IPAF Summit 2024: Empowering the Next Generation

IPAF Summit Panel Discussion

The IPAF Summit 2024, hosted at the Scandic Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, that was attended by more than 300 industry professionals, began with a heartfelt and thought-provoking speech by newly elected IPAF President, Karel Huijser. The presentations kicked off with an energetic joint effort by Amanda Tan, IPAF Asia Regional Development Manager, and Diego Bustamante, IPAF Latin America Regional Manager/North America Project Coordinator. Amanda and Diego, representing a new generation of leaders and introducing the summit theme of “Empowering the Next Generation”, highlighted the diverse backgrounds and global coordination within the IPAF team, spanning 14 time zones.

Speaker - Karel Huijser

Emphasising IPAF's commitment to innovation and safety, they celebrated a record-breaking year in 2023, issuing over 200,000 PAL Cards, signifying a 12% increase from the previous year. The ePAL digital app achieved over half a million downloads globally, with 62% of PAL Cards issued digitally through this platform. Additionally, key insights from the membership survey underscored the importance of safety, knowledge, and global collaboration within the IPAF community. 

In 2024, IPAF plans significant enhancements, including improvements to the new IPAF PORTAL to streamline IPAF training centre operations and digital testing options. Developments to the recently launched Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system aim to improve member communications. The highly anticipated new Operator Course, set for release in late 2024, promises to revolutionise powered access training with its global expertise and innovative approach. 

Speaker - Amanda and Diego

IPAF's commitment to multilingual accessibility continues, with the current Operator Course available in 20 languages and test papers in 44 languages. The focus for 2024 includes expanding operations in China, Saudi Arabia, India, USA, and Canada, underlining IPAF's dedication to promoting safety on a global scale. 

Following the opening presentation, Daniel Hulme took the stage to delve into the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). With a diverse background encompassing roles such as Entrepreneur in Residence at UCL, Chief AI Officer at WPP, and CEO at Satalia, Daniel brought a wealth of expertise to the discussion. 

Elaborating on data-driven decision-making, Daniel built upon the DIKW pyramid, inserting understanding between knowledge and wisdom. He explored the transformative impact of AI on business, inviting questions specific to the powered access industry. 

Speaker Daniel

Daniel's presentation ventured into the philosophical aspects of AI, referencing Greek philosopher Socrates. He outlined six key applications of AI: 

  • Task automation: Macros, RPA, chatbots, object recognition 
  • Content generation: Images, video, text, music 
  • Human representation: Deepfakes, voice, personas 
  • Insight extraction: Machine learning, data-science, analytics 
  • Decision making: Optimisation, decision trees, expert systems 
  • Human augmentation: Exoskeletons, avatars, cybernetics 

Highlighting the challenges of AI, Daniel emphasised concerns regarding security, safety, governance, and ethics. Recommendations included using AI for forecasting construction projects, risk assessment for account churn, and automating account management processes to enhance service. 

The session garnered significant audience engagement and thought-provoking discussion, with Daniel addressing a series of insightful questions. 

Joel Särkkä, Chief Information Officer of Renta Group Oy, explored future-proofing rental, focusing on Renta's decentralised model, digitalisation, efficiency, and sustainability efforts. Renta prioritises intelligent fleet management, digitalised processes, and actionable data insights, enhancing customer solutions. 

Joel elaborated on Renta’s vision to be the most sustainable and digital partner in the equipment rental industry, aiming to lead in circular economy practices and safety standards. They aim to mitigate environmental impact, excel in health and safety, and uphold responsible corporate governance. 

Speaker - Joel Sarkka

Renta also emphasises building capabilities to attract diverse talent and promoting employee well-being. Successful future-proofing leads to a more sustainable business, efficient operations, and increased rental penetration, ensuring better access to workforce and talent retention. 

Kasia Gotlib, Senior Product Marketing Specialist at JLG, and James Hahessy, Product Manager of Connected Solutions EMEA at JLG, shared insights into engaging younger generations in the access industry. Both millennials and new parents, they highlighted the importance of reaching Generation Z and Generation Alpha, who make up a significant portion of the global population. 

The duo stressed that the younger generation in particular favours teamwork, environmental awareness, and continuous learning. They seek investment from employers, open communication, and desire flexible working arrangements. Kasia and James stressed the need to empower and invest in existing talent while fostering a sense of community within the company. 

Their presentation resonated with JLG's commitment to improving team engagement and communication, emphasising the importance of conveying passion for the industry. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution, increasing visibility on platforms preferred by younger generations is crucial. 

