In February our EPC-UK engineering team was pleased to welcome a student cohort and Professor Pat Foster from the Camborne School of Mines, a college of engineering, mathematics and physical sciences based at the University of Exeter.

The school forms a world-class combined geoscience and mining department and provides an exciting and diverse mix of degrees and professional training designed to take students from the classroom to the laboratory, and into the field. 

Learning in partnership

The successful partnerships the school has nurtured with national and international companies, including EPC-UK, have played vital roles in delivering innovative solutions to global environmental, natural resource, and energy issues.

Fourteen students currently studying the school’s Mining Engineering course participated in a weeklong excursion involving visits to relevant organisations around the UK.  Supporting the school’s long-term relationship with EPC-UK, Senior Explosives Engineer Dr. Liam Bermingham hosted an informative and enlightening event for the group across two of our operating sites.

An explosive experience

The day presented an opportunity for students to first receive an introduction to EPC-UK at Venture Crescent from Logistics Manager, Chris Barlow. The students were then split into two groups, to separately experience both a theory session in the classroom covering surface mining and quarry techniques, and a practical demonstration at EPC-UK’s firing ground.

Blast demonstrations of various explosive products were given at Rough Close Works by Dr. Bermingham, Drone Manager Sam Skinner, and SHE Adviser  Dom Bailey, whilst in the learning suite, students benefited from blast presentation delivery from industry expert, Dr. Rob Farnfield. The students unanimously agreed that the day had been very valuable with EPC-UK’s programme of activity helping to advance their knowledge. 

Nurturing talent for the future

Commenting on the event, Dr. Bermingham said: “Creating an opportunity for the students to learn about our industry and have exposure to operations in the field is invaluable. The Camborne School of Mines is successfully nurturing talent for our industry’s increasingly digitized future, educating the next generation in areas including geosciences, drill and blasting, mine design including sustainable mining techniques and environmental management and remediation. We’re proud to support the school in its programme of learning and development and are keen to see new expertise emerge from its mining engineering faculty.”

Many of our own engineers are former Camborne School of Mines students, including Sam Skinner, who took on a placement position with us whilst studying there.  Involved in the day’s events, Sam adds: “Practical exposure to explosive products is not something that can be learned in the classroom, so to be able to give students a hands-on learning experience is a great way to further their knowledge. A visit to our operation also creates the opportunity for students to have informal discussions with members of our team so they can explore the variety of career paths available within our industry.” 

Following Sam’s own work placement, his professional journey continued with EPC-UK, as he was offered a permanent position, first as an Explosives Engineer and then, as a result of his progress, a promotion to Drone Manager.  

Pat Foster, Associate Professor in Mine Safety at University of Exeter, further added: “We are very grateful for the fantastic opportunity provided by EPC-UK to our students. It is really good to see Sam again, doing so well and progressing within the organisation.”

Creating developmental opportunities 

“Recognising and encouraging skilled individuals who have the passion to drive our company’s technological and safety-focussed progress is critical to our industry’s ongoing success.” Managing Director, Ben Williams adds. “By creating the important opportunities for students from the Camborne School of Mines to experience EPC-UK at work, and learn at source from our accomplished specialists, we’re supporting their onward development as students navigate the route towards a rewarding career in the increasingly innovative drilling and blasting field.”