In preparation for the 2023 CICA Conference, CICA Board President Ben Pieyre discusses the challenges ahead in handing over to the next generation of the crane industry and what some strategies are to combat these challenges.
As our world evolves and technology advances at an unprecedented pace, industries of all kinds must adapt to remain relevant and attractive to the next generation. The crane industry is no exception, facing a pressing need to draw in fresh talent to sustain its growth, replace retiring operators and ensure a prosperous future. To achieve this, an approach that combines innovation, education and diversity is crucial.
The crane industry holds immense potential for people seeking a dynamic career path. However, traditional notions of heavy machinery and construction may not immediately align with the aspirations of many young people, women, new and diverse Australians – especially if they have never been exposed to it. The CICA 2023 National Conference being held in Perth, Western Australia, from 26-28 October 2023 is themed ‘The Next Generation’ and will address how to bridge this gap.
As industry leaders attending the conference, we have an opportunity to facilitate a transformative journey to make the crane sector more alluring and inclusive to a more diverse demographic.
1. Raising Awareness: It begins with education. Many people are unaware of the diverse and rewarding career opportunities the crane industry has to offer. At the various career expos that CICA has displayed at this year, many young people have told us ‘I didn’t realise that you could get a job doing that!’. CICA is collaborating with training providers to introduce crane-related curricula that will prepare the next generation to work with cranes. Equipping school career counsellors with information and providing information evenings are another way CICA is working to pique students’ interest and present the industry as a high-tech, environmentally responsible and impactful field.
2. Embracing Technology: Modernising the crane sector with cutting-edge technology is a surefire way to attract tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z, but also making equipment more accessible for everyone to access and operate. Remote-controlled and autonomous cranes, augmented reality training programs and digital platforms for crane management not only increase efficiency and safety but also portray the industry as innovative and future-focused. The crane simulators that CICA has invested in are proving useful in skill development and attracting keen interest at expos.
3. Sustainable Practices: We are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. By promoting green initiatives within the crane industry, such as the implementation of electric or hybrid crane models and reducing carbon footprints; or working on renewable projects (like wind farms and solar panel installation) the industry can appeal to environmentally minded individuals who seek meaningful work that contributes positively to the planet.
4. Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment will not only foster creativity and innovation but also make the industry more appealing to a wide range of talent. Encouraging women and individuals from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the crane industry can be achieved through mentorship programs, networking opportunities and by dismantling stereotypes. CICA’s recent Diversity breakfast launch was a well-attended and highly successful event, and CICA is committed to keeping up the momentum.
5. Collaboration with Tech Companies: Partnering with technology, CICA has been working with Area9 Lyceum on an adaptive learning module for its courses, which provides customised training to individuals, employing reliable data analysis and intelligent tools to make real-time adjustments. Adaptive learning recognises the existing knowledge of each learner and modifies the training to specifically address areas where they lack understanding, including those areas they might not be aware of.
6. Showcasing Success Stories: Highlighting success stories of individuals thriving in the crane industry can inspire others and challenge misconceptions. CICA’s presence on platforms such as social media, the Cranes and Lifting magazine and e-newsletter, and industry events showcase these achievements and generates enthusiasm among potential newcomers. If you haven’t seen CICA’s new Traineeship video yet, head to the CICA YouTube channel.
7. Offering Attractive Incentives: Opportunities for career growth, such as the Traineeship (in the states that offer one) are essential in attracting new talent. Additionally, offering mentorship programs, the Lifeworks EAP (that CICA offers to members and their employees) and skill development courses (like the Articulated Crane On-Road Course) can demonstrate a commitment to nurturing employees’ long-term aspirations.
- CICA Photo of the Year – Enter Now.
- CICA NSW/ACT Branch Chair Update.
- CICA Diversity Network officially launches.
Attracting the next generation of people (young or a bit older) to the crane industry necessitates a comprehensive approach that embraces innovation, education, and inclusivity.
If you are attending the 2023 CICA National Conference, I look forward to seeing you there and thank you for your continued support of CICA. Together, we can work on equipping the ‘Next Generation’ to elevate the industry to new heights.
CICA Board President