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Diploma students celebrate their graduation.
Diploma students celebrate their graduation.
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Students in the Victorian limelight

Over 90 Victorian branch members, other industry representatives, students and their families convened on the evening of 19 April, 2012 for the Victorian IQA branch’s annual Student Presentation Night.
The night acknowledges the achievements of 22 quarry professionals who had successfully completed courses at Box Hill Institute of TAFE in 2011 towards the Certificate IV in Surface Extraction Operation, Diploma of Surface Operations Management and the Advanced Diploma of Extractive Industry Management.

Allan Beacom of WorkSafe Victoria 
presented the 11 Certificate IV students with their certificates and John Mitas of the Victorian Department of Primary Industries similarly conferred honours for the 10 Diploma students. Damian Eastman was also officially presented with his Advanced Diploma of Extractive Industries Management. Both Jessica Murty and Ian Walsh, representing the Certificate IV and Diploma students respectively, spoke briefly on behalf of their peers.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Vivienne Barrett, team leader for emotional intelligence at Synergy Global, which provides organisational development consulting and coaching for individuals, leaders and teams to focus on strategic priorities and improve their leadership credentials.

Barrett explained that emotional intelligence (EI) is a set of skills that relate to the way we perceive, understand, reason with and manage our own and others’ emotions effectively in the workplace. It also requires the individual to be more in tune with their self-awareness, ie their own moods and feelings and how these may impact and influence others in the workplace. She added that people are more effective when they can understand how EI affects the team and know how to deal with the emotions appropriately. To emphasise these points, she conducted an exercise with her audience, in which she asked all the guests to describe on paper what they felt in their best and worst moods and to sum up in one sentence what they were like in their engagement with others.

The after dinner speaker was Martin Halliday, the 2011 Alex Northover Award recipient and a production manager at Holcim’s Oaklands Junction quarry. He spoke about the award, which is presented annually to a Certificate IV or Diploma student that provides the best portfolio of evidence to a registered training organisation, and encouraged all young IQA members to enter. He also reflected on how he came to be in the quarry industry and indeed where he stands in life today, saying that quarrying offers plenty of opportunities to “those who want it”. He said the most unique thing that the industry had to offer was its strong analytical ties and “in-depth analysis of environmental considerations, OHS, resource management, community engagement, policy planning and process, contractor management, engineering, etc ...” This, he said, all correlates to the current day role of the graduate.

Martin also speculated on the future of the quarry industry, remarking that in just 50 years, quarry operations have gone from using hand-held techniques and primitive forms of transportation to state of the art plant and equipment and automated techniques. He said it was the responsibility of “my generation and all the graduates” to drive the industry forward. He predicted that the quarry industry would be required to respond to questions of sustainability and community benefit, eg what energy sources would be required to run vehicles and machines? How would fixed and variable costs be maintained at a level so that infrastructure projects can afford quarry products? Should a totally different system be developed to replace the current method of extracting material in one spot and transporting to another? How will the public at large perceive the industry?

Martin also predicted that multiple quarry companies would develop productive partnerships with sub-contractors to ensure operations are sustainable. He cited how Qantas and Jetstar are experimenting with biofuels (including vegetable jet fuel) to cut their carbon footprint (he joked that perhaps one day dump trucks may end up smelling like “the local fish and chip shop”!) and that liquid natural gas is being trialled in road trucks in the USA, potentially cutting fuel costs by $US20,000 for a truck travelling a typical haul distance of 161,000 kilometres. He also questioned where the “legislative security” is for the resources of tomorrow.

He closed by saying that through speculating on the future, graduates today can become more active in the Institute’s activities and more engaged and invested in the future of the industry.

The night closed with students and their families celebrating their achievements and networking with IQA members and other industry representatives.

The Victorian branch’s next meeting is a technical night on 22 May. For more information, contact the Victorian branch secretariat, tel 8637 4723 or email vic-secretary@quarry.com.au









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