From the start of the 2017/18 school year on 7th August 2017, the Julius Weisbach Vocational School Centre in Freiberg/Germany will for the first time be offering courses that allow students to qualify as “state-certified technicians” in the specialist field of mining technology. With this step, the educational establishment is making another important contribution to securing the qualified manpower needed in this professional field. Trainees keen to qualify as “miners and mining machine operators” have already been attending the vocational school in Freiberg since 2004. This is now supplemented by the extended college programme.
In a multi-year project that has been running since 2014, a team of teachers from the technical college in Freiberg have been working on drawing up curricula for the new course and comprehensively updating plans for the two established subjects of drilling technology and geotechnology. Altered economic requirements are addressed and real-world relevance, which was already a key aspect, is now stressed even more keenly throughout. As per the request of the school authorities, the objectives and content of the training are now presented in so-called learning fields, which reflect the typical action areas of the respective professions.
The state-certified technician training prepares staff for future middle management duties, as well as their technical and leadership responsibilities as per Germany’s Federal Mining Act (Bundesberggesetz, BBergG) in association with the mining regulations of the individual German states. Technicians handle various business-related tasks and problems and also implement measures in the field of health and safety at the workplace, as well as fire and environmental protection.
Among others things, anyone specialising in mining technology will focus on the following objectives:
- Performing surveying tasks and using mine-surveying reference systems;
- planning and organizing repair and maintenance work;
- planning, setting up and monitoring mining operations;
- planning, applying and monitoring safety engineering and enforcing occupational safety rules;
- planning and monitoring ventilation and water retention;
- analyzing and assessing geological, hydrogeological and rock-mechanical relationships;
- planning and monitoring transport of personnel and materials;
- adapting extraction processes and conveyor technology to the geological situation;
- planning and monitoring raw material preparation;
- planning the use of mining equipment/machinery;
- investigating and analyzing sections of deposits;
- implementing environmental management systems; and
- specifying post-mining activities.
The two-year training is a full-time course and encompasses comprehensive, practically-oriented theory lessons, as well as excursions and work placements. Common training sections for mining technology, drilling technology and geotechnology highlight the areas in which these three vocational qualifications overlap.
State-certified technicians are assigned to Level 6 in the German and also the European qualifications framework. Technician qualifications can therefore be considered equivalent to bachelor degrees from universities.
Entry requirements generally include completed vocational training and at least one year of practical experience or several years of professional experience in a commercial-technical field.
No course fees are charged for vocational training. Study materials are also provided free-of-charge in Saxony. The only costs involved are those associated with certain work materials, money for excursions and, if necessary, also accommodation in Freiberg. State financial subsidies can also be used.
Applications for all three courses are now being accepted by the Julius Weisbach Vocational School Centre for Technology and Commerce in Freiberg (www.bsz-frei-berg.de). The cut-off date for applications is 30th April 2017.