Entrants to the Mining Industry (1946)
This pamphlet, prepared by H.M. Inspectors of the Ministry of Education in consultation with the Ministry of Fuel and Power, provided guidance for those concerned with the training of entrants to the mining industry.
The text of Entrants to the Mining Industry was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 22 March 2022.
Entrants to the Mining Industry (1946)
London: His Majesty's Stationery Office 1946
HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
by the Central Office of Information
1. This pamphlet, prepared by H.M. Inspectors of the Ministry of Education in consultation with the Ministry of Fuel and Power, is published with a view to assisting Authorities, organisers and teachers who may be concerned with the training of entrants to the mining industry.
2. The Ministry of Fuel and Power, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, has made Regulations* under the Coal Mines Act of 1911 which require that "no person shall be employed in or about a mine on any work on which he has not been employed before the coming into force of these Regulations, except under competent instruction and supervision, unless and until he has been adequately trained and is competent to do the work without supervision." The training to be given before a person is first employed (a) below ground and (b) at the coal face is more closely defined. Provision is made for the appointment of training officers to superintend the training and supervision required by the Regulations.
3. Each colliery undertaking must assume responsibility for providing the training but must consult the Local Education Authorities in respect of the subjects in which attendance at classes is required, and the conduct of such classes, and in respect of physical training. In some cases the collaboration of Authorities may be sought in the development and conduct of practical training at the mine.
4. Whilst all the instruction may be given by the colliery undertaking, the Ministry of Fuel and Power and the Ministry of Education have urged that the industry should obtain the assistance of Local Education Authorities in the provision of facilities for the general, technical and physical education of young entrants to the industry.
5. The Regulations require that training shall be given in accordance with a scheme submitted by the colliery undertaking and approved by the Minister of Fuel and Power, and the Ministry has issued a
*Statutory Rules and Orders 1217-1945.
memorandum* on the preparation and submission of such schemes. The memorandum has been circulated to Local Education Authorities and should be read in association with this pamphlet.
6. All entrants to the mining industry, before being employed underground, must receive training during normal working hours for at least 264 hours, of which at least 132 hours must be spent in practical instruction in and demonstrations of mining operations, and at least 132 hours in attending classes in subjects relating to mining operations and other subjects of educational value and in physical training. The instruction must be given in the period immediately preceding employment underground, and in the case of entrants under 16½ years of age it must be spread as evenly as practicable over a period of six months.
7. These statutory requirements will in due course have an important bearing on the work of county colleges, and it is desirable to plan the training of all entrants under 18 years of age so that it may, at a later date, be acceptable to Education Authorities as an alternative to attendance at a county college for the period of training.
8. Whilst the training of entrants has been designed with the limited objective of preparation for productive employment underground, it is important to consider its relation to other aspects of mining education. The training of the entrant must be complete in itself in that it should give that information about the working of a mine which will enable him to enter the industry with the minimum amount of mental and physical discomfort. The arrangements should ensure that the young entrant begins work under proper supervision, and the instruction should emphasise the necessity for the team spirit in the mine and should inculcate a sense of personal responsibility for the safety of himself and his fellow workmen.
*T.R. No. 1 Ministry of Fuel and Power October 1945.
9. Within recent years the coal-mining industry has made great progress in the development and utilisation of mechanised methods of mining. More rapid strides in this direction may be expected in the near future and the industry will require an increasing number of men with skill in the operation and maintenance of machinery under the arduous conditions of mining. The course for entrants should, therefore, be planned so that there will be opportunity to discover, and select for further technical education those employees who may possess the aptitude and ability for training as mechanics, electricians, machine operators, or as officials of the mine.
10. The Training Regulations will generally require an extension of the present training arrangements and some adjustment of the curriculum. There may be difficulties due to the irregular nature of the intake to the industry and to the isolation of small mining communities. It cannot be assumed that all or even a majority of boys enter the industry at the end of the school-leaving terms. Statistics show that they commence employment at the mines at all times throughout the year, and that many enter after having been in other employment for a number of years. It is, therefore, most important that the employment records at the local office of the Ministry of Labour and National Service should be consulted, so that the probable number of new entrants to be accommodated at any centre may be anticipated.
11. In a large coalfield new courses can be commenced at convenient intervals and an entrant will not be required to wait for an unduly long period before he can be enrolled for training. Where numbers are small it will be necessary to seek the co-operation of the industry in order that entrants may remain in employment at the surface of the mine until a group of convenient size may be formed. It is clearly undesirable that they should enter a course at any time other than at the beginning of the period of instruction.
