Happy 2023! I hope the festive break provided you all with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy precious time with your families and friends. Here at the Institute, we have returned following the Christmas break and are energised by what the next 12 months hold, as our exciting new vision for IQ starts to take shape.
There have been times over the last two and half years where I think we can all say it felt as though things may never return to normal. This month marks an important step towards normality for our sector, with the welcome return of the Hillhead show at Buxton.
Every two years, for many of us, the show is an opportunity to see some of the latest advances in equipment and machinery, alongside the chance to catch up with colleagues and friends. With the postponement of the show in 2020 we have all missed out on that opportunity, but we can now look forward to this month and the chance to reconnect.
The Institute is no different. We will be there to meet the diverse people that make this sector the rewarding industry it is to be a part of, whilst showcasing the ongoing work we do to support individuals to achieve their own professional goals.
It is particularly pleasing to have industry bodies such as QNJAC, the University of Derby Centre for Mineral Products and the Institute for Asphalt Technology sharing our stand this year, demonstrating the importance of cross industry collaboration in delivering better outcomes for our members and the sector.
Being a member of the Institute means having support throughout your career. In visiting the IQ stand, you can learn more about new developments, such as the Personal Development Wheel. This is a self-assessment tool that enables individuals to benchmark their skills and knowledge against the IQ Skills Wheel and build a development plan to support their future career goals.
As a sector and a profession, the need to maintain and be able to demonstrate our competence is both a regulatory and moral obligation. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a fundamental aspect of membership and an area where you can get advice and guidance from our team on the IQ stand. Whether it’s questions about how to manage your CPD or you need help downloading the membership app, IQ Connect, a member of the team will be on hand to assist.
The team is looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the three days of the show, so please make sure you drop by to find out more about how IQ is supporting the sector today and in the future.
We all hope that Hillhead does signal the start of life getting back to normal. As we look forward to the rest of the year and beyond, we will continue to see our industry recover and continue to deliver its critical products that support the rest of the UK in getting our economy back on track.
I want to start my column this month by taking a moment to remember one of my predecessors as President of the Institute. Many of you will know that Anthony Morgan sadly passed away last month.
Writing this month's column coincided with National Apprenticeship Week. The annual campaign celebrates apprentices and the value of an apprenticeship as a foundation for future success.
As we begin the New Year, there is a sense of Groundhog Day for many of us. We are grappling with uncertainties surrounding the latest Covid variant, the disruption it is causing and how it may affect us in the coming months.
November marks several significant events both globally and for the IQ, reflecting the challenges we are facing as a society and highlighting some of the actions we are taking as an industry to drive better outcomes for the future.
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.
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.