Industry-led initiative aims to future-proof the quarrying and mineral products sector
A CONSORTIUM of respected industry organizations and employers has taken a key role in leading a major project aimed at raising the profile of the sector and inspiring young people and adults to become the next generation of quarrying and mineral products professionals.
Future-proofing the sector’s ageing workforce and increasing educational pathways are industry imperatives. Minerals Matter is a co-ordinated cross-sector approach to address the key challenges the industry faces around diversity and the skills gap, promoting the positive contribution to the economy and efforts around decarbonization and the circular economy.
Minerals Matter aims to connect with a range of audiences, championing the diverse and inclusive career opportunities within the sector. It is taking the lead for the sector’s future skills by developing strategic partnerships, providing educational resources, and building a team of inspirational industry ambassadors, as well as delivering a programme of school outreach activities.
Emily Noble, future careers manager at Minerals Matter, said: ‘With over 10 million people in UK employment over the age of 50, equivalent to more than 30% of the workforce, it’s imperative that we connect with young people and adults to highlight the variety of career pathways within the sector.
‘As the UK’s largest manufacturing industry, quarrying and mineral products are essential to our everyday lives. Without them we wouldn’t have buildings, transport, technology, furniture. or everyday household items.
‘As part of Minerals Matter, we’re developing our team of industry ambassadors to support careers activity and experiential learning in all phases of education. We are also building a network of educational sites to facilitate visits, including the National Stone Centre in Derbyshire and the Somerset Earth Science Centre in the Mendips. It’s our mission to inspire the next generation – you can’t be what you can’t see.’
Sophie Eames is a young, enthusiastic Minerals Matter ambassador. The 20-year-old is currently in her final year at the University of Leeds studying BSc (Hons) Geology. Alongside her studies, Ms Eames has been on placement with Longcliffe, the UK's leading independent supplier of pure limestone powder, granules, and aggregates.
She commented: ‘Since starting my geology journey I have been interested in the extractives industry. I was eager to get a head start on my career in quarrying and am grateful that Longcliffe has opened its doors to me and trusted me with various activities. My favourite times are when I work on site in the quarry, helping with shot firing or doing inspections. I can honestly say I miss it when I go back to university.’
Viv Russell, CEO of the Mineral Products Qualifications Council, added: ‘Sophie is a prime example that if we can inspire the next generation and give them opportunities to engage with the industry, we can attract the talent that the sector needs to continue to be a vital part of the UK economy.’
Minerals Matter is a co-ordinated cross-sector initiative bringing together key bodies from across the industry, including the Institute of Quarrying (IQ), Minerals Products Qualifications Council (MPQC), Mineral Products Association (MPA), British Aggregates Association (BAA), and national and independent operators.