12. The nature of the curriculum demands that there should be separate teachers for the various groups of subjects. As far as is possible centres for a small number should be avoided even if this arrangement involves the provision of transport facilities. For efficient working each centre should cater for 400 to 600 a year. Where other part-time day or full-time day technical classes are conducted in the same building, it may be quite reasonable to establish a centre to provide for a smaller number, which, in general, should not be less than 200 a year.
13. In the small coalfields staffing difficulties may be met by the appointment - on a joint basis by the industry and the Local Education Authorities - of instructors to undertake part of the practical training as well as the education of the entrants. The industry may also be willing to assist by releasing staff as part-time teachers of certain subjects.
14. The content of the curriculum will depend, to some extent, on local conditions. The industry in agreement with the Local Education Authority may desire to extend the instruction beyond the period of the statutory minimum. As already indicated, there may be difficulties with regard to the provision of suitable staff, and there are various possible arrangements for spreading the instruction over the required six months period.
15. It is probable, however, that in most of the coalfields practical training will be given at a colliery centre on one day per week, whilst the educational work at a technical institution will be undertaken on another day in each week. Such an educational day of 6 or 7½ hours might have a time-table on the following lines:
16. It is important that the curriculum should be integrated as a complete course. There is an obvious link between the various subjects and no part of the teaching should be dominated by a rigorous time-table. It is desirable that advantage should be taken of any special interest evinced by a group of entrants and for the conduct of the work to be flexible enough to give scope for the educational fulfilment of such interests. A method of approach and treatment should be developed to make the most of the facilities available and of the abilities and aptitudes of the students.
17. When the total time available for attendance at a technical institution is more than one day a week, it will be desirable to allocate a
greater proportion to general activities and physical education, to mathematics and drawing, and to workshop practice. It is unlikely that more than a total of approximately 40 hours will be required for descriptive work in mining.
18. The syllabuses which follow are intended as a general guide. They may appear to be comprehensive but they should be interpreted with due regard to the time available for instruction in each subject. There is ample scope for experiment, both in the selection of suitable material and in the method of presentation. The educational attainments of the students will be varied and it will be necessary to plan accordingly. With some courses it may be possible to give a rather detailed treatment of a particular subject, whilst in others the work may be limited to general principles and their applications.
19. The instruction in mining should give the entrant general information relating to the design and lay-out of a colliery, and on all the operations that are undertaken in the working of the mine. The work will be largely of a descriptive character and it should be correlated, as far as possible, with that of the other subjects of the course. Full use should be made of specimens, small items of mining plant, scale models, and of the series of charts, film-strips and films which have been prepared by the Instruction Branch of the Safety in Mines Research Board.* During the first six months of employment the entrant will be making new discoveries about the industry and the teacher will need to develop the class work to take full advantage of the natural curiosity and interest which each new experience will arouse. All aspects of mining operations should be presented in a manner adapted to the age and experience of the students, and it cannot be over-emphasised that descriptive work should not become too technical. The greatest care should be taken to ensure that the meaning of mining terms and phrases in common use is understood. A useful link with the English subjects will be forged by considering how some of these terms have originated and how they vary in meaning in different localities.
20. The subject may be approached in different ways. For example, the history of the local mining industry, its present state of development and its probable future, may be a useful introduction, and will give opportunity for a study of the historical and geographical aspects of the industry. Alternatively, a beginning may be made by a dis-
*See Pamphlet "Visual Training Aids for the Mining Industry" on sale from H.M. Stationery Office, price 1s. (By post 1s. 1d.).
cussion of the function of the machinery and equipment at the surface of the mine. A simple account of the sinking and fitting of the pit shaft will always create interest. The design and construction of the pit bottom, the main roads of the mine and the decking arrangements at the surface and underground can each be developed in short talks with suitable opportunity for discussion.
21. The general principles of the methods of working seams of coat should be investigated, and simple demonstrations may be devised to illustrate the movement of strata produced by the mining of coal. Operations at the coal face, transport arrangements of all kinds, the ventilation of the mine and the application of machinery should be presented in a simple manner and with ample opportunity for discussion so that the instruction may be properly correlated with the mining experience which will be acquired during practical training.
