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Not for badge collectors

03 October 2018

LEEA (The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association) is taking a quality over quantity approach, driving higher standards for members, as CEO Ross Moloney explains to HSS editor Simon Duddy.

Most member organisations want to grow. With scale comes greater clout. But if your brand is a stamp of high quality, ambitious growth is not always the best strategy.

LEEA represents every aspect of the lifting equipment industry from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment. It is building a reputation as a gold standard for end users who demand high levels of competence in their lifting partners. But this means LEEA members have to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

CEO Ross Moloney says: “We don’t admit every applicant company. But this is who we are. It’s difficult, but LEEA membership has to mean something and so we’re aiming to be the gold standard. We are happy to help companies who want to progress and reach a high standard. But we see this as a partnership. We’re here for companies who want to reach excellence. 

“We are teaching what industry tells us needs to be taught, and if a company fails to meet the standard, then they have to come back and try again.”

If LEEA is to truly be a gold standard respected by end users, the auditing of its members’ competence needs to be top notch. Indeed, LEEA is working on its standards and from January it will be harder to become or stay a LEEA member.

“We have no target to grow membership, only to improve it,” explains Ross. “And we’re not talking about just scrapping to reach the level of compliance, we’re talking about high quality. We only want the right calibre of members. If you are a badge collector, LEEA is not for you.”

LEEA sets the tone with robust learning & development and technical committees.

“The technical committee has 50 members thrashing out tricky technical questions, they are not there for the cheese and wine. Our members go through the training, achieve the highest standards, and are audited annually.”

While there are tough requirements to LEEA membership, the priority for LEEA is to help provide members with a competitive advantage. With this in mind, LEEA is actively presenting to major clients in a bid to have LEEA membership specified on tenders or included in legislation.

Skills and recruitment

The lifting industry, like many similar industries is struggling to attract enough recruits, and with an ageing existing workforce, this is an issue LEEA is seeking to tackle.

Ross says: “The industry is not perceived as particularly sexy and we need to broadcast ourselves better, to roll up our sleeves and engage with the next generation. Ours is an industry with a wide variety of roles, there is something for everyone who wants a challenge. But the fundamentals are strong. These jobs aren’t really about grease and physical lifting, they are about intellectually challenging engineering.

“In addition, the salaries earned by experienced engineers are good.

“This year at LiftEX (at the MK Arena in Milton Keynes from November 14-15), we will hold our inaugural meeting of the Apprenticeship trailblazer group which is a real signal of intent regarding our determination to get new people into the sector. Local colleges and careers advisors will see what excellent opportunities there are in the industry.”

LEEA has 1,200 members across 72 countries.