This will be a year that few of us will ever forget. So much of what we have known has gone out of the window, not just at work but in our social and personal lives too. We have had to find new ways of being engaged and connected with ourselves and others.
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.
The UK mineral extractives sector directly employs 74,000 people at over 2,000 active sites and plants, and supports an additional 3.5 million jobs throughout the supply chain1. Keeping our industry attuned to the latest thinking on safety, health and environmental knowledge is a major undertaking and a key priority for the Institute of Quarrying (IQ).
Everyone working in the quarrying and mineral products sector has a moral obligation to operate to the highest health and safety standards. The ramifications of ignoring best practice can have a devastating impact on personal wellbeing, as well as affecting commercial success, corporate reputation and shareholder value. Now there is growing recognition that a safe workplace should be a given, not a goal. That means moving from a ‘conscious’ commitment to safety to a culture where safety is ‘unconscious’.
The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) champions safety in the mineral products sector through the continuing professional development (CPD) of operatives and operators. This encompasses everything from the overarching responsibility of operators to achieving Target Zero, to personal awareness of potential hazards such as conveyor safety.
Turn the clock back 12 months. It’s the first-ever Institute of Quarrying (IQ) Fellows Lunch and Student Awards. The setting is the New Armouries’ Banqueting Suite at the Tower of London. A new IQ president takes the stage and sets out his stall, introducing the Institute’s ‘Creating Future Leaders’ strategy, shaping the direction ahead for the organisation and its members.
QM spoke to James Thorne, the new chief executive officer of The Institute of Quarrying, about the growth opportunities and challenges facing the industry, and his quest to ensure IQ continues to be at the forefront of education and training excellence, and professional competence within the sector.