help applicants understand legislation and regulation and run them through a typical oral exam. 

Scott says the one-on-one engagement is proving invaluable and has delivered "a noticeable improvement in the pass rates.”

In Dunedin, 90 per cent of applicants have passed their exams and the pass rate in Christchurch is 100 per cent. 

WorkSafe and the New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners have previously flagged a lack of preparation as a common theme among people failing their oral exams.

A poor grasp of safety systems, insufficient knowledge of legislation, leadership responsibilities and emergency management, were also key problems.

When Scott introduced the idea in July, he also spoke about the need for industry to train-up its workers and help smaller companies who are struggling.

Examiners to be assessed

The board of examiners have also agreed to the first moderation plan to assess how it conducts exams. 

Over the next two-to-three months some panels will have an observer assessing the panel to ensure questions, decisions and processes are fair and consistent.

It will focus on panels for B-grade quarry managers, B-grade opencast coal mine managers and mechanical superintendents.  

Applicants whose panels are chosen for moderation will be asked beforehand if they are happy to have an observer present during their exam.

Article by Eamon Rood - Fri, 29 Sep 2017, Inside Resources