Drilling course moving to Reefton

By Christine Linnell

Tai Poutini Polytechnic is moving the drilling programme from Greymouth to Reefton in time for the next 2013 course, which starts in six weeks, with plans to eventually offer a level 5 drilling qualification.
To date, the polytechnic used a contract tutor for preventative maintenance training, site-based training and general drilling skills. Now the polytechnic council plans to buy its own drilling rig and set it up at the polytechnic-owned Reefton farm, which has good facilities and ample space.
In a business case prepared this month, the polytechnic council said: “We had intended to consider this for 2014 but the withdrawal of the contractor has meant this needs to happen for 2013.”
No additional infrastructure would be needed at the Reefton campus, and the West Coast Regional Council did not require resource consent to carry out drilling training on the site.
The move is expected to help the polytechnic raise the level 2 driller’s assistant qualification to level 3, and the current level 3 course to level 5.
“Discussions with drilling firms have indicated support for the block course training at level 5,” the report said.
“This would support industry needs for a higher level programme and assist in making drilling a recognised trade programme.”
The Reefton move was seen as a key part of Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s mining development in a nationwide context, as it is the only tertiary provider of such training.