As President of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ), I am in a privileged position following in the footsteps of my predecessors in this role, all of whom have helped build the Institute into the organisation it is today. Whilst the time within the role is relatively short, we have all aspired to ensure the long-term goals of the Institute are progressed.
For me it is about the future of our profession and our industry. I know from my experiences that we need to evolve and change for our sector to thrive and prosper in the future. Improving the diversity in our industry is critical at all levels. Time and again evidence shows that embracing greater diversity leads to better and more robust businesses.
As part of my role, I attended the IQ International Presidents’ meeting in South Africa last month, which coincided with the IQ South Africa (IQSA) Annual Conference and celebration of 50 years since being established. The conference was an inspiring experience reflecting on the history of the whole country and that of IQSA, providing insight into how much has changed during that time.
The meeting highlighted the value and strength of the wider IQ family with my counterparts from all parts of the world sharing their experiences. In many cases, we all face very similar issues in relation to the global nature of the challenges politically, economically, socially and environmentally. The ability to gain insight from the diverse range of perspectives around the table was hugely valuable and a great reminder that no matter how long we have been in the industry, there is always something to learn.
Closer to home, as mentioned in my last column, the higher apprentices from the University of Derby’s Centre for Mineral Products have benefited from their project week at the Hollowford Centre in the Peak District. The tailored programme of hands-on challenges are specifically designed to inspire future industry leaders, developing their skills in team work, communication and problem solving. These core skills are undoubtedly needed both now and in the future.
Like many of you, I have been fortunate enough to have been part of the industry for many years. I can cast my mind back to the beginning of my career and recognise the different approaches taken in those days. The style of leadership I have seen develop over my time has been more one of flexibility and adaptability. A style where leaders have become more pragmatic and inclusive; one that has become used to embracing change and adapting a more collegiate approach for the modern workforce. These are the values that the President and Institute are striving for, working with others in the UK and internationally.
No more so can these values be demonstrated than at the Strategic Forum for Health and Safety in the Mineral Products Sector, something that the Institute is extremely proud to be part of. The next phase of the campaign will be rolled out soon, focusing on auditing and training to support the campaign to eliminate entrapment.
We are also playing our part in supporting the Minerals Matter campaign to support raising the profile of the industry and the careers within it. We all recognise the need to bring the next generation into the industry and to ensure they are given the right skills to take our sector forward.
This is a great industry and one that I am hugely proud to be a part of. What I find really motivating is the enthusiasm and passion of the next generation. For me, in my short time as President, I hope that I can say that I have played my part in supporting the next generation of industry talent.