The Local Cave and Mine Leader Assessment (LCMLA) Scheme provides an award recognising the competence of those wishing to take responsibility for others underground, for the benefit of employers or others in authority. The main considerations are equally the safety of the group and the conservation of a fragile environment.
The scheme has four stages, enrolment, training, assessment and issue of an award. Prior to entering the scheme, prospective candidates should have experience of the exploration of caves, mines and potholes. The prospective candidate should then enrol in the scheme and receive a log book in which progress is recorded. The candidate should be over 18 and have achieved a suitable level of experience before undertaking a training course. The candidate should then go forward to be assessed against a set of modules. On successful completion of a set of modules, the candidate shall be given an award.
The award reflects the level of competence of the holder in specified caves and mines and is set at two levels: Level 1 for non-vertical systems, or at Level 2 for vertical systems with pitches up to 18m explored with ladders, although single rope techniques is an option for the leader only. Those wishing to undertake more ambitious objectives should register for the Cave Instructor Certificate Scheme. The award is only valid for a period of three years and is subject to conditions of maintaining a level of activity and holding a valid first aid certificate. An award holder can update their award for periods of an additional three years by undergoing an update process.
Each caving and mining area in the British Isles has its idiosyncratic features in the nature and form of the underground systems, the objective hazards likely to be encountered and in problems related to access and conservation. The LCMLA Scheme is designed therefore, to reflect the needs and interests peculiar to each area. It is flexible in that the candidate is assessed with regard to the caves or mines or potholes in which they wish to lead parties. The assessment has a core syllabus, standardised nationally, but has a local knowledge element (hence the name) to take account of specific hazards and problems of conservation, access etc of each site that a party is to be led within. A key feature of the scheme is a specific assessment of the candidate with regard to a declared list of named cave and / or mine sites in which the candidate wishes to lead parties.
(Taken from LCMLA Handbook)