Shaping a new future
Ross Moloney, CEO of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), describes how the world’s leading lifting association tackled the adversity posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and is shaping the way it supports its members going forward.
Not since the ‘financial crash’ of 2007 have events changed plans the way that we have seen this year. But perhaps because that memory remains with us, the LEEA team was able to pivot remarkably quickly in the face of a pandemic.
Perhaps no better example has been in maintaining learning and development, which is a fundamental objective for the sustainability of any industry. In April, we launched the online course in Mobile Crane Examinations. This meant that all of our core modules were available through the Academy. While aware of concerns around online assessment, the option is now there for our members and we use the same checks used by IVY league universities in the US. Pass rates using online assessment are almost exactly the same as face-to-face written assessments.
In June we rolled out our first Zoom-based training. Since March we now all have considerable experience of conducting business and managing our social lives on this platform. And so our Zoom-based training seems set to stay as an option post COVID-19. Feedback has been outstanding and it has become an overhead free way of training staff. No travel, no hotels and minimal time away are all clear benefits. We have been able to deliver training at times to suit our members. In August we began to deliver face-to-face training here at our Huntingdon training centre, with smaller than usual classes and COVID-secure measures in place.
Essentially, we have reshaped the delivery of our training in 2020; while face-to-face training has reduced, there has been more online training than ever before and our Zoom numbers are extremely pleasing.
With regards to the launch of the L3 Apprenticeship in England, the standard has been approved and LEEA has been approved as an End Point Assessor Organisation, which in itself is no small feat. We await training providers to have their costing submissions assessed and hope that as restrictions are eased in the educational community, we can move forward. We are doing what we can to push this along.
I look forwards with excitement and confidence that we are improving and becoming more effective and efficient. Less time will be spent on travel. Less money will be spent on overheads. Instead our time and money will be invested in refreshed courses, new courses and ways of delivery that support a truly global membership.
In the last 12 months, LEEA’s technical triage service has responded to 1276 enquiries – a 15% increase on last year. During the height of the crisis, turnaround time for responses was reduced to an incredible two hours and we continue to deliver that service.
In addition to being busy maintaining business as usual in a completely different world, the LEEA has managed to launch the Military Team Card Scheme, take a primary role in the first ever Global Lifting Awareness Day and launch the Think Lifting classroom material on 29 September.
Looking into the unknowns of a global pandemic and making necessary changes within your own organisation has been exhausting at times. Of course, we all long for the day when things will be back to something like normal. Our showpiece events have been cancelled this year and they are an important part of who we are and what we do. We all hope that before long we will have a vaccine and that we can get back to normal. But 2020 is likely to shape how we deliver LEEA services and support our members in the long term.