Caving Qualifications and Work Opportunities

Local Cave / Mine Leader Assessment Scheme

There are opportunities for keen cavers and group leaders to become involved with the BCA cave leadership scheme. Many cavers have gone on to become instructors by started this way and gaining more caving experience, working alongside instructors, attending a cave leader training course, undergoing an assessment to eventually working as cave leaders themselves.

Many Scout leaders, youth leaders and teachers have gone on to lead trips themselves by working this way with us. Other opportunities are also available with caving trips to other systems in different caving areas and specialist caver training workshops run by the Derbyshire Caving Association.

Local Cave / Mine Leader Assessment Scheme
These are run in most of the major caving regions in the UK including the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North & South Wales and Somerset.
The courses start at 9.30am on the first day and end at 5.00pm on the final day with a formal de-brief and a look at assessment procedure.
Cavers will be expected to have their own caving clothing and equipment for the training courses but I can provide anything that people are short of. Some sessions will be held outdoors so suitable clothing will be needed for this.

An application form can be obtained by contacting the Training Administration Service Provider or down loading one from the British Caving Association web site.
The completed application form should be sent with the current registration fee to the Training Administration Service Provider.† The registration fee covers the administration costs of Level 1 and Level 2 assessments, it does not cover the subsequent addition of other sites and areas, revalidation or the Cave Instructor Certificate scheme. Neither does the registration fee cover the cost of Trainer/Assessorsí services.There is no lower age limit on registration or gaining prior experience.† However, there is an age limit on progressing through the scheme.

The applicant will be registered with the scheme and be given a logbook and registration number, which should be referred to in all correspondence.
The issued logbook contains the following pages:
Enrolment (yellow)
Purpose of Logbook (white)
Contents (yellow)
Outline of LCMLA Scheme (yellow)
Experience (white)
Summary of LCMLA Training Courses, Assessment and Revalidation (yellow)
Associated Awards and Courses Record (white)
Candidates with a lot of experience, perhaps going back over many years may find it difficult to give exact details. Candidates should attempt to demonstrate their breadth and depth of experience with the more historic experience summarised. Multiple entries of trips to the same cave or mine with similar groups may also be summarised. Only the most recent experience should be included in more detail.
Additional experience pages may be obtained from the Training Administration Service Provider or photocopied.
If a candidate subsequently registers on the Cave Instructor Certificate (CIC) Scheme pink pages will be issued for enrolment and partial assessment reports.

A copy of the Syllabus can be down loaded from the BCA web site -details in Directory.† A free copy of the syllabus will be provided at registration.† Further copies may be obtained from the TASP on payment of a charge to cover printing costs.

"Protect Our Caves", "Bats Underground", "Weils Disease", Speleoscene and "Cave Conservation Policy - Summary" are normally sent out with registration forms. Further copies may be obtained by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to the Training Administration Service Provider.
A free copy of Notes for Candidates will be provided at registration.† Further copies may be obtained from the TASP on payment of a charge to cover printing costs.
This material is also available at BCA Training web site.


A copy of Speleoscene, the British Caving Association newsletter, is sent out with the logbook.† Speleoscene is a source of up to date information about the scheme, access changes etc. All candidates are encouraged to obtain the publication regularly. It is obtainable from some shops or by subscription.

Caving is a strenuous activity and emergency situations (e.g. carrying out a hoist on a climb or pitch) can be both physically and mentally exhausting.† It is the responsibility of the LCMLA leader to ensure that he/she is physically able to carry out their anticipated and unforeseen roles in caring for their groups/clients. Medical advice should be sought if a condition or disability may limit the ability to perform these roles.† During training or assessment it is essential that candidates do not put themselves or others at risk and therefore must notify the trainer/assessor of any condition which may significantly affect their caving activities.

A training course is a compulsory part of the Local Cave and Mine Leader Assessment scheme at both Level 1 and Level 2.† There are no compulsory training courses for the optional Modules 5 and 6.

The only requirement is that the candidate has a basic level of competence as cavers or mine explorers.
The minimum experience prior to undertaking a Level one training course is 12 cave or mine exploration trips.
Candidates with less than 12 trips experience can be accepted on specially designed courses. However the training report issued to the candidate at the end of the course should note this fact and advise the candidate that more training may be required before assessment.

