The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) has appointed Ian Cooke as Director of Academy. Covering LEEA training, such as the Foundation and Diploma courses, Licensed Training Scheme (LTS) and the Accredited Training Scheme (ATS), this is one of several key new senior manager roles playing a strategic part in developing the association.

The new executive management team will be working closely with CEO Ross Moloney, who said: “We are delighted to welcome Ian Cooke to our leadership team as part of our strategy to develop LEEA and provide even stronger support to our members. He brings a wealth of experience to the Academy, which is a vital part of the Association and plays a crucial contribution to ensuring the Lifting Industry’s sustainability.”

Cooke said he was proud to represent LEEA and its membership and looks forward to growing stronger together as a network of intelligent, hardworking professionals sharing best practice.

“We want to ensure training reflects the skills needed by employers in our industry and to give individuals a ‘portable’ qualification that enables them to gain employment. I am also interested in continuing professional development for those who want to maintain their knowledge, skills and behaviours,” he said.

A Business Management graduate, Cooke started his career at a college lecturing to business management and running adult education in the community. He then joined NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupation Safety and Health) as business development executive for the UK and Ireland. The role evolved from customer support to  becoming an auditor, becoming an essential part of establishing the body’s audit protocol.

Cooke was then sought after to head up health, safety and sustainability at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, now Make UK, working with some of the world’s biggest companies in delivering consultancy and training.

After five years he returned to NEBOSH as head of Corporate and Consumer. Combining his experience of commercial and regulated training, consultancy and corporates, he developed new exam board services aimed at raising competency and a safer workplace.

“Meeting LEEA’s CEO, chair and vice chair, as well as the fact LEEA is bringing in two other directors to develop other key functions of the association, convinced me this role represents a great opportunity. It is about supporting the Industry in a two-way relationship, with LEEA being a conduit to harness and share knowledge across our industry. Our learning and development function can help our members gain access to competent specialist training. In addition, LEEA can be a conduit for members to share best practice and solutions that contribute to a safer world of work and less incidents,” said Cooke.

“There is a clear industry challenge surrounding a skills shortage. However, this presents an opportunity to promote our industry as a great occupation, creating courses that learners will want to take to boost their career. Employers will look for LEEA qualifications when recruiting, so giving learners a qualification with value will help them to gain employment. Showing success stories demonstrating this will encourage younger generations into training and the industry.”

“I’ve been very lucky in having an enjoyable and diverse career that has afforded me opportunities to meet and learn from so many people. With its international footprint, range of training solutions, technical standards and support services LEEA provides my next  challenge and a great opportunity.”