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Travel award offers chance to learn, teach

The award covers the cost of travel and accommodation for the winner and a travelling companion during an eight-day tour visiting a number of modern quarrying operations in Malaysia.
Applications are invited from suitably experienced members who can demonstrate an ability to assess and make observations and recommendations about process improvement at the sites visited, culminating in a short written report for Hap Seng’s managing director. An IQA member with extensive experience and a wide network of contacts in the quarrying industry in Australia is the most likely candidate. 
Last year?s winner, Mike Cooper of MD Cooper Consulting, said one of the reasons for his application was because quarrying was a lifetime career choice for him. He came away from the experience learning as well as teaching.
?When you see wheel loaders and dump trucks in quarries proudly carrying the (Malaysian) national flag, you appreciate that the people across all levels of society understand and share the vision,? Cooper said of the quarries he visited.
?There is a hunger for knowledge and for improvement, that is quite engaging.
From the Hap Seng perspective, this vision is repeated from the way they have articulated their strategic plan through to its implementation. 
?This is a company that has developed from a single operating quarry in 2006 to 13 in 2012, and with a plan to have more than 20 operations in the portfolio in the next few years. They have grown through both strategic acquisition and from the development of greenfield sites in key growth markets. 
?They serve both local and export markets. The export side is something we really don?t see much of in Australia ? so it?s different and interesting.?
Cooper added that the economics and cost structures of the quarrying operations also have some similarities – and some differences. ?The number of people engaged in the operations is about three times what we would benchmark for similar production levels in Australia,? he explained. ?The Hap Seng operations also relentlessly follow the improvement path ? and I was impressed by the commitment to improve productivity, implement technology, and to lifting the bar in respect of occupational health, safety and environment. 
?The best advice I can give is to any prospective applicant (or recipient) is to approach it with a mindset of ?what can I learn?? not so much ?what can I teach???
Applications must be submitted to the IQA by close of business on Friday, 31 May 2013. For further information, contact Robyn Cousins at the IQA, tel 02 9484 0577, via email or visit the IQA website.

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