New CEO spells out education vision

At the Western Australian IQA branch’s inaugural Women in Quarrying event on 26 October, Kylie Fahey spoke about one of her fondest memories from the last eight years of working in the vocational education and training (VET) sector – of an 82-year-old woman graduating with a Certificate IV in personal training because she wanted to motivate other residents in her retirement village.

Fahey says it’s emblematic of the way she sees and thinks about education.

“Learning is such a powerful thing for individuals and it is a privilege to be a part of. To see someone grow because of education and their learning and pursue a new career or make their workplace safer – in the context of OHS – is so rewarding,” she told Quarry.

In her previous role, as Group CEO of Foundation Education, Fahey was involved in managing services for students in registered training organisations (RTOs) in the VET sector and private higher education. She is confident this experience will be invaluable with the launch of Australasian Academy of Quarrying (AAQ) in 2019. She intends to build on the work of her predecessor Paul Sutton and has been charged with overseeing the AAQ’s eventual launch.

“It’s going to set the platform for the IQA’s delivery of education programs across the next five-plus years,” she said. “I’ll be ensuring the AAQ’s launch is both commercially sound and very much in line with what the industry needs from an education standpoint.”

Uniqueness of education

{{quote-A:R-W:275-I:2-Q:“The IQA’s educational offerings are encouraging people to take that first step into networking/education. From that, they can continue to engage with the richness and depth of what the IQA offers.”-who:Kylie Fahey}}Fahey understands that while standard business practices apply to the education sector, it has its unique challenges too. “First and foremost, you’ve got to understand the market and the drivers around the market. You’ve got to have the right product for that market and understand your competitors,” she said.

“I think the uniqueness of education is that competition comes in a variety of forms. A lot of the time you find you might have a fantastic product and it’s required by industry and there’s a huge demand for it, but people’s time is a huge barrier. We all have very, very busy lives with families and competing priorities. Finding the time to study can be challenging.

“Nevertheless, any good start-up will have the right product, it’ll be aligned to industry, and there will be good stakeholder engagement. For the IQA, the challenge and the opportunity is providing flexible products that can meet the skills needs and training gaps, while always being mindful of where the market is heading.”

Networking benefits

Fahey has more than 20 years’ experience in a number of sectors, including civil construction and property development, and has developed a strong and broad range of networks. She understands firsthand the professional benefits of networking and hopes to foster a collegial environment to strengthen and grow the extractive industry.

“What we saw in the room at the Women in Quarrying conference was that for the vast majority of people, it was the first IQA event they’d been to,” Fahey said. “That’s so powerful because they’ve now taken that first step into networking and/or education that people may not have otherwise taken.

“That’s what the Women in Quarrying and Young Members chapters within the IQA are doing – they’re encouraging people to take that first step and then hopefully they can continue to engage with the richness and depth of what the IQA offers.”

Fahey said that in addition to her first formal appearance at the WA Women in Quarrying conference, she was already talking with the IQA’s other branch and sub-branch chairs and administrators about what the Institute can do to improve services to members at the branch level. She added she is also looking forward to attending more local events to meet with members.

“I’m very excited to be in the role,” Fahey said. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of meeting with and listening to as many members and stakeholders, and people in the industry as I can, and making sure that the educational products and networking events are as targeted as they need to be to support the industry.”

Kylie Fahey can be contacted at the IQA via email.

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