Planning for the next phase of industry progression, growth

In July, I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 QuarryNZ conference in Invercargill, New Zealand. The Institute of Quarrying New Zealand and the Aggregate and Quarry Association jointly hold this event.

Apart from being impressed by the record number of delegates (more than 600), I was interested – and have been so for a number of years – in seeing the progression and growth in maturity of the New Zealand quarrying industry.

Many might attribute this progression to the changes to competency requirements in New Zealand delivered by WorkSafe (the safety regulator) since 2015. While this has certainly sparked the involvement of the industry in continuing professional development, this has in turn started more conversations about the industry, particularly in relation to its image and influence on policy and legislation.

A lot of the conversation at the conference was around these key strategic issues and responding to concerns about generational gaps and what the future of the industry will look like.

These issues are also shared within the quarrying and construction materials industry in Australia and I have previously shared my thoughts on some of these in my President’s columns throughout 2018 and 2019.

{{quote-A:R-W:175-Q:"We are seeing a changing regulatory environment that is being driven by safety expectations"}}We are seeing a changing regulatory environment in relation to competency and experience that is being driven by safety performance and expectations (not only from the regulator but also the community and ourselves).

This is expected to continue to change across the country through the various jurisdictions.

The impact of these changes into the future is anticipated to add pressure to the labour market and available
resources for key positions within the industry. The question is whether we can have enough foresight to be ready for these changes and respond either with sufficient time beforehand or quickly enough once they happen.

The IQA is soon to review its strategic plan and look to ensure we are supporting our members and the broader industry in planning for what the future will bring, particularly in relation to competency and experience requirements.

It is also an opportunity for the current IQA Board and executive to review what has worked well and to create new and engaging strategies consistent with the IQA’s vision.

While membership and member services will always be important from a strategic point of view for a membership-based industry organisation like ours, diversity and inclusion will also be an important focus for the Institute. This focus will expand on our initiatives such as the Women in Quarrying and Young Member Networks in response to the feedback and needs of the industry.

Creating relevant and valuable opportunities for all people within the industry, whether that be through training or networking, I suggest will still be at the forefront of any plan. It’s an exciting time for the IQA and the industry, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the continued success of the organisation in the years to come. Have a safe and productive month ahead.

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