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were excellent and the papers provided great insight into the applications and technological demands of the refractories used in the Energy industry. Jean Claude was the feature presenter, with his sheer enthusiasm for his subject and almost comical resolve to remain on stage, despite several time calls from me.

A change this year from our usual full compliment of technical papers, introduced Rebecca Fielding, who spoke about the benefits of

Graduate recruitment and Internships.

Rebecca presented a well prepared case and prompted a good response from delegates. She highlighted the financial incentives and regional grants available from local authorities around the country, as well as the more obvious business recruits.

benefits of such well educated

The IRE is keen to support such ventures as RISE, for graduate recruitment and are pleased to act as a forum for such initiatives to promote the young talent of this country.

Chris Windle received the award for best paper, at the Conference, which was a very imaginative approach about the refractories used in energy generation through the reactions that take place and the consequences of these. Chris also somehow managed to introduce the energy reactions and refractories used, which occur in glass furnaces, which was almost inevitable for Chris.

The Training Day was again very well attended by over 35 members and non-members and once again is a testament to the excellent reputation of the Training Day, organised and overseen by Sam Franklin. It perhaps also reflects the need for such refractories training and the fact that the IRE Training Day is the only formal training available in the UK today. See my further comments and proposed actions under the section on NVQ’s.

A big, big thank you to Sam Franklin and his co-presenters for the Training Day. A first class event.

Thoroughly rewarding and enjoyed by all those who attended.


I’m pleased to announce that the growth in new members is continuing. The general Secretary has received a further 15 applications in Quarter 3 from UK and overseas, with several more signed-up at the National Conference and Training Days.

Peter Rooney has agreed that I should now spearhead the drive to create a new IRE Branch in India. A budget has been approved to fund an IRE promotional event there shortly. The event will be attended by 2 members of the Executive Committee.

UNITECR and Aachen 2015

The two conferences were originally planned for the same week. However, the decision has been taken to amalgamate the two conferences in Vienna on 15-18 September 2015.

The IRE will be taking a stand at the joint conference, to promote its activities and the benefits of being a member.

NVQ’s and Training:

As a result of the IRE Training Day and the comments from the delegates, together with those of colleagues and the CITB, I am convinced of the need for reintroducing the IRE’s NVQ programme.

As I reported in my September column, in order to assist the Institute in its feasibility study of a new NVQ initiative relevant manufacturers and Associations will be contacted to seek the level of interest. Unfortunately this was planned for early in Q4 but has been delayed by business commitments and illness within the IRE Executive.

Stan Smith, and several other very experienced refractory people have indicated their willingness to act as assessors for the NVQ’s. Funding should be available via the CITB and other Training bodies. A show of interest from members and manufacturers will help drive the initiative forward.

Once again, Members or otherwise, interested in becoming an Assessor or assisting in any


way, please contact Jayne Woodhead, in the first instance.

Growth Accelerator Programme:

Members of IRE Executive Committee have each received a Questionnaire (The Growth Mapper) from Growth Accelerator, which is designed to identify key areas within the IRE and its operations where GA can provide advice and assistance. However, I understand that reorganisation of the GA organisation itself is delaying the results and follow-up on this initiative. Hopefully, this wont take too long and look forward to the benefits that GA can bring.

Again, current companies undertaking the program are receiving specific assistance with;

- Funding help for Capital Projects and Expansion (including IP Audits to aid regional grants and National funding applications)

- Business Development, including, Strategic Analysis, Operational Planning, Marketing and Sales Development

- Training in Sales Negotiation, Six Sigma and Personnel Management.

Dinner Dance:

The Kenwood Hall has been booked for the 13th June 2015. I’m pleased to announce that close to 80% of our table allocation target has been met to date.

Please BOOK YOUR SEAT(S)/TABLE(S) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT. Jayne Woodhead has organised a veritable feast of food and entertainment!

As this is the last Journal before Christmas, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful new year!

Best Wishes

Keith Andrews President


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