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MPQC hosts inaugural BIG Event

MPQC BIG Event mobile plant simulator

MP House hosts first showcase event for new products and initiatives developed by MPQC and its divisions

ON 29 November, MPQC hosted its inaugural BIG Event at MP House, which served as a showcase for new products and initiatives developed by MPQC and its divisions – MP Skills, MP Awards and MP Futures.

The 70 people in attendance were treated to complimentary tote bags, canapes and networking opportunities, whilst the ground floor of MP House was remodelled to accommodate seven external exhibitors – The Institute of Quarrying, Mineral Products Association (MPA), British Aggregates Association (BAA), IEMA, EPC-UK, The University of Derby and Career Map.

MPQC’s mobile plant simulators proved the most popular attraction with all four in constant use throughout the three-hour event. As fun as they are, however, the mobile plant simulators have a serious use in helping to train new plant operators and improving the fuel efficiency of experienced operators.

Keeping the virtual theme going, EPC-UK brought their Virtual Blast simulator to the proceedings. A combination of Virtual Reality and the real world, Augmented Reality (AR) takes the form of live video imagery enhanced with computer-generated graphics, immersing the user in a specific environment, such as a quarry, whilst a blast is being conducted.

MP Skills showed off their impressive new range of courses via mini taster sessions, including talks focusing on getting the best from your people, driver behaviour, induction & toolbox talks, and contractor management. Each taster had CPD credit attached to it, which attendees could redeem using the MPQC App.

Elsewhere MP Skills staff partnered with The University of Derby, to answer questions from the industry at the Apprenticeship Surgery, and with the Institute of Quarrying (IQ), as it showed off the new course finder which is built upon the IQ Skills Wheel.

Not to be outdone, MP Awards held consultations on the MPQC Blast Operator Competency Scheme, as well as showing off its brand-new video.

Completing the trinity, MP Futures brought its Minerals Matter project to the party. Launched in September 2017, Minerals Matter is an initiative designed to allow all employers in the sector to engage with local young people and show the range of diverse and engaging careers on offer in the industry.

‘I really enjoyed the simulators and seeing how real they are,’ said Peter Kay, head of learning development at Tarmac. ‘I’ve just watched my colleague fire a virtual blast too, which is the first time she’s ever done something like that.

‘It’s really interesting to see the variety of activities that go on at MPQC and that’s all captured here, so I’ve really enjoyed it.’

Sarah-Jane Oates, partnerships and development officer at IEMA, was equally enthusiastic: ‘There have been lots of interesting stands and things to see, and it’s been nice to come and showcase what we at IEMA do.

‘It’s good to get out there and talk to people and explain what they can get involved with and what training they can access. It’s great to get involved in these things.’

Finally, MPQC’s chief executive officer, John Wilkinson, offered his take on the proceedings: ‘The BIG Event was the first instance of a co-ordinated strategy of going out to industry and showcasing all the good that MPQC provides its members.

‘I’m delighted the event was so well supported by both our partner organizations and our members, and I hope it’s sparked some fantastic conversations as a result. MPQC, in addition to everything else it offers, represents an impartial space for industry to meet on an equal footing.’

Watch MPQC’s BIG Event highlights video by clicking here.

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