22. The following syllabus is suggested but it may require modifications to suit differences in local mining practice:
General lay-out of the colliery surface. Pit-head baths and canteen. Colliery sidings and yard. The screens. The washery. Circulation and control of tubs at the surface. Lamps and the lamp room. Surface power plant. Winding engines and gear. The pit shaft and its equipment. Pit bottom lay-out and tub circulation at the pit bottom. Decking arrangements and winding from intermediate levels. The general lay-out underground. Mine roadways. Tubs and track. Hand haulage. Horse haulage. Gravity haulage. Direct rope haulage. Main and tail haulage. Endless under-rope and over-rope haulage. Locomotive haulage. Travelling below ground; conveyance of workmen. Gate conveyors. Safety precautions on haulages and on conveyors. Road repair work. Rippings. Methods of working coal seams. Face conveyors. Coal cutters and their operation. Drills and drilling. Shot-firing. Stripping and filling. Mechanical loaders. Roof movement and control. Sprags, props, lids and bars. Chocks and packs. The complete cycle of operations at the coal face. Ventilation of the mine. Arrangements for the control of the air current. Pumps and drainage. The use of compressed air and electricity below ground. Care of machinery. Underground fires, their cause and prevention. Fire-fighting arrangements. First-aid organisation. The organisation of personnel at the colliery.MINING SCIENCE
23. As already indicated there should be the closest co-ordination of the work in mining with that to be done in mining science. The time available will not permit of formal instruction in science, but it should be possible to give some knowledge of those scientific principles which have an application in the mining industry. It will be necessary to use almost exclusively the method of class demon-
stration. Experimental work should be conducted by the teacher with the full co-operation of the class. An academic approach should be avoided and the teacher should draw on his practical experience to find applications which will appeal to the young miner.
24. The suggestions in the syllabus which follows offer great scope for interesting experimental work and experience has shown that an approach from the practical side, with due regard to the knowledge and experience of the entrant, will meet with an encouraging response.
A simple account of the origin and occurrence of coal. Rocks associated with coal seams. Rock structures; faults and folds illustrated by reference to the local coalfield.MATHEMATICS AND DRAWING
25. The object of introducing mathematics and drawing into the course is essentially practical and the work should be developed with due regard to this fact. In the course of his training, and in later years,
it will be extremely useful for the young miner to have a good grasp of the method of representing to scale both by drawings and by sketches mechanical appliances and the underground workings of the mine. A knowledge of simple mensuration will find many applications in his mining life. Calculations should be made as the necessity arises, and in the correlation of the work with that of the science and workshop practice classes it should not be difficult to find examples and applications to give a reasonable amount of practice in arithmetical processes.
26. In the syllabus which is suggested it will be noted that, at an early stage, some aspects of the work of the mine surveyor have been introduced. At the proper stage it may be useful to draw examples from the mine in developing a simple plan of the main roads of a mine or the detailed arrangements of a working district. The variation in ability and in educational attainment of the members of a group may cause serious difficulty. Some may have acquired reasonable facility in arithmetic and even in simple algebra, whilst others may have considerable difficulty in the measurement and manipulation of simple fractional quantities. The scheme of work should be planned to permit of the general instruction of the group, but it will be necessary to vary the details of exercises to suit the capacity of the individual.
Measurement of length. Different units. The use of the foot rule, the tape and the surveyor's chain. Easy conversions. Representation of length. Drawing to scale. Simple averages of measurements. Decimal and vulgar fractions, with graphical and other illustrations of arithmetical processes. Freehand sketching of simple and familiar mining objects. Use of set-squares and compasses for construction of rectangle, triangle and trapezium.
section. Application to the quantity of air flowing through an airway, the quantity of water passing through a pipe, capacity of tubs and wagons, quantity of coal from a coal face, volume of rippings and packs.WORKSHOP TECHNOLOGY AND PRACTICE
27. With the increasing mechanisation of mines it is essential that a greater percentage of mineworkers should have some knowledge of workshop materials and processes and that they should have the opportunity to acquire skill in the use of mining and engineering tools and mechanical appliances. Moreover, on educational grounds it would be unwise to exclude from the curriculum some form of practical activity. The training of the young miner in workshop practice may assist in the creation of a new type of craftsmanship to replace that of the older generation who derived much personal satisfaction from the skilful use of a limited range of hand tools.
