New IQA Deputy President Sarah Bellman sat down with Quarry to discuss her new role and what she sees in the industry’s future.
Having grown up on a farm near a bluestone quarry in South Australia, Sarah Bellman has long been familiar with the extractive industry.
As the new IQA Deputy President, she is well positioned to see it continue to thrive into the future.
What does your role consist of?
The Deputy President acts as President when the President is absent, and may exercise and perform all the powers, authorities, duties and functions of the President.
The exciting part of being both a director on the board and Deputy President is being able to build upon the IQA’s strong history through setting a dynamic strategic plan with the leadership group that will ensure our members will be at the forefront of megatrends and challenges, so they are enabled to achieve their ultimate goals.
What skills and experiences
do you bring to this role?
I work for Hanson Construction Materials and oversee over 40 operations across regional Victoria and Tasmania, including eight quarries comprising of both sand and hard rock.
I hold a degree in mechanical engineering and a degree in management; however, the most common skills drawn upon throughout my career have been problem-solving, thinking critically, setting and delivering sound progressive strategy, building solutions to unique needs, and developing high-performing teams.
I have worked across different industries, including the defence sector, but found my passion in extractives. That passion has led me to extractives advocacy, including being chair for the Cement, Concretes and Aggregates Association (CCAA) and coordinator of Women in Quarrying, and being on the Mining, Energy Advisory Committee to the South Australian Minister for Mining and Energy.
I am very passionate about employees being the best that they can be through tailored, relevant and progressive training, and building diversity within our industry such that it reflects the communities that we operate within.
I am also very passionate about transforming sites to achieve leading best practice and ensuring operations and teams are striving for sustainable solutions.
From driving a 777 dump truck to designing shots to leading large teams – there are so many experiences that all drive my collective passion to think outside the box and contribute to the future of the IQA.
In saying that, the IQA has a long, proud history that I am privileged to carry forward. Customs, traditions and legacy are the foundation.
How long have you worked in the industry?
I have worked in the quarrying and mining industry across three states since 2008.
I grew up on a farm that was located near a small bluestone quarry in South Australia, so from an early age I developed an appreciation for the importance of working well and consistently with your neighbours and community.
I remember riding my pony out past the quarry, and without mobiles phones back then we could set our watch to the blast time.
What direction do you see the IQA taking in the near future?
We have seen significant change over the past three years across the world, which has accelerated pivotal developments in technology – connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), sustainability (circular solutions, CO2 reduction, alternate fuels and resources) and construction (new products, supply versus demand).
The IQA will be several steps ahead of these developments to ensure our members have the relevant training available at the right time to maximise the opportunities and challenges that they present.
The IQA will be maximising the use of new technology to ensure training can be seamlessly accessed and customised to members learning needs.
How has the IQA helped you previously?
I remember completing my first IQA training course in 2008, ‘Introduction to quarrying’. I was so inspired and motivated to learn more about the industry.
Being new to the industry, I loved attending the site tours and networking; I have met people who are lifelong connections and friends.
I have always felt supported within the IQA network; we all share the same passion for quarrying and we are excited to see our peers develop and grow.
How beneficial are the education programs offered by the IQA?
The training has always been available and suited to my needs as I have grown within the industry.
As an employer, I now get great pleasure in aligning my employees’ development plans with the training scale from the IQA. I have absolute trust that my employees will be trained to the highest standard and will walk away with the skills and support necessary to achieve their goals.
The IQA works closely with the regulators to translate any changes into the training packages.
How is the Learning Education Framework going to benefit outcomes in the quarrying industry?
The education framework links training needs to members by their role type and skill level. It highlights all of the courses available at each stage of their career or area of interest, including safety, productivity, regulation, community and more.
It will make it easy for members to ensure they are progressing through the relevant training and staying at the forefront of industry in terms of competency.
What difficulties facing the quarrying industry would like to see improved?
One of the biggest challenges in 2023 across most industries is workforce shortages. This highlights the need to increase the diversity within our workforce, which will require increasing attraction and awareness to those who have never been in the quarrying sector. We will need to look at creating more pathways for entry such as traineeships.
Areas that are at the forefront of conversation are sustainability, community engagement, circular products, alternate fuels, rehabilitation, psychosocial hazards and geotechnical stability. Training in these areas will be essential.