Leadership and Instructor Qualifications in Caving
|University and College caving clubs should read the
as formal qualifications are not considered appropriate.|
The last decade has seen a tremendous increase in the use of the underground
environment as a recreational and educational medium by numerous different
groups and organisations. Insensitive, excessive and unskilled use of this
fantastic, fragile but hostile environment has led to a dramatic increase in
conservation and access problems throughout Britain. This period has also seen
too many tragic rescue incidents involving novice parties taken caving by
inexperienced and incompetent "leaders."
The National Caving Association (NCA) Training Committee
This committee exists to improve the recreational caver's awareness of all
aspects of the underground environment and in particular, the technical skills
and knowledge necessary to explore caves and potholes with optimum safety and
comfort. The committee also endeavors to promote high standards of leadership,
judgement and competence in those leading or training others underground.
Advice and information on caver training is available by writing to the
Training Co-ordinator at the NCA.
The Cave Instructor Certificate Scheme (CIC)
This scheme is for those involved in introducing others to caving, teaching
technical skills to others and instructing in a variety of caves throughout
Britain at different technical levels. Although the Scheme is designed for
those wishing to work professionally in instructed caving and needing a formal
check on their all-round competence, the training elements of the scheme would
be appropriate for club cavers wishing to improve their knowledgee and
technical skills. There is no obligation to proceed to the assessment stage.
The Local Cave Leader Assessment Scheme (LCLA)
This scheme is appropriate to cave leaders undertaking limited objectives
within a single caving region. It is designed as a report on the competence
of cave leaders who take responsiblity for others underground, for the benefit
or employers or other responsible bodies.
The LCLA scheme is administered on a regional basis with the NCA Training
Committee actively encouraging liason between schemes operated in different
parts of the country, to ensure uniformity of basic standards whilst
recognising regional differences. Most of the schemes offer training and
assessment at different levels of competence to take account of individual
Candidates requiring "approved" qualification for the leading of parties
down abandoned mines
The exploration of disused mines for recreational and educational purposes by
organised groups can potentially contravene the Health and Safety legislation
relating to disused mines and quarries.
The "Guidelines on the Exploration of Abandoned Mines and the Application of Mines and Quarries and Health and Safety Executive Legislation"
were drawn up between the NCA, National Association of Mining History Organisation (NAMHO)
and the Health and Safety Executive to provide guidelines for this type of use
For the purposes of these guidelines there are two approved Leadership
Cave Instructor Certificate
Local Cave Leadership Assessment
where exploration of abandoned mines has been incorporated.
Those who predominantly lead groups into abandoned mines only and where options
1 and 2 are not appropriate then contact the Training Co-ordinator at the NCA
address below for the latest position on a specific scheme currently being
Photos Chris Howes, FRPS
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