Undoubtedly, 2020 will be a year that we all remember as we address the challenges presented by the pandemic. It continues to have an impact on our health, wellbeing and economy.
It gives me great pleasure to be writing my first Presidents column for our magazine as our industry is one I am incredibly proud of. As members of the Institute, our industry and our profession are critical in supporting our country, our economy and our communities.
In my last column, I outlined a number of the approaches and activities to drive innovation that the industry and IQ have undertaken over the years. Rapid advances in technology, and its application to what we do, means we are now facing unprecedented changes in the way we work.
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.
This is the final column from me as the President of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ). During September I will be stepping down from the Board after nearly 20 years of active engagement with the Institute. It is a mixed-emotion experience as, on the one hand, after such a long period of participation it is sad to leave behind such a great organization. But, on the other hand, my colleagues and I have worked hard on the organizational governance to ensure there is an inflow of new enthusiasm and talent to maintain a freshness to the professional body, which is essential to its continuing relevance. I look on this latter point with a sense of pride that I was able to make a small, but lasting, contribution to the future of IQ.
Much has been written around the merits and challenges of apprenticeships, both nationally and within our own sector. Whilst there are many discussions at the national level around aspects such as the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy, it is important not to lose sight of the core purpose and value of apprenticeships.
Breaking down barriers is vital if we are going to safeguard the future of the mineral extractives sector. But it appears we have a long way to go, despite our best intent.
Like many, when the time came, I opted to take the traditional path into higher education, studying for my degree at the University of Hertfordshire and my PhD at the University of Bath, the latter supported by Aggregate Industries. But, given my time again, I’ve often thought that the apprenticeship pathway might have suited me better.