The 10-year musings of a quarry “veteran”

It’s often said that a week is a “long time” in politics. In journalism and publishing, a “long time” is probably more like aeons – especially in a profession that is consolidating and modernising, and people spend a few years at a time in one specific role.

Combine that time in the media with quarrying, and there’s good reason to joke that a “long time” is the equivalent of a geological age!

So, if you’ll permit a little “self-indulgence”, this month marks 10 years since I commenced as editor of Quarry.

Back then, the IQA’s President was Dugald Gray and the Institute had barely embarked upon the ambitious continuing professional development program that it has implemented in recent years.

In fact, I’ve outlived four Prime Ministers in a decade (five, if you count Kevin Rudd twice!).

Although I commenced in May 2008, my first issue appeared the following month (Quarry 16:6, June 2008) – and my first editorial was titled (with tongue in cheek) “Confessions of a quarry ‘virgin’”.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-Q:"In a decade I've outlived four prime ministers – five if you count Kevin Rudd twice!"}}Re-reading it now, the writing is clunky, but my core point is as relevant as ever.

I may certainly have been a novice in my understanding of the technical aspects of the extractive industry but I was confident that I could get up to speed with the issues and the “lingo”.

I was also correct in saying that the quarrying industry had the same challenges and opportunities of other industries.

For example, I wrote about the national skills shortage and the competition between the quarrying and mining industries for young workers and industry veterans. I also posed some “age-old” questions:

“How does an industry, in conjunction with [tertiary and vocational education providers], make itself a viable and attractive career option to young people? How does it encourage dour veterans to consider a change late in their careers or to enhance their professional development?”

Those questions today have in part been answered.

In the past 10 years, the IQA and the industry have done a lot of groundwork to engage with younger, female and older workers alike, and to improve their education and skillsets. The industry should be rightfully proud.

Some of the recruitment and mentoring challenges remain as current as ever but I think the industry is better organised to address those matters and build for the future.

Of course, I wouldn’t be talking about this “milestone” without the support over the years of the Quarry editorial, sales and graphic design teams (whose names are too numerous to credit on this page) – nor the enthusiasm and dedication of industry members who have contributed to the magazine or worked with me on numerous stories.

Quarry is a true team effort, and it’s a great privilege to be associated with it.

I ended my first editorial 10 years ago by remarking that taking on a new role was a bit like taking a sky dive – ie taking a monumental step into the unknown – but that I was looking forward to the plunge!

Well, it’s been a “plunge” I won’t ever regret!

Quarrying has been a great industry to be associated with – and I’ve met (and still liaise with) many fantastic people! It’s been an honour to work with so many of you to this day – and beyond …

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