It's astonishing that the year is coming to a close, which also marks the final year of my tenure as President of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ). Undoubtedly, 2023 has been filled with noteworthy events, both personally and professionally.
As you may be aware, I'll be stepping down as CEO of the Mineral Products Qualification Council (MPQC) at the year's end but will assume a new role as Chair of the MPQC Board. I'm particularly excited about the increased collaboration between IQ and MPQC in the upcoming years through the joint CEO role.
The past few months have only reaffirmed what I've known throughout my 46 years in the industry. We are a community capable of achieving remarkable feats through collaboration and supporting each other as individuals.
This year has once again highlighted the strength and diversity of IQ and its members, engaging in various activities that propel our industry forward. Strategically, the Institute has played a crucial role in shaping the Mineral Sector Strategic Health and Safety Forum, a collaborative effort addressing critical health and safety issues in our industry.
Simultaneously, the backing for Minerals Matter as the pathway to showcase our industry as the preferred career choice for the next generation will persist. This significance will be underscored in the upcoming Labour Market Intelligence Survey report for the Quarrying, Mineral Products, and Mining industries, scheduled for release in January.
The Institute has introduced new guidance and technical materials for its members, notably the explosives in quarrying book and diploma course. This emphasises that, in collaboration with key partners, the Institute takes the lead in enhancing practices in the sector.
In 2023, the Emerald Challenge was launched, reinforcing our commitment to the sustainability agenda and spotlighting the resourcefulness of our members in finding creative solutions to the challenges we collectively face.
Throughout the year, IQ’s dedicated branches have continued to serve as the foundation of the Institute’s activities, hosting technical evenings, social events, and CPD days. Dedicated volunteers consistently provide valuable CPD opportunities and support for members and the broader sector, and I can only express my heartfelt gratitude to them for their commitment this year.
As we approach the year-end, many branches are gearing up for their annual dinner dances, a time for colleagues to come together and celebrate. I had the pleasure of attending the Scottish Branch and Derbyshire Branch centenary dinner a few weeks ago. The Derbyshire Branch centenary, coupled with the earlier fun day at the National Stone Centre, showcased the robustness of our membership and the future that lies ahead.
Looking ahead to the next year, I am determined to make the most of my final year as President, continuing to work and support the IQ in the months to come. In closing, I extend my warmest wishes to you all for a safe, happy, and enjoyable holiday period, no matter where you are. I eagerly anticipate returning in the new year with renewed energy for our future plans and exciting developments.