Minerals Matter introduces school children to quarrying industries

For the first time in its history, Hillhead - the UK industry’s largest exhibition for quarrying, construction and recycling, welcomed a delegation of students from a local Derbyshire school to meet industry operators and learn what career opportunities exist across the sector.

 School students interacting with equipment and simulators Hillhead - the UK industry’s largest exhibition for quarrying, construction and recycling

School students interacting with equipment and simulators Hillhead - the UK industry’s largest exhibition for quarrying, construction and recycling

The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) arranged for a group of Year 10 students from Chapel-en-le-Frith High School to attend the Hillhead exhibition in Buxton, UK. The purpose of the work experience visit was to inspire the next generation of quarrying professionals by demonstrating the variety of roles available and diversity of opportunities on offer.

James Thorne, CEO of IQ. said: "The quarrying and mineral products sector brings a significant financial benefit to Derbyshire; there are currently more than 20 active quarries across the Peak and Dales, generating around £2.1 billion (US$2.5 billion) gross value added per year to the national economy (High Peak Borough Council).

"Being able to show young people first-hand the incredible range of extraordinary careers that our sector has to offer has to be a way forward for us all. It's only by opening our doors and sharing what we do with our communities that we will be able to attract the best of the best to join us and invigorate our industry for the future."

Richard Bradbury, event director, added: "It was great to have school students visit Hillhead 2022. It's essential that the quarrying industry engages with young people at an early enough stage. Hillhead provides a great platform to boost the industry's profile and will hopefully help to inspire the next generation of quarry professionals. We look forward to working with IQ to develop this further next time."

During the visit to Hillhead, the group of 14 students learnt about everything from apprenticeship pathways, and sustainability in the industry, to the use of technology, as well as interacting with simulators and big vehicles in the demonstration area.

Duncan Poole, Science Teacher at Chapel-en-le-Frith School, noted: "It was a well organised day that provided pupils with a meaningful connection with industry. The structure of the day gave a context to what a wide range of careers are available within the industry and support services, with different entry points and levels. It was apparent how well different companies trained and nurtured their staff throughout their careers. Year 10 pupils came back from the days with a much broader understanding of career prospects in the quarrying industry."

The week prior to attending Hillhead, the students also visited the National Stone Centre, a 40-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest in Wirksworth and participated in a session An Introduction to Quarrying, a workshop developed to give students an overview of where minerals are used and the impact of the industry. It was delivered by Jacob Wright, industry STEM ambassador employed at Tarmac Tunstead. The students also had the opportunity to see first-hand the geological features of the former quarry sites and the fossil trail.

Both visits were delivered under the Minerals Matter initiative, an industry-led approach to raise the profile of the sector for career opportunities and supported by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Careers Hub.

Established in 2010, D2N2 is one of the largest LEP in England, representing a population of more than two million people and with an economic output of over £42.9 billion GVA (gross value added). It works closely with all local authorities to grow the area's economy. The Careers Hub in D2N2 is part of a national programme funded by the Department for Education, led nationally by the Careers & Enterprise Company.

Emily Carter, operational Careers Hub lead at D2N2, said: "Working in partnership with IQ to support this pilot programme has been an exciting development here in Derbyshire. Young people can't be what they can't see. Creating an opportunity to access the aspiration raising Hillhead Show I am sure has been a huge step in supporting future skills into the industry by allowing business in this sector to showcase the diversity of pathways available, and young people to visualise themselves in an environment they may not have considered previously. It is essential that we continue to develop this best practice to reach more young people from the earliest opportunity within their education."

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