Over the last few months this column has highlighted the importance of our sector supporting the wider society. There are many challenges and opportunities, driven by technology and the sustainability agenda, that we face but few outside of our industry recognise the contribution that our sector can make. Through our engagement with stakeholders across a range of sectors, there is often a preconceived idea of our industry and profession, which frequently is at odds with reality.
Over the last few weeks you may have seen the announcement regarding the merger of the Institute of Quarrying with the National Stone Centre (NSC) at Wirksworth in Derbyshire. We have set out our vision and purpose for the project and our aspirations for the future in our communications to members.
One of the issues we often discuss at IQ Board of Trustees meetings is the need for society to recognise the need for our sector and our profession.
In last month’s column, the focus centred on the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) for all of us as members of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) and the wider industry. The June issue of Quarry Management also provided a timely insight into the work the industry is undertaking in driving innovation across a range of areas.
The industry’s leading event, Hillhead, has just experienced its successful transition to an alternative, digital format. Hillhead Digital was a reminder of the restrictions we have been under for the last year but also the spirit of ingenuity to adapt to the situation that we have all faced. As restrictions continue to ease, we look forward to being able to return to the live Hillhead event next June.
The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) has a long and proud history of professional development for its members, through education, training, and the sharing of best practices. From our establishment in 1917, our core purpose has been to develop competent and capable professionals and support individuals throughout their career.
At the time of writing, we are at the point in the year where we are beginning to see the signs of spring with warmer and brighter weather on its way. It also marks the one-year anniversary since the full impact of the pandemic first hit us all. Whilst there is still some way to go, for most of us there is now a sense of real hope for a pathway out of the pandemic.
We are approaching the end of the first quarter of the year and there is genuine hope that we are seeing the beginning of the pathway out of the pandemic. Vaccine programmes begin to roll out across the globe and there is greater confidence of being able to manage COVID-19 in the short and long term. There is still a long way to go before we can be sure of some return to normal and undoubtedly the situation has changed how we will work in the future.
The early months of 2021 have brought a sense of déjà vu as many parts of the world remain focused on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a stark reminder for us all that no matter how well prepared we believe we are, there will be issues to challenge our thinking and approach as to how we operate.
The start of a new year provides the opportunity for us all to look forward and refocus our efforts for the coming months both personally and professionally. Over the festive period many of us will have had the chance to reflect and evaluate what is important to us, setting new goals and ambitions to support our own personal growth, mental health and general wellbeing.