Global Lifting Awareness Day: Continuing the Conversation with Ross Moloney
Tuesday August 11, 2020
On the 9th July, Global Lifting Awareness Day, otherwise known as GLAD took place, which was created to spread awareness of the lifting industry and to bring together professionals from across the world to recognise the importance of high standards within the industry.
One of the key objectives of Global Lifting Awareness Day was to not only raise awareness of important lifting practices but to reach end-users who may otherwise be unfamiliar with the lifting industry. Raising awareness of best practises within such a vital industry must be continued year-round, which is why we spoke to Ross Moloney, Managing Director of LEEA, one of our partners and the world-leading trade association for the lifting industry.
We discussed everything from the biggest challenges facing the industry to how we can continue the momentum of GLAD year-round.
Q: Why is GLAD so important for the lifting industry?
A: One of the main issues concerning the industry is where the next generation of the lifting workforce will come from, and how to encourage younger people to get into the industry. In recent years, the lifting industry is often seen as a fall-back, with professionals either being born into the industry or turning to lifting as an alternative to another industry. Therefore, GLAD was created to raise awareness of the importance of the lifting industry and to inspire and encourage a high calibre of enthusiastic individuals to work in the lifting sector as a conscious career choice.
Q: How can companies within this industry use GLAD to raise awareness of lifting practises?
A: When we first discussed the idea of GLAD, we didn’t know anything about COVID-19, so our expectations greatly reduced, but we knew social media would offer a good opportunity to move the news to something more positive.
One of the main aims of GLAD was to create a momentum where we saw posts on social media that could reach people who weren’t looking for it, so by creating that level of content, we could reach the end-users and people who would discover that there was a potential career out there for them. By bringing people together, we saw members around the world making films which illustrated what they do and why it’s so important.
The lifting industry punches below its weight and undervalues itself, so GLAD is a good opportunity to get everyone together and realise that what we do is important. We had a response from Michael Gove who talked about the essential work that we were doing, so things like that show how important we are and highlights how we fundamentally underpin our way of life.
Lifting is not yesterday’s industry, because all that we do is lift more and lift further and lift in more inclement environments and more dangerous places, and so lifting just gets more complicated and reliant on technology. For the Romans, building a second story was a huge accomplishment that required lifting, but now we’re building things like the Burj Khalifa. We’re still fighting gravity but we’re just better at it and we go even higher.
“Our industry is an ancient industry operating in a modern world, and it’s about moving those ancient principles into the modern world”
Q: How can we continue the momentum of GLAD year-round?
A: What we did with GLAD this year, and what we aim to do next year is to create a narrative around ‘What’s Your Story’. Firms like Motion can show that lifting is a really broad thing, and it’s not just about lugging and hefting, but that it’s about technology and innovation and coming up with these crazy solutions that we could never have imagined 20 years ago.
It shows that the next generation is going to come from people that are interested in working in fields like IT and technology. So, how we fight gravity now isn’t how we did it 50 years ago and isn’t going to be how we will do it in 50 years.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the industry?
A: One of the main challenges is that the lifting industry doesn’t have an apprenticeship in England, so this shows that there’s no pathway for young people into the sector. However, LEEA is currently working on a trailblazer group in England, which we hope will raise the voice of the industry and create an apprenticeship.
An important part of a trade association’s role is to bring together that demand and pitch it to those in power, whether that be with regulators or funders. Another big issue is training; how do you get good candidates and then offer them training to keep progressing them and to keep them learning about tomorrow’s skills, instead of only learning about today’s skills?
This is one of the issues LEEA focuses on because it’s about developing and training solutions that fit tomorrow’s demand. Our industry is an ancient industry operating in a modern world, and it’s about moving those ancient principles into the modern world.
“Firms like Motion are answering tomorrow’s problems, today, and working with companies like Motion is going to be a big part of the future and is going to provide a fundamental shift in what this industry will look like”
Q: How has the industry been affected since lockdown?
A: The lifting industry is so broad and covers so many different supply chains. When lockdown happened and the world seemed to stop and construction sites were closed, there was a clear impact on the industry, especially in the entertainment sector.
Take concerts for example, when Taylor Swift performs a concert, all of the lights and rigging above her comes from LEEA members, and therefore, since the entertainment industry has been hit by COVID, this has had an impact on the lifting industry.
However, some of our members are continuing largely unaffected, and many are operating at a reduced capacity and with a reduced budget revenue. So, for the lifting industry, it’s impossible to say how it’s been affected because it’s been affected in many different ways. But I think it’s fair to say that the world seems like it’s returning to normal for the lifting industry now.
Q: GLAD seeks to improve best practises in the lifting industry. How can companies like Motion start to raise awareness of this?
A: It’s about coming up with solutions that people have never thought of and identifying challenges that people thought were just a part of life and showing that things can be different. Take inspections, for example, we’ve always done them by eye and by touch, but does it always have to be done like that? Is there a better way to do it?
We are particularly interested in sustainability as an association, and that leads to the practices and the products that we use and makes us question whether they are sustainable. Firms like Motion are answering tomorrow’s problems, today, and working with companies like Motion is going to be a big part of the future and is going to provide a fundamental shift in what this industry will look like.
For more information on #GLAD2020 and LEEA, visit https://leeaint.com/.