28. During practical training at the mine the entrant will receive instruction in the use of mining appliances. At the technical institution he should be taught the correct methods of using a hammer, chisel, hacksaw, file, taps and dies, and drills. Simple exercises in fitting and in the dismantling and erection of small items of mining plant, with practice in the use of nuts and bolts, spanners and pipe couplings, will provide opportunities for useful training. Cutting and shaping light section rails to a given curve, track-laying and simple methods of capping steel ropes of small diameter may also be introduced, but such work will require careful supervision. Apart from such direct applications to mining the work should follow the lines of a normal workshop course for students of 15 to 18 years of age. In the short time available it will not usually be possible to provide for work on machine tools other than the incidental use of a drilling machine. The scope of the instruction will be influenced by the nature of the premises and equipment, but it is essential to provide a qualified workshop instructor who can develop pride in the acquisition of manipulative skill. The introduction of some work in wood should not be overlooked. In the combination of wood and metal there is scope for team work in the production of suitable models to illustrate mining methods. The syllabus might include the following work:
Materials. Properties and use of common materials. The appearance and structure of cast-iron, wrought-iron and, steel.
Testing for hardness with hammer, file and hacksaw of iron, steel, lead, copper, zinc, tin, aluminium and alloys. The common rolled-steel sections used in mining. The effect of heat on common metals.ENGLISH SUBJECTS
29. No good purpose would be served by suggesting a detailed syllabus. The nature and scope of the work will be determined largely by the gifts and capabilities of the teacher and by the interests of the students. The instruction should be planned to assist in the development of the power of expression, to broaden the outlook and to direct attention to the duties and responsibilities of the individual as a member of the community.
30. Local studies may form a useful approach and by careful arrangement will lead to a consideration of the economic geography and industrial history of the country. The organisation of the local community and topical events in its administration may form an introduction to the study of our national institutions and an account of the work of the Local Authorities, Parliament and the Cabinet, Government Departments and Courts of Justice. Whilst it may be necessary to give some instruction in civics, it will be more important to inculcate the principles of good citizenship and to show how the successful life of a community depends on the tolerance, self-control, co-operation and social responsibility of its individuals.
31. It will be essential to consider the place of the mining industry in the national economy. Discussion on the great contribution of the miner to the national welfare will help to give the young entrant a greater measure of self-respect and satisfaction in his job.
32. In the short period of the course it may not be possible, nor is it desirable, to introduce much written work. Students should not be asked to write essays on abstract subjects or on problems beyond their powers of comprehension. The collection of information and the preparation of short reports and talks may be adequate at this stage. Subjects for discussion should not be outside the range of the knowledge and interest of the class. Games, amusements, hobbies,
films and wireless should have their place, and on occasion topics such as welfare work at the mine, baths, canteens, methods of mining in other counties and in other countries, open-cast mining, nationalisation and the work of Trade Unions may be introduced.
33. Full use should be made of national and local newspapers. Reading should be encouraged. Incidents from the lives of scientists and engineers, whose work influenced mining methods, may have particular interest. Popular accounts of inventions and scientific discoveries, with applications not too remote from everyday life, may also be appropriate. It will be for the teacher to discover how far he can attempt to stimulate an interest in literature.
34. Throughout the course every effort should be made to induce the young miner to talk, to listen to others, to select and arrange suitable words to express a meaning, to distinguish between assertion and reasoning, and to appreciate the value of argument as a test of accurate knowledge and clear thinking.
35. The physical education of the entrant should provide for a general training in movement designed to aid harmonious growth and development. Its chief aims may be summarised as follows:
(a) To assist in the development of a strong, flexible and well-co-ordinated body as an essential part of a balanced personality.36. Because of the widely differing conditions under which the work will be carried out at the various centres, it is not practicable to give a detailed scheme for general adoption. It cannot be too strongly emphasised, however, that if effective results are to be obtained, the teaching must be in the hands of a trained specialist. The scheme of work should be as comprehensive as possible and should include gymnastics, games, boxing, wrestling, athletics; every endeavour should be made to provide facilities for swimming. To carry out such an extensive scheme, the accommodation should consist of a fully equipped gymnasium with changing rooms and shower baths, a hard paved court directly accessible from the gymnasium, adequate playing fields and facilities for swimming.
37. Where conditions impose a more restricted scheme, it will be desirable to maintain, as far as possible, a suitable balance between the chief activities that can be included, and it may be desirable to give some compensation by the formation of clubs for sports, walking,
cycling, camping and other recreational activities. If a fully equipped gymnasium cannot be made available, every effort should be made to obtain the use of a clean, commodious hall and to equip it with portable apparatus, including vaulting appliances, benches, ropes, medicine balls, small balls, sticks and hoops.
38. The lessons should include exercises and activities for the development of agility, dexterity, speed, endurance and strength. No attempt should be made to develop strength at the expense of other qualities. Vigorous active movement should be the keynote, and effort should be made to give the work the character of spontaneous activity. At least a part of each lesson should be spent out of doors. Training in the correct technique of such practical operations as pulling, pushing, lifting and carrying may be included, but for this purpose the use of elaborate apparatus is unnecessary.
