Happy New Year. How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself! It is hard to believe that this time a year ago we launched our centenary celebrations. Here we are 12 months later looking back on a year that I believe will be remembered not only for the success of the IQ Quarry Garden, or its repurposing at the National Memorial Arboretum, but for the vision and ambition of all those at IQ and across the wider industry.
For all those who joined us at this year’s Centenary Conference at The Belfry, it was an extra-special occasion marking 100 years of the Institute of Quarrying. Conference itself provided much food for thought about the softer issues affecting our industry – from men’s health to sustainability. Later in the day, our Centenary Dinner delivered a fantastic evening of achievement awards, inspirational guest speakers, fine dining and great company.
Responsibility is a word that gets used a lot in our industry; corporate social responsibility, environmental responsibility; personal responsibility. Our responsibility is that what we do as a sector impacts upon our economy, our society, the environment and the lives of countless individuals across the UK, Europe and beyond.
Our ‘Inspiring for Generations’ centenary conference takes place in the relaxing surroundings of The Belfry Hotel and Spa Resort in Sutton Coldfield on 19 October 2017. It’s a far cry from the humble surroundings of the first meeting that took place 100 years ago in Caernarfon and reflects how far both the Institute and the mineral extractives sector have travelled.
We are living in changing times. When the country voted to leave the European Union, as a nation and an industry we entered into a period of uncertainty, both in terms of our economy and where the UK sits in the broader European landscape.
Breaking down barriers is vital if we are going to safeguard the future of the mineral extractives sector. But it appears we have a long way to go, despite our best intent.
Like all industries, mineral extractives and quarrying is in a state of perpetual motion when it comes to embracing and adopting new technologies and future-looking operating practices.
We are now halfway through our centenary year. The focus of the celebrations has been to demonstrate and showcase how far both the mineral extractives industry and the Institute of Quarrying have come over that time. As an industry we have progressed in so many different respects, from employee training and development to health and safety standards and environmental awareness. The activities and events we have already held along with the ones yet to come are not just about reflecting on the progress and development of the industry, but also to look ahead and outline our vision and goals for the next 100 years.
We are all bombarded every day by new technology and new working practices. Without acknowledging it, each of us engages in daily personal development that enables us to keep our heads above the flood waters of modern-day life. That ever-increasing speed of change also interfaces with our work lives, whether we like it or not. It is the role of a professional body such as IQ to help us to be better-equipped employers and employees.
The minerals extractives sector plays an instrumental role in our everyday lives, yet quarrying and related value-added activity has an impact on the environment that requires active management. Environmental issues represent a key priority for professionals in our sector and there are many programmes and schemes in place which not only work to reduce the negative impacts, but also add significant natural capital to the industry’s balance sheet.