Talking training: Ben Williams on the latest learning developments ready to reveal at Hillhead

Jun 18, 2024

In the run up to this year’s Hillhead exhibition in Buxton, Derbyshire (25-27 June), Onsite catches up with EPC-UK’s Managing Director, and Chair of the IoQ, Ben Williams to hear about the training and education opportunities he and the team will be sharing on the stand during this year’s show: 

“As always, we’re looking forward to presenting our full suite of value adding, industry enabling capabilities at Hillhead 2024,” Ben says, “aligning the importance of our technical aptitudes with the training and education needed to support their delivery.”

Diploma in Surface Mining Explosives Engineering

“In fact, it was during Hillhead 2022 that, by networking with Chris Rowan, programme leader for Mineral Extractives Technology at the University of Derby, the idea was formed to produce, in collaboration with the IoQ and UoD, a blasting diploma programme to be delivered by the L&D team at EPC-UK. The concept was to create a programme that could enhance professionalism, safety and competence within the explosives products and services sector. In the months that followed we designed a progressive, industry-led level 5 qualification intended to help up-skill the drilling & blasting industry and set an international standard for the explosives sector. 

“I’m proud and delighted to announce that the first cohort of delegates will begin studying for the now finalised diploma in September, which will increase knowledge for existing explosives operators and set new learners on a ‘pathway to industry’, creating the potential for them to specialise further within the mining and quarrying sectors at a more detailed level.” 

Underground Blasting Course

“Whilst on the stand we will also be detailing the prospectus for our Underground Blasting Course, which was launched at the end of 2023 to help address an international shortage of blasting engineers working in the underground mining and tunnelling sector. Programme delivery was recently enhanced with our installation of a new training simulator tunnel, designed to make the content more realistic, effective, and safer.”

The team will also be on hand to talk to potential candidates about the advantages and current availability of the EPC-UK Shotfiring, Explosive Supervisor and Dangerous Goods (ADR) Vehicle Driver training, which are all delivered at our dedicated learning centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and where applicable through online webinar courses. Details of a new Construction Demolition Blasting Course currently under development will also be available.  

“In both my roles as Chair of the IoQ and Managing Director of EPC-UK, I’ve felt passionate about my responsibility to collaboratively create learning & development courses to develop our industry’s expertise and competencies.  It’s exciting to see 2024 become the year in which so much of our groundwork in this area has come to fruition, with Hillhead providing the perfect platform to share details of programmes that are supported by the Institute of Explosives Engineers, Minerals Products Qualification Council and University of Derby. Thanks to the commitment of EPC-UK’s own Dr. Rob Farnfield, Dr. Geoff Adderley, and Dan Richards, together with Chris Rowan, Javier Munoz of EPC Groupe and Julian Smallshaw of the IoQ, we’ve been able to produce courses of the utmost quality that will realise results for the future.”


For further information in advance of Hillhead, course dates, offers and availability visit the Training page of our website, telephone: 01773 832253, or email:

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