Lance Harper brings decades of industry experience to his new role as Greymouth-based Programme Manager Mining and Quarrying for Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

The former Coaster has 30 years’ mining experience, including alluvial gold mining, underground coal, tunnelling and working in Australia in hard rock copper gold and long wall development. More recently, he held training positions with Solid Energy’s Spring Creek Mine and for Globe Progress Mine in Reefton.

He joined TPP because of what he calls “a passion for training”.

“It might be a bit of a cliché, but I’ve always said: if you have a trained workforce, you’ll have a safe workforce and, eventually, a more productive workforce.”

Lance acknowledges his new role as TPP Programme Manager Mining and Quarrying will be a big challenge, but it’s one he is eager to tackle.

“I’ll be spending a lot of time initially getting to know everyone and introducing myself to the community – both here on the Coast and in the wider industry. It’s my first week and I’ve already got to meet a lot of great people; you can expect to see me out and about, introducing myself and helping people put a face to the name.

“My professional goal for year one is to look for ways we can take what is an already very successful training programme and push for more and better outcomes.

“My personal goal has always been about the individual: I’ve always felt that if I can get through to just one person and make them always think of safety first, then I’ve made a real difference.”

Lance highlights safety as the number one issue facing the mining and quarrying industries. He describes a historic industry culture of “she’ll be right” and says safe work practices are more important now than ever.

“What we need to realise is that safe work practices not only save lives but result in better business outcomes too.”

Lance says he is keen to get started in a role where he has the opportunity to work with people starting out in the industry and have a real impact on the future.