Last month Martin Riley, senior vice-president of Tarmac, became new President of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ), succeeding his predecessor Phil Redmond. In a recent Zoom interview with QM, he spoke about a global vision for IQ, the key priorities for the professional body and the challenges facing the minerals extractives sector in the post-pandemic world.
Operators across the mineral products and quarrying sector share many recruitment challenges. These include replacing an ageing workforce, skills retention, and presenting the sector as an attractive choice for today’s school, college and university leavers.
An ageing workforce is an ongoing challenge for the mineral extractives industry, with the average worker in the sector aged 55 . So, how is the sector developing the next generation of young talent and creating future leaders?
Apprenticeship programmes are an increasingly popular pathway into the world of work, with many apprentices going on to enjoy successful careers at the highest levels. The quarrying sector is no different, with operators large and small welcoming the flexible approach to personal and professional development both in the workplace and classroom.
Almost 10 million people in employment in the UK are over the age of 50, equivalent to more than 30% of the workforce1. The age profile of people employed in the mineral extractives sector is even more polarised than the wider national picture, with 55 per cent aged over 45 years and only 17 per cent aged 18-342. In future decades, a high proportion of this group will leave work permanently, taking acquired skills and experiences with them.
Like any industry, successful professionals within the quarrying and mineral extractives sector are acutely aware of their own personal attributes and how to develop their skills in different areas to keep their career moving forward.
Shotfirer. Surveyor. Geotechnical engineer. Quarry manager. Technical development manager. These are just a few of the job roles that are fulfilled by the increasing number of women now finding opportunities to start and progress their careers through continuous professional development in today’s quarrying and mineral extractives sector.
A case study on the alternative journey a career in quarrying can take you.
Paul Clark is General Manager at Arabian Explosives (AREX) in the United Arab Emirates. He has come a long way, both professionally and geographically, since starting out his career in a small market town in South Yorkshire in 1988.