Workforce of the future initiatives at WCTS

By Murray Pollok31 August 2017

Initiatives to attract, recruit and train the next generation of crane and special transport operatives will be highlighted at the World Crane and Transport Summit (WCTS), with speakers from Europe, Australia and the USA.

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The WCTS is being held in Amsterdam on 7 and 8 November, organised by International Cranes and Specialized Transport and supported by organisations that include ESTA and SC&RA.

Two speakers in the ’Workforce and Training’ session are from the USA and will look at workforce diversity and the promotion of careers in the crane, rigging and specialized transport sector.

Brett Melvin, executive director of Lift & Move USA, will highlight the US industry’s response to skills shortages and the need to attract young people to the industry. Lift & Move USA is the recently launched programme to promote careers in crane, rigging and specialized transport to high school and college students and armed service veterans. The initiative is run by SC&RA, NCCCO, KHL Group and the SC&R Foundation.

Melvin commented, “In the past two years we have held six events throughout the USA attended my more than 2,000 students.” The events are hosted by SC&RA members, which means that students and teachers get to see equipment and hear direct testimony from people who have made successful careers in the industry.

“The initiative was launched in response to the skills gap that we are facing in the USA. I understand that there are similar issues in Europe and elsewhere, so I hope our experiences in reaching out to young people will be of wider value and interest,” Melvin continued.

Addressing the issue of workforce diversity, and specifically the benefits of attracting women into the industry, will be Jennifer Gabel, owner of New Jersey, USA-based crane and trucking company JK Crane.

Gabel pic

Jennifer Gabel, owner, JK Crane

JK Crane is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Gabel will describe how to increase diversity of the workforce and the benefits that this can bring.

New developments in training crane operators will feature strongly in the programme. Ton Klijn, director of ESTA, will give an update on the progress to create a European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) scheme. ESTA will start ECOL trials in early 2018 and Klijn’s presentation will be followed by a break-out meeting for potential partners.

The Australian experience on operator training will be described by Brandon Hitch, chief executive officer at the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA). He will discuss the council’s recent initiatives on operator competence, work that included establishing definitions of competence for a wide range of roles.

The perspective of a manufacturer will meanwhile be given by Christoph Kleiner, Liebherr-Werk Ehingen managing director for sales. Kleiner will cover Liebherr’s recent work with a third-party company, BetriebinBestform, to develop an eLearning course on the theory of crane operation. The course will be available online from October 2017.

The conference will be held at the NH Grand Krasnapolsky in central Amsterdam, Netherlands. Full details are at:

WCTS is supported by ESTA and the SC&RA, as well as other crane and transport associations around the world, including CICA, Sindipesa and Associpesa.

The gold sponsor is Liebherr. Premier sponsor is Terex/Demag, and silver sponsors are Faymonville, Goldhofer, Kobelco, Manitowoc, Tii Sales (Scheuerle, Nicolas, Kamag, Tiiger) and Tadano. Supporting sponsors are Blokcam, Casar, Modulift, Straightpoint and Tecsis. 

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