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An uplifting future

26 October 2020

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.

Few will look back at 2020 as a great year, however many will reflect with pride on how determination and dynamism triumphed over adversity. This was certainly true for LEEA, which through lockdown and beyond focused in supporting our members and will continue to do so in meeting the challenges of 2021. In many ways we have come through the process as a stronger organisation that is confident in its ability to help members thrive in whatever circumstances unfold throughout the year. 

As a global association, the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, had a significant impact on everyday operations but we were able to pivot remarkably quickly. No better example has been in maintaining learning and development, which is a fundamental objective for the sustainability of any industry. 

Prior to lockdown the Association had begun to explore innovative ways to deliver more training to the membership – LEEA training has been available online for some time. In April, we launched the online course in Mobile Crane Examinations. This meant that all of our core modules were available through the Academy. 

In June we rolled out our first Zoom-based training. Using video conferencing had been on our minds for some time, though six months ago the thought of training staff using video conferencing was something most of us probably turned away from. But since March we now all have considerable experience of conducting business and managing our social lives this way. And so our zoom-based training seems set to stay as an option post Covid-19.

In August we began to deliver face-to-face training at our Huntingdon training centre, with smaller than usual classes and Covid-secure measures in place. In so doing, 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.

Despite the barriers faced because of Covid-19, we have found innovative ways to support our members in their people development. As part of our efforts towards ensuring the future sustainability of the lifting sector, LEEA has launched the Think Lifting School Lesson. The ready to use ‘lesson in a bag’ includes films, content, experiments and leave behind hand-outs that will allow LEEA member companies to engage remotely with their local schools in order to help raise awareness of the Lifting Industry. 

The lesson is designed to spark interest among school pupils in pursuing a career in the lifting industry. The pathway to that career comes with the imminent availability of the L3 Lifting 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 currently await training providers to have their costing submissions assessed and hope that as restrictions are eased in the educational community.

Technical matters

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 2 hours and we continue to deliver that service.  This means that the LEEA team has provided technical support within 2-hours during a global health emergency. 

Also during the pandemic LEEA launched the Military Team Card Scheme. This will allow military personnel to begin a pathway into the civilian sector whilst serving in the forces. When gaining employment with a LEEA company they can immediately swap their Military TEAM card for a LEEA TEAM Card. This helps the individual and also helps the company.


For supply chains to run smoothly, attention needs to be paid to lifting. Too often, the importance and exciting nature of what we do is lost or ignored. This means that our professionalism and essential service is forgotten, and we struggle to attract new entrants into the industry. This was part of what drove LEEA, along with other industry stakeholders, to work up the idea of having a day dedicated to raising the profile of the Lifting Equipment Industry.

And so on 9 July 2020 the global Lifting Sector took to social media in their droves to post messages with the #GLAD2020 hashtag. The first ever Global Lifting Awareness Day scheme turned out to be a phenomenal success.

Across the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram there were 925 individual and original mentions of #GLAD2020 between 6-12 July, with 631 of them being on the 9 July itself. Looking at Twitter across a slightly broader timescale, between 4-13 July, the #GLAD2020 hashtag appeared in over 840 tweets from 180 contributors – which has a potential reach of over 261,000 and potential impact on 1.65 million people. The event will become an annual fixture to keep it at the forefront for end users, stakeholders and politicians. #GLAD2021 will be held on 8 July 2021.

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 and they are being rescheduled. This includes the first ever LiftEx Middle East and the first ever LiftEx Lite. LiftEx in Liverpool and the LEEA Awards are scheduled to take place in the autumn of 2021.

The year of 2020 is likely to shape how we deliver LEEA services and support our members in the long term. I am confident that despite the challenges, it has actually been a year where we have placed some important foundations, which will help us to deliver in the future. Throughout 2021, LEEA will continue to broadcast the excellence in service, training, maintenance, design, systems, and products provided by LEEA members and ensure that it is delivered to end users and legislative bodies. 

For more information, visit www.leeaint.com

About LEEA 

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide.

It is the respected and authoritative representative body for its members who work in every aspect of the industry, from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment.

The Association has played a key role in this specialised field for over 70 years, from training and standards setting through to health and safety, the provision of technical and legal advice, and the development of examination and licensing systems.

LEEA represents its members at the highest levels across a range of both public and private bodies, including various government departments, as well as nationally and internationally recognised professional and technical institutions.