The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) has a long and proud history of professional development for its members, through education, training and the sharing of best practice. From our establishment in 1917, our core purpose has been to develop competent and capable professionals and support individuals throughout their career.
As members, we can look back with pride in recognizing that our Institute was at the forefront of delivering industry-relevant education and skills – from the very early days with the professional exam for membership evolving into the distance learning DAPS course, to the present day at the Centre for Mineral Products. These were not just innovations for our sector, but also represented innovation in the delivery of learning.
Today, we are all familiar with the concept of competence – the need to not only develop knowledge and skills but also the time and experience in which you learn to apply them. Long before it became a common phrase, the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ has always been encouraged by the Institute. The combination of core qualifications and training courses with technical updates provided via our branch networks has allowed members to maintain and develop continuing professional development.
IQ has shown its resilience during the pandemic as we have been able to continuously offer support to members and the sector. As President, I am proud to say that during 2020, not only did we carry on delivering core education through the Centre for Mineral Products, but we have invested in reviewing and upgrading our materials to ensure they continue to meet the needs of learners in the future.
In some of my previous columns, I’ve mentioned that the next few years potentially represent a shift in the way we work. The revolution in technology and digital advances provide new opportunities but also the need to develop new skills. As a sector, we must work together to ensure that we have the best standards and delivery routes in place to deliver the next generation of talent for our sector.
I am pleased to say that in partnership with employers and other industry bodies, the IQ has been working towards the development of a minerals sector education and skills board. The purpose of the board will be to set a clear direction for our sector and ensure we align our efforts to deliver the best possible outcomes.
This board will be able to align the sector with the Government policy ‘Build Back Better’, the UK plan for growth through infrastructure, skills and innovation that will level-up every part of the UK and enable the transition to net-zero emissions. Through this board we will be able to ensure the learning pathways can be developed to support the jobs of the future.
There will be more to come from this new board over the coming year. Look out for further announcements and information about how it will support the industry.
At the Institute, we will continue to develop materials both for the UK and the international marketplace as part of our charitable objectives. Whilst the last year has been challenging for all of us, there are many reasons for the sector and our profession to be optimistic for the future.
The IQ must continue to deliver innovative solutions for our education and skills pathways as a continuation of those set out by the founding members of our organization.