First published in the January 2024 issue of Quarry Management
Building networks and being part of a community of recognized professionals
The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) was founded more than 100 years ago by four people with a vision for the mineral products industry. They wanted the industry to come together to raise standards, share knowledge, and be recognized as highly skilled professionals which are the principles that still guide the IQ today.
Our role as a membership organization is to build networks and to collaborate across the industry so that individuals can achieve their career potential. Being an IQ member means support for you at all stages of your career by providing you with industry guidance, advice, and access to continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to maintain your skills and knowledge.
Members often find that they gain additional value from their membership through building their own networks and being part of a global community of recognized professionals.
IQ Branch network connects people
At the heart of the IQ is a vibrant community of quarrying professionals and it is the regional branch network that connects people.
Spread across the UK, IQ’s regional branch network extends from Cornwall to Scotland. The 13 branches cover Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Lancashire, London and the Home Counties, Midlands, North of England, North Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Wales, West of England, West Midlands, and Yorkshire.
Run entirely by passionate volunteers, IQ’s branch network is a major benefit to members, bringing people together from across the industry to share knowledge, network, and socialise. Regularly attending branch events allows members to extend and build professional contacts that will support them throughout their career.
Branches organize many events on behalf of local members. Typically, branches organize a mix of events from technical presentations to dinner dances and health and safety conferences to sporting or social activities. Topics discussed vary but are always driven by innovation and improving operational performance. Over the last year, presentations have covered health and safety, including mental health; blast design; and environmental topics such as decarbonization, the net-zero agenda, and restoration schemes.
Coming out of the pandemic, all branches re-evaluated how they deliver their event programmes. Event programmes increasingly utilize technology to ensure that more members can access and engage with important industry topics. However, it was the isolation during the Covid years that has really underlined the value of face-to-face events. Now, all branches are reporting a healthy return to numbers of people attending events in person.
Finding and registering for IQ events has never been easier
Members can find out what is happening across the IQ branch networks in several ways:
Website – www.quarrying.org/iq-upcomingevents
The events page lists all upcoming events across the regions and can be filtered by date, region, type of event, and even event format if only looking for online or face-to-face events. Registration is via a short form on the page.
Member emails – weekly emails sent with news, events, and other updates
There has been an important evolution in how email communications are delivered by IQ. Event emails are now split into regions when it comes to both national and local communications to make it easier to find the events closest to you. If you are not receiving emails, please contact us to ensure you do not miss out on future event communications.
IQ Connect – the app for IQ members
The IQ Connect app continues to offer a convenient platform for members to connect with the Institute and access resources. When you are connected to the app as a member, visit the ‘Upcoming IQ Events’ menu item and from here you can register your attendance with just one click.
Early in 2024 members will experience a new, modernized version of the app. The layout will be streamlined and cleaner, making the app more accessible than ever. The app still includes all the features that members have grown to love, including dedicated industry resources, learning modules, webinar recordings, and more.
LinkedIn – follow to keep up to date with all IQ activities
IQ members are encouraged to follow IQ on LinkedIn for additional news and updates.
Regardless of where you learn about upcoming branch events, when you register to attend you will be sent an event reminder via email with a calendar link.
Sarah Fry, IQ’s head of membership and marketing, explains: ‘As the body representing professional development in our industry, we need to remain connected to our membership and the regional branches do just that, as well as providing a fantastic contact point for our members in each region. Our role is to support our branches and volunteers, whilst finding new ways to engage members with content that’s meaningful and relevant.
‘We are working with our branches to deliver event formats that leverage the strength of experience we have within the branches to develop valuable content for members whilst making the best use of technology and communication channels so that the content is easily accessible. The wider context for this approach is that IQ is evolving and trying new approaches to ultimately attract more people into membership.’
Other reasons to attend IQ branch events
If the informative content and personal networking is not enough to get you to attend an IQ branch event, consider your own CPD needs. A minimum of 30h CPD per year is a required element of IQ membership for TMIQ, MIQ and FIQ grades.
CPD helps you to demonstrate your competence as well as showing a personal commitment to your role through a desire to stay up to date with any developments that could impact on how you work. Adopting a CPD methodology supports you in reaching your career goals. It is also essential should you wish to go down the chartership path in the future.
CPD can be attained by regular attendance at branch events that are designed to improve your industry knowledge. As part of the registration process, your attendance at an event is automatically recorded as part of your CPD record. All you need to do is complete the reflection of what was learnt.
Want to get involved?
Branch events are a very visible demonstration about how they support IQ members. However, IQ branches also have an important role in the overall governance of the Institute.
Branches are run by volunteer members who organize the events, and each branch is run by a committee. The size and structure of the branch will determine how many people are on each committee but as a minimum there will be a chair, deputy chair and secretary. These are roles that regularly interact and liaise directly with IQ staff.
In addition, each branch provides a representative to sit on the IQ Council. The IQ Council of Members is made up of the 13 branch representatives, 16 members from across IQ, and key stakeholders from the industry. The role of the Council is to provide strategic and industry knowledge, supporting the IQ in developing its plans, making sure that the voice of the member is represented in decision making.
The opportunity to get involved with a local branch committee or the Council is open to all IQ members. Being an active member also provides a route through to the IQ Board of Trustees, the governing body responsible for guiding the future direction of IQ.
If you want to help support others across the industry, contact your local branch to get involved. Details can be found at: www.quarrying.org/iq-branches
James Thorne is IQ’s chief executive officer. He sees the branch network as the beating heart pumping out the lifeblood of the Institute to reach its growing membership. ‘As with all things in business, stand still and you die. But the IQ branch network has evolved over the years to adapt to the changing landscape of the sector. By their very presence in the region that each one serves, the branches provide a sense of collective belonging. Each focuses on issues that resonate with the region, which is why they are so important.
‘The value and rewards of being active in your local branch are huge. Take the time to get involved, you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn!’
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