Presidents Blog

Moving with the times

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 1, 2017 2:54:00 PM / by Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President

Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President


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.

Everywhere you look you will find the evidence of change – and unashamedly for the better. The way we go about our business in the UK is now setting the standards for best operating practices around the world. We’ve made zero harm a way of life and when it comes to caring for the environment – from managing biodiversity and the use of water to controlling embodied carbon and resource usage – we are in a strong position to encourage and lead the way in environmental best practice.

At IQ we champion best operating practices through continuous professional development (CPD) with initiatives such as our Skills Wheel and PRIME (Professional Recognition In Mineral Extractives). The Skills Wheel focuses on developing individual competencies, whilst PRIME’s aim is to open up the doors to the industry, assisting in providing a continuous career progression pathway, embracing workforce involvement and promoting the development of individuals committed to PRIME.

Promoting the concept of continuous professional development (CPD) at all levels within the industry, PRIME works towards creating a fully competent workforce. It recognizes contributions made as professionals by fully trained operatives, foremen and supervisors, encouraging more active workforce engagement.

The most recent recipient of PRIME status was Bestwood Quarry in Nottinghamshire. The team at this site actively engage with their local community to positively promote the industry. The site was also able to demonstrate that a transparent, integrated competency programme that covers recruitment, ongoing training and development, and the recording of CPD covered the whole team.

Moving forward

The first phase of PRIME was completed early in 2015 and is now evolving to extend its influence from site level to contractors and suppliers. The long-term vision is that everyone directly participating in the industry will aspire to unite behind common standards and values that make our industry one of the most highly performing industries in the UK.

Staying productive

Keeping the industry evolving is important across all areas of the business and the issue of health and safety remains at the core of what we do.

Alongside the PRIME initiative, IQ also chairs the QNJAC (Quarries National Joint Advisory Committee) forum. QNJAC ( is a unique forum where operators and the HSE share information and work together to produce operational guidance. Guidance that aims to keep ‘Target Zero’ – the ongoing commitment to reducing injuries by 15% year on year – very much a reality.

It is hard to keep pace with the speed of change in our sector, but that is a true reflection of the dynamic world in which we live. Changing the way we do things for the better benefits all – from the individual to the employer, the environment to the consumer. It is all about moving with the times.

Topics: CPD, Skills Wheel