Untapped resources – including recognition of diversity and recruitment and retention of talented staff – will be the focus of the IQA’s annual Women in Quarrying conference agenda this year.
The Institute of Quarrying Australia will host the year’s first Women in Quarrying (WIQ) event in Queensland on Thursday 26 March 2020 at the Glen Hotel, Eight Mile Plains, in Brisbane, the site of the inaugural conference in 2017. WIQ conferences will follow in Perth, Western Australia, on 22 May and Adelaide, South Australia, on 10 July.
About 100 delegates are expected to attend next month’s Queensland conference, including men and women from the quarrying and extractive industries, mid-senior management and frontline workers.
This year’s theme – “Untapped resources” – aims to recognise diversity within the quarrying industry, as well as an increasing need for different approaches to workforce development.
“I’m pretty excited about the theme this year,” IQA CEO Kylie Fahey said. “It’s about looking broader than women in quarrying, and recognising the diversity in our industry, and the growing need to address diversity and ensure we are taking steps to have as diverse teams as possible.
“We recognise that as a business, there are always challenges in attracting and retaining talent, so by trying to look at workforce development and what that means, we can ask how we tap into some of the resources that may be sitting in front of us and we’ve never viewed before.”
Fahey said that could include putting frontline staff members through leadership programs or looking at communities to determine where future workers could be sourced.
“That’s what that untapped resource theme is about. It’s about looking at our workforce and the challenges of our workforces differently and seeing how we can further our talent and developing and bring our teams together in different ways. That’s quite exciting.”
A new level of thinking
Fahey said the WIQ program is becoming more refined each year, with co-ordinators bringing leadership to the discussions. The Queensland draft program features Alex Fraser Group to discuss waste management and its integration with quarries.
“The discussion is lending itself to ensuring we are considering diversity and looking at what the key things are that the industry needs to be discussing, and we have the key speakers on those topics,” Fahey added.
“There will be people that attend this event that may not necessarily go to an IQA branch event or an IQA conference – and so it’s exposing them to a level of thinking and exposing them to a network and hopefully that sparks something for their role and what they can then contribute back into their workplaces.
“The WIQ network has done that very well and will build on that. We’re very keen to expand beyond that concept of women in quarrying because it is about the whole of the industry and making sure that we are looking quite broadly at our workforce and its diversity.”
The inaugural WIQ conference was held in 2017. Through the WIQ network, the IQA has engaged hundreds of people to participate in networking and educational events for the first time. It has also provided leadership opportunities for people to be engaged as speakers and on committees, and profiled career opportunities and leaders in the industry.
The 2020 conference aims to build on this success and specifically address how to harness one of the industry’s untapped resources – people.
This year the IQA will work with the WIQ network to look at the overall diversity of the quarrying industry, encourage younger people to engage, and look at ways of promoting rewarding career paths within the industry.
The Queensland conference on 26 March is being supported by Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, GroundProbe, Mindworx and Komatsu Australia, and each of these companies will supply presenters. Angela Derks, the managing director of Derks Institute of Health, and an expert in wellness, strategic advice, management, business mentoring and preventative solutions, will also be present, and there will be a panel discussion featuring WIQ stalwarts Michelle Connelly, Michelle Germanotta, Michelle Pawluck and Kelly Hurle.
To register for the IQA’s Women in Quarrying conferences, click on the links below: