From 2003 the EUExcert programme has completed 3 projects in the development of one or more certificates of competence in explosives that would be recognised across Europe and hopefully in other parts of the world. These 3 phases were EUExcert 1 from 2003-Oct 2006, EUExDL from Oct 2006-Sep 2008 and EUExNet from Nov 2009 until Oct 2011.
The overall aim of EUExcert 1 was to map competency needs in the industry of explosives for the European market and in a European context, and develop a competency framework which could be developed into a European standard. The project was successful in developing a greater understanding of the demand of competencies in the explosives sector, and especially the need to sustain sector specific competencies and skills when the older generation employees as retiring from their work. The project partners developed a deeper understanding of the impact of the present and close future situation relating to competence loss in each partner country and at the European and international level. The project showed that it is possible and preferable to develop a European standard for competencies for the explosives sector.
EUExDL proposed the concept of a modular education and training system that would lead to three ‘driving licences’ or certificates, i.e. ‘Operator’, ‘Technician’ and ‘Master of Explosives’, requiring 600 hours and 2 years occupational experience, 1000 hours and 2 years occupational experience and 1200 hours with 5 years or more occupational experience. This model of progression was retained in the next project, albeit not as a single, all-encompassing explosives qualification, but for qualifications in discrete specialisations.
EUExNet created a transnational European web-based network of explosives sector National Nodes from each of the partner nations. The aims of this project were:
- to establish a European network between national stakeholders and build on occupational standards, which the earlier projects had recommended. Through use the standards and ensuing competencies will become transferable and transparent.
- to establish a European association which after the project will be self-financing. Among other things the association will promote mobility of students, teachers and professionals. Forming of the association and the network will also strengthen the competitiveness of the European explosives sector.
The fourth project in the EUExcert Programme is known as EUExImp (European Explosives sector Implementation of occupational standards). The project aims to develop knowledge of how to implement the occupational standards as a HR and management tool at plant level as well as developing existing training into a package that is transferable within and across organisational and national boundaries. In addition the project aims to develop tools for implementing new improved HR-practice based on occupational standards. The tools will be developed as a step-by-step guide for process management when implementing occupational standards and this manual which expands on the step-by-step guide and includes examples of good practice.