A Northumberland man has taken the next step on his career development journey with regional employer Banks Mining after successfully completing a nationally recognised qualification in occupational supervision.
Charles Barnes joined the team at Banks’ Shotton surface mine near his home town of Cramlington in January 2009 after walking onto the site as work was first starting there to ask if there were any jobs available.
After initially being taken on as a labourer and cleaner, Charles eventually won a place on the plant operations team and was trained to operate a range of the different types of machinery that are used at Shotton.
Over time, he progressed into a supervisory role, working with the site management team to ensure that the daily production plans at Shotton are being implemented properly out on site.
And after completing a GQA Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Occupational Work Supervision, Charles has now qualified for a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Gold card, which is recognised throughout the construction industry as the highest standard in site supervision and which involves passing a range of tests in areas such as health, safety & environmental management, risk assessment and dispute resolution.
Banks Mining is currently awaiting a government decision on whether its proposed Highthorn surface mine in Northumberland can go ahead, a project which would see an investment of £100m into the Northumberland economy, as well as supporting 250 local jobs.
Gavin Styles, managing director at Banks Mining, says: “Providing a clear career development path for local people has been central to how we’ve operated in south east Northumberland for the last 40 years and the way in which Charles has taken advantage of the opportunities we’ve provided is a real example to us all.
“Without being able to progress new sites like Highthorn, these invaluable local training and development opportunities, along with the 250 jobs sustained by our mining operations, will simply disappear.
“Banks Mining is fully committed to continuing to provide these sorts of employment and training opportunities if our Highthorn scheme is allowed to proceed and we’re very keen to get on with the job as soon as possible.”
As part of earning his new qualification, Charles worked with Ixion Holdings, a not-for-profit subsidiary of major UK employment and skills charity The Shaw Trust which provides apprenticeship advice, guidance, development and training and which has worked with the Banks Mining team for several years.
Keith Tarn, group human resources manager at The Banks Group at the Banks Group, adds: “Charles has come a long way in his time with us and his success shows what can be achieved with the right combination of commitment, attitude and application.
“The high-level accreditation he’s achieved has been tailored to meet the operational responsibilities that he has on site, but it also equips him with skills and knowledge that will be useful as his career develops and right through his working life.
“He’s a highly valued and respected part of our Shotton team and makes a major contribution to ensuring that our production plans are carried out in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner.
“The average length of time that our employees stay with us is almost a decade – more than double the national average – and we’ve had many examples of two and even three generations of the same local families working for us at the same time.”