Friday, January 27, 2023
The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) has confirmed that this year’s Global Lifting Awareness Day—#GLAD2023 on social media platforms—will take place on Thursday 13 July. This is already the fourth year that LEEA has delivered the concept to worldwide audiences, and the momentum that has been built over that time is significant.
Think about it: since the inaugural staging in the northern hemisphere summer of 2020, we have largely been in the grips of a pandemic and countless other challenges, some of them as a knock-on result and others that have come at us from a different angle. It’s created one of the most uncertain climates for businesses of all types.
We should be proud of what we’ve achieved as a sector.
A standout industry
The fact that #GLAD2023 will again be bigger than last year, and that was bigger than the year before, speaks volumes as to the lifting industry’s ability to thrive, ‘irrespective of pandemics and economic conditions’, as LEEA said in its campaign launch announcement earlier this week.
How many other industries or causes could have carried such an annual concept successfully through a pandemic to today, expanding exponentially each time? Very few. If you tried it in hospitality, entertainment, sport, etc., the nature of the Covid era would have rendered the endeavour fruitless. In others, the subject matter is just too dry. In fact, many sectors are still recovering as staffing shortages and lack of consumer uptake continue to make the future look uncertain.
Lifting is different. As LEEA also reiterated recently, ‘fighting gravity is inherently dangerous and getting it wrong can lead to accident, injury, and even fatality.
‘That makes it an extremely important, challenging, and rewarding sector to work in, which is just one of the messages we’re encouraging people to promote’.
And promote it we should, not just on 13 July but every day between now and then. The problem with some awareness ideas (they can last for longer than 24 hours), is that the activity is too isolated during that period. Of course, everything should build to a crescendo and we must all make sure that #GLAD2023 content is as viral as possible in six months’ time. But only by introducing it to new people now, can we really achieve our goal of raising the profile of our sector.
If everyone currently working in the industry told someone new about it at every opportunity between now and the big day, the impact would be enormous. #GLAD2023 has reached the point where manufacturers, suppliers, and end users are among those sharing material that promotes safe and high quality load lifting. Social media posts, videos, articles, and in-person activity will again be bound together by the simple hashtag, meaning anyone with an interest in lifting and working at height can contribute.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone from another sector altogether saw a crane on their way to work, took a picture, and shared it with #GLAD2023 in the comments?
Wouldn’t it be magical if sons and daughters asked parents and guardians, ‘What’s #GLAD2023?’
Wouldn’t it be mind-blowing if #GLAD2023 ended up trending?
A bifocal approach
I don’t think we should complicate our industry or the way we promote it, especially to younger generations looking to make career decisions during the final stages of education. LEEA has talked a lot in recent years about ‘defying gravity’ and that’s exactly what lifting equipment does. However, we do need to do a better job of presenting it as a relevant industry to a wider demographic, for two main reasons:
- Lifting equipment in many sectors is at the cutting edge of modern technology as we adapt to automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc. It’s no longer the case that young engineers that want to work with computers and high tech equipment should overlook the lifting and rigging industry, because we need them here too.
You need only look at sectors like aerospace, ports, metals, etc. for proof.
- Lifting is much more than sitting at the controls of a crane or attaching slings to a load. That might remain at its heart, but what about the human resources professionals, accountants, trainers, marketers, and everyone in between? We need the sharpest minds in each of these fields, and more, to take the industry safely onto future generations. There are challenges, longevity, and diversity here that we haven’t done a good enough job of talking about in the past.
Thankfully, #GLAD2023 is here to change that.
Have a voice
I get asked a lot about how people should promote their involvement in the lifting industry during #GLAD2023; some find it difficult because their company doesn’t lead the way. It is unfortunate if marketing teams don’t see the value in promoting lifting but, regardless, individuals can participate, no different to managing and posting to a LinkedIn profile.
In previous years, there have been some interesting tweets and videos about why people are happy—GLAD, even—to be working in the industry, or sharing the events that led to them starting a career here. It’ll come as no surprise to many that a lot of these stories revealed how lifting had presented a stopgap while they were waiting for another door to open, only for the people, products, and applications to get under the skin to the point where they never sought an exit.
That reality goes a long way to capturing the challenge and opportunity our industry—and #GLAD2023—faces.
LiftEx in Liverpool
LEEA’s LiftEx trade show returns to the Exhibition Centre Liverpool on 21-22 November, where no doubt there will be moments to reflect on #GLAD2023 and plan for #GLAD2024. It was good to see a younger, more diverse demographic walk the aisles of last year’s show in Aberdeen. LiftEx and the awareness day dovetail here because one can help the other. Maybe some people will find the industry because of #GLAD2023 or be inspired to share their story because of seeing how much the industry has to offer at LiftEx.
It’s completely free of charge to participate in Global Lifting Awareness Day—anyone can post to the hashtag—but an industry also needs stakeholders that are willing to invest money in raising the industry’s profile at events and schools, for example. We’re prepared to practice what we preach and have booked official lanyard and water (bottle) sponsorships at this year’s LiftEx.
We’ve also reserved the most prominent exhibition space next to LEEA itself, which delegates will see as they walk through the main entrance to the show floor.
It’d be uplifting to meet some newcomers to the industry, especially if they found themselves here via activity at #GLAD2023.
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd