Core Skills Assessment (Cave and/or Mine)

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Prior to attending this course you must be registered with the BCAs Qualification Management System. You can do this by clicking here:
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You only need to fill the following 4 sections if you are booking an assessment


Please confirm, by ticking the boxes below, that you will not attend this course should you develop any of the symptoms outlined below.

Please also confirm you understand the measures we will need to take to ensure we are as safe as reasonably practicable prior to attending and during the course

Note should you not be able to attend this course due to COVID you will be offered a full refund or a place on the next course

Agree that you will not attend this course if any of the following apply to you *
Please tick to confirm you understand and will follow the guidelines listed below during the course

To pass your core skills assessment I’d expect to see a good awareness of the underground environment, a good level of navigation (both to the venue and underground), knowledge of the geology and history of the cave or mine we’re exploring, and are appropriately equipped for the trip.

Mine Core Skills Assessment Information  Cave Core Skills Assessment Information 


Before your assessment

Before committing to an assessment please make sure you’ve met the prerequisites outlined in the downloads above or I’ll not be able to add you to the Qualification Management System (QMS). In terms of experience please make sure you’ve logged at least the following experience before committing to the assessment, and forward me a copy: 

The following should be evidenced ideally in your log book, I need to see this before committing to the assessment. Please highlight your 5 quality days when presenting your logbook. I’m happy to see photos or a scan of your logbook pages evidencing the following, however will need to see your original logbook on or prior to your assessment day

  • Have at least 1 year cave/mine exploration
  • 30 trips in 10 different systems (including 2 different type of mines for Mine Leader)
      • A proportion of these should be as a leader under supervision
      • Some trips may be above and beyond the remit of the level 1
      • 5 of these must be quality days, defined as satisfying at least 4 of the following. Please nominate and highlight the 5 trips you consider best reflect quality days in your logbook when presented
        • Exploration of a new route or system
        • Incorporate at least 4 or 5 hours underground exploration
        • An experience that develops an individuals caving/mine exploration knowledge, skills and awareness
        • Incorporates skills above the level of the candidates qualification
        • Self led
        • Involve some vertical skills or digging
        • Exploration of a cave that responds to rainfall

    I’ll then send you a question paper which I’ll need returned at least 5 days before the assessment. Your answers to the paper may have bearing on the choice of venues used for the assessment.

    If you would rather answer the paper verbally we can arrange a telephone call prior to the assessment.

    Around 3 days before the assessment I’ll let you know where we’re going. I’ll normally provide a plan/survey for the mine/cave we are using so you don’t need to worry about sourcing your own.

    During your assessment


    Bring your logbook, I’ll need to see your original certificates and log book before the assessment so please have it with you.

    Make sure you’ve packed the appropriate kit for yourself, suitable for heading out with a group of capable peers. You’ll need to justify your kit choice so don’t just rely on using “the same kit as every other instructor” if you’re working at a Centre. You will need an appropriate rope (30m should be plenty, unless told otherwise) as well as some slings and krabs.

    Expect to be quizzed about the geology, history, conservation, access and any hazards encountered during the trip, the more you can identify things during the trip the better. Be prepared to deal with some scenarios throughout the day. The scenarios will reflect those commonly encountered by leaders, and at least one will require managing a peer up a simple pitch.

    Expect to be underground for at least 5 hours during which we may have to deal with simple climbs and traverses.

    Following your assessment

    Once we’ve completed the trip I’ll let you know how you got on as soon as possible. The outcomes of the day may be a Pass, Fail or Defer. Following a verbal de-brief I’ll complete your assessment profile on the QMS at which point you’ll get an email notification adding the credential to your profile and a brief written report from the day. Please   read this before committing to your group day assessment.