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EMP Press Release

OPERC and EMP Awarding Body Limited Reach Agreement on Competence Development for Mobile Plant Operators

On 21st March 2007, Dr David Edwards, Founder of OPERC and Mrs Carol Pillinger, Director/General Manager EMP met to discuss how the two bodies could work closer together. Much of the discussion focused upon the OPERC-Safetynet test system and how this fitted into the EMP S/NVQ award for Plant Operatives (Extractives). OPERC-Safetynet is a technologically advanced on-line software programme that allows training providers to better manage the process leading up to an operator being awarded an S/NVQ. The system is fully automated and allows training providers to cut the costs, administration and paperwork involved in operator competence assessment.

It was agreed, that EMP would now formally endorse the use of the OPERC-Safetynet test system as valid knowledge evidence which could be included in an operator's portfolio. EMP will also now add OPERC to the list of EMP approved suppliers for training providers within the quarrying and mining industry. In return, OPERC have agreed to redraft its existing certificate to now include the EMP logo and invite EMP staff to reside on OPERC's technical panel for OPERC-Safetynet headed by Mr Barry Robsinson, MBE, Chief Examiner of OPERC.

Dr Edwards said "A partnership between a professional body such as OPERC and an Awarding Body such as EMP has to be welcomed within the Quarrying and Mining sector. We all strive for better standards, qualifications and reduced costs and administration; we can achieve these goals working closer together."

Mr Barry Robinson, MBE said "As Chief Examiner of OPERC, I as delighted to hear the news. Safety has to be the number one priority within quarries and mines and this agreement should pave the way now for other EMP registered training providers to use OPERC-Safetynet. Three operators at Lafarge Cement who were trained and assessed using OPERC-Safetynet have now been awarded the Plant Operations S/NVQ."

Mrs Carol Pillinger said "EMP are pressing ahead with our search for ways of helping the sector to successfully develop its people. Gaining the NVQ is part of this process and we want to ensure that the achievement of NVQs is less costly and time-consuming. Forging partnerships with OPERC and other leading bodies will augment the quality of training and routes to competence development. As an independent Awarding Body, we are pleased to have established this relationship and we look forward to working with OPERC."

One additional idea arising out of the meeting was to remove the need to provide a full paper trail of documentation within S/NVQ portfolios which only add to bureaucracy and cost.

Mrs Pillinger added "The only information needed as evidence of the knowledge requirements is the OPERC certificate and any referral sheets where candidates have given the wrong mandatory question answer and need to be retrained and questioned again manually."

OPERC was launched in January 2004 and now represents over 400 leading plant and equipment professionals in quarry, plant hire, construction, manufacturing, agricultural and rail industries. It is a non-profit-making body and the cost of a basic operational test is 12.50; this cost includes a second test (if the candidate is successful with the operational test) that poses mandatory S/NVQ questions free of charge. Fully on-line reports and training needs analysis are also included in the test fee. To use the test, users have to be a Corporate Member of OPERC and invigilator staff must to be trained in the use of the system.