39. Games, athletics, sports and swimming will take their place in the scheme of training, and on occasions it may be desirable to allocate a special period to these activities so that adequate time for play and for coaching may be assured.
40. For all forms of exercise suitable clothing should be worn. For gymnastics, shorts, vest and plimsolls are necessary, though under appropriate conditions vest and plimsolls may be discarded. A shower bath or a brisk rub-down is a beneficial sequel to a period of physical activity and should never be omitted. Good ventilation, a high standard of cleanliness, and an effective system of lighting and heating are essential in any gymnasium or physical training room.
41. Reference has been made to the necessity for co-ordinating the work in the various subjects of the curriculum. It is equally important that the work at the educational institution should be closely associated with practical training. The scheme of instruction should be planned and conducted as a unified course. When all the work is under the control of a Joint Committee representative of the colliery undertaking and the Local Education Authority, and when the educational institution is in close proximity to the practical training centre, collaboration should be easy and effective. In all cases, however, the chief practical instructor and the teacher-in-charge at the educational institution should be in continuous contact so that their schemes of work can be kept under review. There should be an interchange of visits, the teacher going to the mine to see the practical training at the surface and underground, and the practical instructor visiting the school to discuss the educational programme.
42. Every effort should be made to impress on all entrants that the instruction in the classroom and the practical training at the mine are complementary parts of the course.
43. In most areas arrangements will be made for the selection of students to enter part-time day courses of instruction leading to qualifications in mining or in colliery engineering. It is the duty of the chief practical instructor and the teacher-in-charge to work together in the difficult problem of selection, and they should endeavour to maintain an active interest in the student's subsequent progress both in his practical work and in his course of study.
44. It is recognised that there may be difficulties in the provision of adequate premises and equipment. In technical colleges with a well-equipped mining department problems of accommodation will be of a minor character, and may be limited to the provision of the additional equipment outlined in paragraph 46 for instruction in mining. In other cases, it may be necessary to improvise in old buildings or in prefabricated huts. For a typical centre to deal with 400 to 600 entrants a year the following accommodation will usually be required:
(a) Classroom of 600 to 700 square feet for general subjects.Where the annual intake is small, one room may serve for general subjects and for mining and mining science.
45. The science room should have a demonstration bench with gas, water and electricity, and should be equipped with projection apparatus for film-strips; it will be an advantage to have the use of an episcope and a 16-mm silent film projector. Scientific apparatus of a simple character should be provided.
46. For the descriptive work in mining, there should be available specimens of coals and rocks, all types of lockers and scotches, haulage clips of various kinds, flame and electric hand-lamps, samples of ropes and rope capels, a haulage signal unit, shot-firing appliances and a complete range of protective equipment. In addition, models of tubs and track, safety devices on haulage roads, air-locks, detaching hooks, props and chocks, shaft fittings, and of the arrangements for
the circulation and control of tubs at the surface and at the pit-bottom should be obtained or constructed. This equipment may be conveniently exhibited on benches along the sides or at the back of the science room.
47. The mining workshop should be fitted with benches and vices, the usual range of hand tools, a power drilling machine and a smith's hearth. All equipment may be located round the walls of the workshop and this arrangement will give space in the centre of the room which will be useful for work in the dismantling and assembly of mining plant. A pedestal grinder and a lathe may be installed, but these will be unnecessary where an engineering workshop, with machine tools, is available in close proximity to the mining workshop.
48. Where the use of prefabricated huts is contemplated, it is convenient to plan for two adjacent classrooms with a preparation room and a store between the science room and the mining workshop.
49. Reference has already been made to the problems of staffing. Teachers with mining qualifications will be required for the subjects of mining and mining science, and they should be able to undertake the work in mathematics and drawing. In most cases, their teaching time-table will include classes in preliminary and senior courses and for deputies. Where new appointments are to be made men with a good general education, wide mining experience, and an interest in young people should be selected. The First Class Certificate of Competency under the Coal Mines Act of 1911 should be regarded as a minimum technical qualification; some part-time teaching experience is desirable. The Ministry of Education has now established Training Colleges for Technical Teachers and these will undertake the training of men with suitable qualifications and experience who desire to become mining teachers.
50. For the classes in English subjects, in workshop practice and in physical education trained teachers and specialists will be necessary. They should, however, have some knowledge and experience of the mining community in order that they may have a sympathetic understanding of the aspirations and educational needs of the young people in the mining industry.