New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners announced today (8th March 2021) there is currently heavy demand for processing certificate of competence (CoC) applications and for oral exam scheduling.
More than 700 CoCs are due to expire this year as they were issued in bulk five years ago in accordance with the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations.
This workload increase from the start of renewals was anticipated and additional capacity brought in to manage it. However, judgements and considerations required in reviewing continuing professional development (CPD) logbooks, for example, are complex and time-consuming. The quality of some applications and logbooks is poor.
Getting information to support some applications can involve multiple requests back to the submitter. Delays of two to four months can be anticipated for most applicants.
Over the next few months priority will be given to processing complete applications with well-presented logbooks. Up until this point the BoE have been trying to prioritise all applications on expiry date but this has caused delays for everybody, and is unfair to those who have submitted good applications.
Reminder of logbook requirements
The better prepared a CPD logbook is, the faster the application processing is. The CPD logbook must show:
- clearly defined CPD activities
- good key learnings and
- good clear evidence for each CPD activity.
The CPD Guidelines provide guidance on CPD logbooks, CPD activities, key learnings and evidence.
The approach is to process all renewal applications including those which involve contacting applicants for more information to be able to do so. Though this significantly contributes to the delays CoC holders are or will experience, it is preferable to declining multiple applications on the grounds they are incomplete.
Industry can also be reassured that this period of high renewals will only be for six months and will reduce to normal levels. Applications where CoC holders have CPD activities in the new electronic CPD logbook are straightforward to process. There is also an increased demand for oral exam scheduling from new CoC applicants.
There are some delays in processing new applicants through from application to sitting an oral exam. For applications received from now this time we will run blocks of exam weeks to efficiently reduce the backlog. Dates set for the rest of 2021 are:
- 14 – 18 June – Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin
- 16 – 20 August – Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin
- 15 – 19 November – Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin
Other dates and venues will be advised going forward. Oral exams will be held in Palmerston North on a needs basis.
If this approach is successful, it is likely block oral exam weeks will become the norm so industry has set dates, providing certainty for logistical and planning purposes.
Historically, exams have been scheduled when there are sufficient applications. Exam dates for those applicants already set will be completed as planned. Other oral exam days may be held in exceptional circumstances.
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