Following this, Ali Moore, Relationship Therapist at BeMoore, discussed strategies for integrating young people into the modern workforce and overcoming barriers. She explored the evolution of workplace relationships referencing IPAF's inception in 1983 to the present day, highlighting shifts in values, priorities, and expectations. 

Identifying factors affecting young people entering the workforce, Ali addressed issues such as lack of experience, mental health concerns, and the expectation-reality gap. She advocated for creating a movement to improve company culture, offer competitive compensation packages, provide tailored inductions, remove biases in recruitment, and offering employees development opportunities. 

Speaker - Ali Moore

Next up, "Unlocking the Path to a Safer Jobsite," presented by Chris Greenbank, IPAF Digital Marketing Manager, and Domokos Speeder, Vice President of Customer Success at Trackunit, highlighted the staggering €4.4 billion cost of accidents on construction sites annually in Europe. They emphasised the need for innovation, collaboration, and adoption to address challenges like communication breakdowns and underutilised workforce productivity. 

They cited the significant value created by companies investing in digital transformation, with digitally advanced firms outperforming counterparts by 66%. Collaboration was underscored as pivotal, with leading companies leveraging partnerships to create synergies and alignment across ecosystems. 

Speaker - Chris Greenbank

IPAF and Trackunit are actively collaborating to provide simplified certification management, seamless access to powered access machines, and effortless documentation, addressing complexities and safety concerns. This partnership, leveraging IPAF's extensive user base of over half a million downloads and Trackunit's ecosystem, aims to build a safer and more efficient jobsite environment.  In closing, Chris and Domokos demonstrated the unlocking of a scissor lift with the ePAL app via mobile phone, a feature that will be launched in June 2024. The next phase of ePAL app updates will include the automatic completion of the logbook, scheduled for Q3. 

In a presentation titled "Building a Workforce for the Future," Holly Broadhurst, Senior Early Career Scheme Leader at JCB, discussed the company's dedication to nurturing early career talent. Since its inception in 1945, JCB has acknowledged the significance of investing in talent, with numerous senior leaders commencing their careers within the company. In 2012, JCB revitalised its Early Career Talent (ECT) journey, incorporating graduates, apprentices, and undergraduates. By 2017, they aligned their schemes with government apprenticeship standards, optimising their workforce for business needs. 

Today, JCB focuses on proactively attracting, engaging, and inspiring talent alongside their forty apprenticeship programmes. They employ various strategies, including STEM ambassador programs, virtual reality experiences, and targeted outreach to schools and universities. Moreover, they stress the importance of workforce planning, ensuring they have the right skills in place to drive growth and manage attrition effectively. Ultimately, JCB aims to develop a pipeline of talent equipped with the skills, knowledge, and behaviours needed to thrive in a dynamic business environment. 

Brian Parker, Head of Safety & Technical at IPAF, and Alana Paterson, Head of HSE at Taylor Woodrow, jointly conducted a presentation at the IPAF Summit 2024, unveiling the upcoming Global Safety Campaign titled “CRUSHING CAN KILL!” Their presentation not only introduced the campaign but also delved into the meticulous monitoring of the success of previous safety initiatives. This approach reflects a commitment to continuous improvement and effectiveness in promoting safety within the industry. 

IPAF's focus on the new campaign on entrapment highlights a critical safety issue within the realm of powered access equipment. Entrapment incidents pose significant risks to operators and bystanders, necessitating targeted awareness efforts. Visit here for more information on the campaign release. 

A thought-provoking panel session chaired by Karin Godenhielm, CEO of Dinolift unfolded, centred on empowering the next generation within the powered access industry. The youthful panel, comprising Joao Lourenco of Transgrua, Jennifer Roddis of Nationwide Platforms, Enio Navarro Vanzi of IPAF, and Thibaut Itzel of Genie, engaged in a series of insightful discussions. 

Speaker - panel

Delving into topics such as industry dynamics, job-hopping trends, shared company-employee values, and entry barriers, the session offered valuable, forward-thinking perspectives. Notably, the engaging debate sparked considerable interest among older attendees, highlighting the relevance and impact of empowering the future workforce in the ever-evolving powered access industry landscape. 

In concluding the IPAF Summit 2024, Peter Douglas, CEO, and Managing Director of IPAF, extended his gratitude to all attendees and speakers for their invaluable contributions to this landmark event held in the Scandic region.

Speaker - Peter Douglas

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