The only requirement is that the candidate has done some vertical caving
Candidates must have completed a Level 1 training course.
Course directors shall have the right to refuse attendance on a training course if the candidate has insufficient experience. The candidate shall have a right of appeal to the Training Officer.

Candidates must be over 18 years old to undertake a Training Course.

The candidate can attend a training course anywhere, as they are not area specific. The course must be run by a British Caving Association approved Trainer / Assessor. The candidate is at liberty to contact any currently approved Trainer/Assessor.
The candidate should advise the Trainer / Assessor if s/he has any medical problems that may affect their own or other persons safety.
Lists of Trainer / Assessors are on the British Caving Associationís web site and can be obtained from the Training Administration Service Provider. Details of some forthcoming training courses are advertised in Speleoscene, on the British Caving Associationís web site and elsewhere.† In addition, the Training Administration Service Provider and the Area Liaison Officer will be aware of forthcoming training coursesThe candidate should be advised by the Trainer / Assessor, preferably in writing, of the basic details of the course.

The minimum requirements are 2 days (16 hours) for each course. At least 6 hours should be spent underground. Trainer/Assessors may take into account appropriate vertical rope work qualifications held by candidates and reduce the duration of Level 2 training courses e.g. Mountain Leader Training Board, (Mountain Instructor Assessment).

Nige has written action plans for all the BCA scheme which are available on training courses.

See course dates for availability.

Cave Instructor Certificate Scheme

The Cave Instructor Certificate is the highest level of professional qualification available in the UK.
It qualifies the holder to instruct all aspects of caving activity, at any level, and to all types of client group, without restriction.
Activity includes:
Exploration of caves, potholes, and abandoned mines (additional endorsement is available for those leading trips into other than straightforward simple mines)
Vertical caving skills including Single Rope Technique SRT (abseil descent, ascent by mechanical 'jammers')
Self rescue techniques
Basic geology and limestone topography (Karst), including cave development
Hazard awareness and safety guidance, including advice on operating guidelines and procedures
The CIC Scheme is administered by the British Caving Association through their Training Committee and consists of six stages:
Prior experience

Continued professional development, with a formal revalidation every three years
Registration for the scheme is available to experienced cavers who are comfortable rigging and leading in grade IV vertical cave systems. Candidates should have at least two years active involvement in caving in a variety of systems and preferably in different areas as a minimum prior to attending a training course. Some experience of working with novices underground is essential. They should also have completed LCMLA Level 2 training (incl. SRT for the leader) and have acquired some prior experience in SRT self rescue techniques. The minimum age for attending the training course is 18 years.
The Training Course is designed to provide intensive tuition in a wide range of techniques for working with instructed groups in horizontal and vertical cave systems. However, it cannot provide comprehensive training in all syllabus areas and candidates will need to gain further appropriate experience prior to assessment. Some club cavers may wish to take part in the training to improve their skills in passing on techniques in the informal club-training environment. There is no obligation to proceed to assessment.
Following training, and prior to assessment, candidates are required to undertake a six month (minimum) 'consolidation period' when further training and relevant experience can be gained.
At assessment candidates will need to demonstrate a wide and varied practical caving experience and knowledge gained over at least 4 years, and including most of the major underground systems in their main caving area, as well as the smaller systems used for initial caving experience. They should also have visited at least 10 classic systems in a minimum of two other areas.
Candidates will need to be familiar with all types of underground terrain including tight passages, traverses, boulder chokes, streamways, deep water, free-diveable sumps, climbs and pitches and abandoned mines. Experience will be both at a personal level and in leading novices or less experienced cavers.
The candidate must hold the LCMLA Level 2 Award (incl. SRT for the leader) and have gained a minimum of 20 days leadership experience, working in both horizontal and vertical systems.
Assessment comprises of four separate practical modules, taken over five days within a twelve-month period.
Module 1†
Vertical Skills Surface Check (1 day)
Module 2†
Extended Caving Day (1 day)
Module 3†
Rigging in Vertical Systems (1 day)
Module 4

Vertical Skills Instructing (2 days)
An additional 1-day assessment, Module 5, is available as an option for those who wish to gain the CIC Mines Extension.
Full details of the Scheme, including syllabus, handbook and registration requirements, are available from the BCA.

See course dates for availability.

BCA Cave Instructor Assessments (CIC)
By arrangement only on a 1 to 1 basis