Aug 22, 2023 / by IQ News Update

First Northern Ireland graduates on IQ Geotechnical qualification

A group of mineral products professionals are the first cohort of students to complete a new geotechnical qualification from the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Geotechnical - Blog Header Image (1)
Pictured L-R: Damien Keenan, Adam McCluskey, David Garrity, David Johnston, Richard McNally, Kelvin Johnston, Colin Loughran, Paul Keenan, Gerald McMullan, Paul Callan, David Clarke, and Gerard Lawless

The IQ Level 4 Award in Geotechnical Knowledge for Managing Mineral Processing was launched in Northern Ireland following feedback from employers and industry professionals that few quarry managers in the region have any formal geotechnical training.

The new geotechnical qualification from IQ, with support from MP Awards, provides a flexible and innovative approach for anyone dealing with quarried products in day-to-day job roles. Comprising a unique blend of assessed classroom training, site tour, e-learning modules, and a professional discussion, the new qualification is tailored to the learners’ operational environment and can be completed at their own pace.

Twelve successful candidates completed the course in Northern Ireland, with attendees from companies FP McCann, P Keenan Quarries, Conexpo, M W Johnston & Son, Loughran Rock Industries, David Garrity of QSRMC, Breedon WMQ, OMYA and Jabez Safety Solutions. Further geotechnical training is set to take place in autumn as a result of the course’s popularity and the positive feedback received.

David Johnston of Jabez Safety Solutions, identified the need for training in Northern Ireland and attended the course. He says: “Given that there have been several incidents in the UK and the potentially serious consequences of geotechnical failures, as soon as the course became available I decided to organise a session for Northern Ireland. I attended the course personally and found it practical, informative, and easy to follow. Everyone who attended agrees that it was a worthwhile course.”

Julian Smallshaw, Head of Education and Standards at IQ, adds: “The new IQ geotechnical qualification raises the standard and underpins the competencies required by the sector, both now and in the future. We initially launched it last year, and following its success are delighted to now offer it to industry professionals in Northern Ireland; plus we’ve had a cohort of individuals complete the training in the Middle East too.

“One of the key benefits of the qualification is that it is pathway driven. Learners choose tailored modules and units relevant to the specific geology and the needs of the operational environment, be it quarry, dimension stone operation, cement works, sand pit, wharf, or rail depot. The course is flexible and can be completed at the learners’ own pace to fit around busy work-life schedules.”

Learners completing the IQ Level 4 Award in Geotechnical Knowledge for Managing Mineral Processing attend a one-day classroom training session with an industry specialist, who also guides the candidates on a tour of the site putting theory into real-world context, followed by the completion of a short programme of tailored online learning. The final step involves a professional discussion, whereby an assessor will evaluate that their knowledge meets the standard of the new qualification.

For more information or to enquire about qualifications , visit

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