Yorkshire-based multidisciplinary environmental consultancy, MPG, has collaborated with the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) to overhaul a key training course, with the aim of strengthening the future of the mineral planning industry.

The programme – that counts as 30 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours – will take place over a six-month period and is designed to upskill mineral planners, those involved in resource planning, and quarry managers or estate teams.

It will operate on a blended-learning model, comprising a mixture of online and one face-to-face classroom session which includes a quarry site visit.

“There’s a huge recruitment challenge facing the sector, with few, if any, courses being aimed specifically at mineral planners, commented Julian Smallshaw, IQ’s head of education and standards. “Our initiative aims to change that.

“Without minerals, the development of our country’s infrastructure is in jeopardy, so raising awareness of what best practice is and how the planning system works for minerals is vital.”

Chris Heffernan, director of MPG and chartered town planner, said: “It has been widely recognised for decades in our industry that there is a growing shortage of mineral and waste planners.

“It’s been an honour to volunteer and work with IQ on this educational project.

“I’ve helped to review the course and its materials to ensure it is in line with current practices and that it addresses the issues facing the industry – both today and tomorrow.”

The original course ran for three years from 2017-2021 but was halted due to the pandemic.

Julian continued: “This is the first year the course is back in action – with a whole new look and feel, thanks to Chris’s input.”

Chris added: “Some of the key learning areas featured in the programme include understanding the requirements to develop a new site, the management of waste from extractive environments, restoration techniques, legislation, and Biodiversity Net Gain – making the content approachable and accessible.

“Mineral planning doesn’t have to be seen as ‘complex’ or ‘intimidating’, and this course aims to demystify the sector – helping planners understand legislation and core processes.”

Upon completing the course, delegates will receive a CPD certificate from IQ.

Full course content and costing details can be found here.