Kylie Fahey, chief executive at The Institute Of Quarrying Australia, and its president Shane Braddy, spoke online to the 2021 QuarryNZ conference. This is a precis of Kylie’s presentation.
What I want to talk about now is the professional development journey that we have been on and some of the changes we have put in place for the IQA and then equally what are we looking ahead to with our strategic direction and strategic plan.
We have set a goal to be the education provider of choice for the extraction and associated industries. In doing that it is quite simple, we want the phone to ring. We want to be top of mind if people are thinking of training their teams and their people … call the IQA and look to us first for professional development be it technical skills or soft skills.
The past 18 months
We obviously responded to Covid and implemented checklists to ensure that sites could continue to operate safely and continue to meet the requirements of the state and territory regulators.
We also developed a very extensive silica programme. We responded by working with all the state and territory regulators against their timelines for implementation and the requirements for safety inductions, requirements for health screening, and we’ve got a very extensive programme in place.
We have shared that with IOQ president Dean Torstonson and I believe that will be available across New Zealand and that’s an essence of what we are trying to do with our relationship with you – that is share and collaborate content.
We’ve also updated all our technical content, and these are topics like slope stability, the mandatory learning from disasters programming in New South Wales, quarry products technical training and safety management.
We’ve got two fully online courses for incident investigation and risk management, and we’ve got several facts sheets such as toolbox talks freely available on the IQA website.
One of the key programmes that we are just in the process of rolling out is the Supervising for Safety workshop. This workshop has been developed on the back of a review of fatalities in the Queensland mining industry from 2000-2019.
The two areas that were paid particular attention to was that of training and supervision. So, this new programme is really focused on supporting supervisors to supervise for a safety outcome. It’s getting great feedback at the moment and we are very happy to share and make available in New Zealand.
Another thing we did in Australia was revised our quarry manager certification system for continuing professional development. Essentially the message for everyone in New Zealand is that all our programmes carry CPD points and align to your framework. You can access our courses at member rates and have the CPD points applied accordingly.
One of the key areas is our work with all our state and territory regulators. We have six states and two territories we must manage and ensure our training is aligned to the legislation appropriately in each state.
An example recently was in NSW where there was an incident with electrical safety. We responded by working with the regulator on some of the gaps they were observing and delivering training that was well attended by the state. That’s the sort of activity we are doing right across the country to ensure the training is timely, topical and relevant to what is happening on the ground.
An area of concept development we are currently working on is the complete review and revamping of our plant and equipment training. It’s such a critical area for our industry and we are making sure that we are not trying to step into the technical expertise of manufactures but the human interaction of the plant and equipment and accountabilities under the legislation.
There will be lots of sharing opportunities with Dean and the team in New Zealand and once that is released, we are hoping we can get some learnings between the two institutes on how to improve that content because it’s obviously, such a key area.
Another area that is currently under development is legislation training for all states. And while the legislation between our two countries might be slightly different what we are developing is a sound framework of how to train to ensure people are understanding the legislation and can align their accountabilities and responsibilities accordingly.
We are also working in a couple of states where they are still practising exams, we currently have material on that so again there are opportunities to share frameworks between our two countries.
There will be further work on segmentation for our training as well. An area we have just released is key account management training for the business development managers, sales management and those types of roles that service and support our industry. Again, a great opportunity for the two countries.
We’ve also revamped our ‘introduction to quarrying material’ and this is a fantastic introduction for staff and anyone that is new to the business, or working back or front of house who needs to be brought up to speed with the quarrying industry.
Another exciting project underway over the next six months is market research to assist us to identify and prioritise the needs of the industry and ensure we are delivering services and products that are highly targeted and relevant.
We will be undertaking qualitative and quantitative research for people that are currently engaged in this, but a key focus of what we will be doing is trying to identify where and how we can better service people that aren’t at the table.
One of our objectives is to encourage people who aren’t currently members, or attending institute events, to get involved and to ensure we’ve got services and products to meet their needs.
It will certainly be another opportunity to share our findings and the framework and types of questions we are asking industry and we look forward to the participation by our New Zealand members in that process.
In addition to this market research, we are very committed to ensuring that our systems are automated and that our processes as an institute are as professional as possible.
We have been collaborating with Katrina on the new development of the NZ website, which is exciting, and we are looking to do similar levels of efficiency around projects such as developing a CRM, ensuring that we are automated and can be as targeted and professional as we can be.
Membership and recruiting
We’ve done a lot of work in terms of membership and trying to increase the value proposition for members.
We all know we need to attract a younger demographic into our industry, and we are all striving to increase the diversity profile of our workforces and members.
A few things we have done to start this journey is two constitutional changes in the last two AGMs and now all of our members have equal voting rights. All grades also have the right to join the board and the right to use post-nominals – from our students right through to honorary fellows. So, now there is equity across the grades.
We have also been working hard on aligning the grades of memberships to the requirements of the roles in Australia as they currently stand. What we see in Australia is that different states have different competency requirements for our quarry managers. Some states require a diploma where other states don’t.
So, we’ve analysed all of that and looked at the role requirement for different grades and aligned it accordingly. That’s being met with lots of positive feedback and we are slowly aligning people into the correct grades.
We are also working really hard on attraction and retention and have a target – if we lose a member we have to find one and a half. And while it might be difficult to find half a person it’s the intent that we must constantly strive to be seeking new members and identifying increased value for our customers, our members and certainly our suppliers.
In doing this it is about working with the independent quarries, working with the larger independent groups, and certainly the majors and the value we provide to our sponsor s and suppliers. Without the support of our sponsors and partners the IQA couldn’t do what it is able to do for its members.
Hands across the Tasman
I want to thank Dean Torstonson for the openness and support he has provided over the past 12 months.
It started with a fortnightly catch up on a Friday and those conversations evolved into an open dialogue, and we’ve come up with
several idea that we can collaborate and support each other on. A sincere thanks to you and your team, Dean, for initiating what has become a truly valued support and collaboration across the two institutes.
We will continue this sharing of ideas and processes and the spirit is about – ‘let’s do it once and do it well’. Let’s not duplicate if we don’t have to. We want to be able to provide as much value for New Zealand members as we can by recognising your membership and giving you the same rates at our events.
And I think that as we continue to share these ideas and collaborate it will be amazing what we can come up with to ensure we are relevant and sustainable for our relative industries.