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LEEA goes to parliament

The lifting Industry congregated at the Palace of Westminster in London on 17 July 2019 for a Parliamentary Reception – hosted by Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, on behalf of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA).

Welcoming 170 reception guests to the Palace, Djanogly said: “I am pleased to help LEEA recognise and celebrate its 75th year. I don’t believe that there can be many trade associations, which continue to grow 75 years into their existence. On my initial visit to the LEEA training centre I was struck by the fact that my constituency was the centre of the global Lifting Industry.

“I certainly hope that this is the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between LEEA and myself. For MPs, it is important to ensure that we stay engaged with the real world economy. As I look to the projects and solutions which are being introduced today, I see a strong future for LEEA and I hope to assist you and your Association moving forward.”

Paul Fulcher – Chairman of LEEA, thanked Jonathan Djanogly for hosting this reception and, on behalf of the Board, thanked guests for their support.

“A 75th anniversary is no mean feat, and for a trade association such as ours it is worth highlighting how far we have come,” he said. “On 3 June 1944, nine people from eight companies met in East London to discuss their common concerns and how they might work together to address them. Over the intervening years our association has changed its geographical focus from London to Great Britain to being the global organisation we are now.”

He continued: “Our association exists to raise standards in our industry, but also in the supply chains we serve. We show our LEEA membership with pride.  It is evidence that we are keeping the highest standards, that we have a determination to further improve, that we treat our people as our colleagues, that we invest in skills as much as technology, and of course it means that we have survived the LEEA audit!”

Fulcher introduced Karen McDonnell. A key figure in the Occupational Safety World, Karen is working now as a policy adviser to RoSPA (Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents), and is a past president of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

McDonnell addressed the on-going, and not yet won, battle to raise standards and safety. She said: “Safety is not a battle that has been won. Actually it’s an on-going battle and one that continues to require our focus – not only in the UK but also globally.” Faced with challenges of emerging markets, new technologies, McDonnell highlighted the importance of industry leadership.

Next was Ross Moloney, CEO of LEEA to explain the philosophy underpinning the association’s anniversary celebrations’ legacy projects: Think Lifting, the LEEA Apprenticeship and the 75:75 military transition project. “The common theme of these legacy projects being: where is the next generation of the workforce going to come from?” he said.

Introducing the Think Lifting Programme, Guy Harris, publisher and director of LHI and LHA magazines, said: “I speak today as a partner, working with LEEA to deliver an impact that we believe is needed in the Lifting Industry,” he said. “I’m sure that many in the room today will have worried about recruitment and where the next generation of the workforce is going to come from. It was this in mind that Ross Moloney and I have begun to identify and address our aim.”

He continued: “Our aim is simple: to attract more young people into the sector – to reach out to them and show the opportunities and the careers within our amazing, vibrant, diverse and forward-looking industry. Think Lifting has a simple idea at its heart. The lifting industry is hidden from view.  We want to showcase to young people and their teachers who we are and what we do.  This will generate interest among the next generation.

“The aim is to create a suite of classroom materials, interesting films and leave-behinds such that local LEEA members can build relationships with local schools and youth groups. LEEA is working with LHI a to develop two films, which introduce pre-option young people to the industry. We are also working with a secondary school to develop experiments and material, which delivers the curriculum in a way that brings the industry to the fore. The suite of products will be ready for collection at LiftEx 2019 in November.”

Members with interesting work on-going that the team can film are invited to contact LEEA to arrange a site visit. Any members wishing to sign up to get involved in taking the Think Lifting project out to local schools should also get in contact.

With interest generated by Think lifting, it will be apprenticeship that provides the entry into to the Lifting Sector. So next to speak was Sarah Walker, who is the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IfATE) relationship lead, supporting the development of the LEEA Apprenticeship. Walker briefed the audience on apprenticeships in general, details of the LEEA Apprenticeship and what employers can now do. “The IfATE is clearly always grateful when employers come together to create a Standard,” she said.

Explaining the value of the 75:75 military transition project, Warrant Officer Matt Chapman, from the REME Association Job Agency, explained: “Leaving the forces can be a challenging experience. People leave with an enormous set of skills but maybe also with a few gaps, which they believe are insurmountable. Some of their experience is particularly relevant for the lifting equipment industry, making them good candidates for the civilian workforce in a range of roles and across the country. While they might have different technical skills, they have a common employability and I commend them to you.

“So I am thrilled to be working with LEEA on its 75:75 project. LEEA is committed to deliver 75 free training places to veterans or those soon to leave the service. Some of these are already being delivered and we are organising more. Also, LEEA is committed to delivering 75 work placements through its network of members. These work placements are for the member to decide, but we hope that they might be something like 2-days, where the individual can get a chance to understand the industry and the business. There is no imperative to offer an interview or a job. This is a chance for my guys to get a sight of what options they might have.”

Richard Money, vice chair of LEEA, then thanked the hosts, speakers and guests once more on behalf of the board to bring the reception to a close.

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