IPAF held its Elevation conference and dinner yesterday at the Belfry Hotel, Golf Course and spa in the English Midlands. The well attended event marked the association’s 40th anniversary. The day began with a series of committee and board meetings, followed by lunch.
The afternoon conference was probably the best half day event the federation has ever hosted, in terms of content. The ‘compere’, IPAF’s Richard Whiting, did a first class job introducing the presentations starting with chief executive Peter Douglas and a video, in which he and his two predecessors - Paul Adorian and Tim Whiteman - discussed the key events in the Federation’s history.
The presentation was followed by former British rally driver champion, boxer, TV presenter and motivational speaker Penny Mallory. As an aside, for those who remember them, she was the stunt driver, playing both 'Nicole' and 'Papa', in the Renault Clio adverts from the 1990s. She spoke for more than an hour on mental toughness and, during that time, not one person left the room - quite unusual for such an event.
Mallory was followed by Jake McCanney, a cyber underwriter at Aviva Insurance, providing some useful tips on safeguarding a business from cyber-attacks. One surprise tip was to avoid scanning QR codes in restaurants to see the menu and place an order.
After the break, Darren Nash, HM principal mechanical inspector, who specialises in powered access at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), provided updates on issues the organisation was looking out for. A key issue was Emergency Stop buttons - or E Stops, if you prefer. Nash’s investigations follow an incident in 2022 in which, as is often the case, the E Stop was pressed once the lift was in position. However it also cuts the electricity supply to all the monitoring switches and overload system etc. When a very rare internal leak in a levelling jack cylinder occurred, the machine’s warning system did not detect and deal with it. Nash said that he has identified 44 manufacturers supplying aerial platforms to the UK market, of which 18 had machines that would have experienced the same issue. The investigation continues, but what recommendations will come forth, no one knows at the moment. We will look at this subject in more depth in another article.
Last, but by no means least, Ali Moore, a leadership development consultant, therapist, relationship coach and author of ’Reconnect Your Life’ who also works at the Bemoore Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that offers coaching and support to young women, spoke on the perceptions that young people have when approaching the workplace and how prospective employers can overcome the barriers they may have to recruit more young people to the industry.
Moore provided a refreshing, witty and useful insight into the subject. Her pink hair and Barbie pink dress reflected her confident and relaxed presentation style. She was a breath of fresh air in what was already an excellent afternoon programme