Looking back at an eventful year

Looking back at an eventful year - image

Looking back at an eventful year

Ross Moloney, CEO of LEEA, looks back at another eventful year for the Association.

What a difference a year makes. The early part of 2022 saw the world beginning to release itself from the full clutches of the pandemic, yet the after effects meant that fully getting back to normal globally over the coming months often involved hurdles and another major challenge would soon be on its way.

For LEEA, the year began with the launch of the Level 3 Lifting Equipment Technician apprenticeship standard in England, which provides an answer to the long standing challenge of establishing a pathway for new recruits into the Lifting Industry.

This is the apprenticeship the lifting industry has been waiting for and one that will transform the way in which young – as well as the not so young – people are brought into, and developed in, the profession. Although the detail of the scheme is specific to England, the apprenticeships are based around a Standard which is intended to be of global applicability, and LEEA is talking to training regulators and providers in Wales and Scotland, where training is a devolved responsibility, as well as Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

In the UK, changes brought about by Brexit led to the introduction of UKCA marking, which created issues for the lifting sector. LEEA played a significant role in working constructively with government towards a solution to these issues and continues to enjoy a good relationship with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

An essential part of LEEA’s remit has always been – and will continue to be – to provide unbiased technical advice to its membership. We introduced the Technical Triage back in the Autumn of 2018 to manage and respond to technical queries. It has been an enormous success in contributing to fulfilling this remit by allowing any LEEA member in the world to send a technical query or question via email to a specific address: technicaladvice@leeaint.com. The Technical team providing the answers aims to deliver a final resolution to the question within 48 hours and logs all technical queries as well as monitoring the response time within technical services. This process also helps to identify and compile frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The commitment to raising global awareness of the challenges involved in working at height continues. Having streamed a Ports and Maritime webinar in 2021, LEEA continued throughout 2022 with an exciting series of free to view, sector-specific webinars that were held on Zoom. Sectors covered included Oil & Gas, Entertainment and Renewables. Delving into safety issues and best practice surrounding lifting that are specific to these sectors, the webinars were designed to start conversations between LEEA members and end users, particularly those further up the supply chain.


Training on another level

Another important part of reaching out to end users in 2022 came with the launch of the End User Guidance CPD (Continuous Professional Development) Course. Providing an essential insight to general legal responsibilities for lifting equipment owners and end users, it is suitable for Company Directors, Senior Managers and responsible persons where lifting equipment is used in the business.

This was just the first of a series of courses being launched on LEEA’s new Academy 2.0 platform. Developed in partnership with Nucleus Learning, the platform provides a truly global learning offering – accessible anywhere a student has an Internet connection and a web browser and with courses available in English, Simplified Chinese, Bahasa, Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese.

The new TEAM Card, which was rolled out in 2022 to enhance security, provide instantly verifiable data when required, will be instantly updated by the LEEA team when new qualifications are added.

We feel that it is particularly timely to be introducing the new Academy 2.0 along with a host of new courses in 2022. Watching the news it is hard to find optimism in the economic outlook for 2023. Having persevered through the difficulties caused by Covid, along came war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, which has created financial challenges for many LEEA members.

The Association is supporting members during these difficult times – for example, reducing training prices. We are confident that training plays an essential role in improving the excellence, productivity and safe practices of our members and makes a wise investment to place a company in pole position to reap the benefits when times of a more favourable economic climate. Lifting is always essential and markets are always developing. Take the energy sector, for instance. Small, modular nuclear power facilities, offshore wind and hydrogen developments present many opportunities for the Lifting Industry across the world.


Global awareness

It is becoming an established July tradition for the hashtag #GLAD2022 to spread across social media. The third annual Global Lifting Awareness Day 2022 took place on 7 July 2022, aimed at raising awareness of the importance that lifting has across all industries and in everyday lives. Contributions and messages were made by those with an interest in lifting around the world including, of course, and the Association’s packed schedule of new programme launches and informative presentations ran throughout GLAD. These can be viewed at LEEA’s YouTube channel and on our web site.

Winning the argument for high quality practices and equipment across the globe and in all supply chains, with members around the world united in the desire to make our industry safe is a core aim for the Association, along with being a truly global association. The Association make big steps in towards these aims in 2022 through initiatives that included cooperation with associations around the world, the development of its Regional Council model to devolve decisions to key local markets and a multilingual approach to operations and courses.

The growing momentum behind LEEA’s global approach will continue in 2023, with the Regional Council in Middle East taking the model proven by the success of the Regional Council model in Australia and New Zealand in 2022. There was also further collaboration with global associations and organisations as part of a unified approach to safety and excellence in lifting.

We are proud to be working with Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF) to create a Member Accreditation Programme. This initiative creates an exciting opportunity, where AWRF members can choose to go through an additional process that will see them being audited by LEEA.  Our two organisations are closely aligned, having worked together for some time with a shared common goal of raising standards. 


LEEA events return

The back to normal feeling certainly took hold when LEEA’s annual golf day returned in 2022 at the Hilton Puckrup Hall, Tewkesbury hotel, on the edge of the Cotswolds at the end of June. This ever-popular event with members was proudly sponsored and organised by LEEA member, REID Lifting Ltd.

And having had a standalone LEEA Awards return in November of 2021, it was particularly satisfying to see LEEA’s flagship event LiftEx resume better than ever, and back together with the 2022 Awards, during early October in Aberdeen. With an exhibition floor packed with major lifting suppliers it was the perfect opportunity for attendees from multiple markets to gain vital lifting related knowledge and insights, as well as an opportunity to meet LEEA members and discuss ways they can help achieve best lifting practice. The Learning Development sessions on Day Two of LiftEx, allowed visitors to top up their knowledge.

I was particularly proud to see the LiftEx Industry Careers Day on 6 October 2022, which we working closely with TechFest, a local specialist in the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to organise.  It gave senior pupils with an interest in learning more about the huge range of opportunities available to them in the lifting industry, and their teachers, the chance to engage with industry professionals, global companies and organisations. Plans for LiftEx 2023 in Liverpool are already underway.

The first evening of LiftEx saw the fourth annual LEEA Awards winners being announced during the ‘party of the year’ at the Awards Ceremony. The LEEA Awards continues to develop as a chance to give people, companies and colleagues who have made significant contributions to lifting standards in our industry the recognition they deserve. They play a vital role in promoting excellence to customers and supply chains around the world, as well as encouraging new recruits. I am pleased to say that we received an outstanding level of entries. Through rewarding the best of the best, the LEEA Awards broadcasts the positive signal that our industry is coming together to celebrate the raising of standards.

As the year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank exhibitors, award entrants, sponsors, our partners, the LEEA Team and the LEEA Board for achieving so much in 2022. We have exciting plans to continue the momentum. More about that at the beginning of 2023.

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