A Year of Change for the BDA

December 10, 2020

This year the British Drilling Association (BDA) has made great strides towards its key objective of being truly representing of the drilling sector. It has grown in membership, which considering the still-present COVID-19 situation, is remarkable in itself and the Association has never had such a high profile, with its comments, features and opinions being featured widely across the media, as well as generating considerable following across that now all important social media.

But, of course this means nothing if we don’t ensure that our back-office systems, processes and procedures are in order, as well as the BDA Audit – fundamental if we as a sector are going to endorse the levels of professionalism, safety and standards we all strive to achieve.

Key to our fresh approach is the appointment of a new administrative function; John Grainger is now acting as BDA General Manager for the Association; Carl Gawtry has been appointed the BDA’s Membership Officer; and Jooce is providing its on-going marketing support, as well as additional BDA administrative support as necessary. Together these people will allow the BDA to engage better with you the membership, as well as provide us with feedback to help steer the BDA in the future. Carl is currently contacting all members, specifically with this latter task in mind and I hope everyone will be honest and forthright in their discussions with him.

The BDA has to move with the times and as many of you have found over the last few months, on-line is definitely the future. We’ve gradually moved many of the forms, mechanisms and procedures on-line adding electronic options to book and pay for the BDA Audit, join, or renew membership of the BDA, pay for publications and events all securely. We have also updated documents, moving them to the cloud for greater accessibility, which saves both time and money.

Perhaps the most notable change visually is the new website, which was built from the ground up to be more than just a redesign, as it now delivers an intuitive and informative experience for visitors, bringing key information, guidance, and news at the ‘click of a mouse’. It now reflects the progressive and professional character of the drilling sector and the members that the BDA represents, and should be a little more appealing to those looking for the most up-to-date information about the industry, including the media.

The member search facility adds a commercial touch to the website, meaning it is now much easier to source members by the services they offer. A better events schedule has been added to enable visitors to not only view upcoming events in a calendar format, but to also book onto events directly too.

Perhaps more by design than plan this year, we have had to embrace virtual marketing, with the transition of events to online. Our recent BDA Audit webinar was well attended, and the BDA is committed to keeping the momentum up as we head into and through 2021. We plan to continue the popular webinars looking to run them roughly on a monthly basis and at least until we are at able to safely meet up again face to face. The website too will continue to evolve and reflect the changing dynamic of the membership and its needs. But the BDA too will continue to evolve; as feedback from members filters through, we will react to it and ensure your voice is heard and that you genuinely have a stake in the Association and accordingly a stake in shaping how the drilling sector is perceived within the wider construction sector arena.

It is worth noting that as a trade association the BDA relies on its members to support and implement its aims and objectives. Although the administration and marketing activities are carried out under contract, the core work of the Association is carried out by the committees. These various committees are essentially volunteers using their own time or time donated by their employers, to drive the strategic direction of the Association. They collectively generate a vast range of output and undertake tasks such as liaising with statutory authorities such as the CITB, training course providers, develop training course content, produce safety manuals, safety alerts & technical manuals and develop and continually improve the Audit to name a few.

Though I have been Chair of the BDA for just 6 months to-date, I have been humbled by the effort and personal commitment that has been shown by the committee members and noticed, like committees everywhere, the work of the committee often falls to a dedicated few.

I have also been impressed by the level of cooperation between individuals whose employers are considered competitors, and this in an industry renowned for the tightest of margins.

I would encourage anyone who has an interest and a passion for our industry and is prepared to give just a few hours per months to consider participating in the Association. Your contributions, no matter how small, can make a difference, and I would encourage all of you to consider how your knowledge and experience can help take the BDA and the drilling sector forward.

As I am writing this towards the end of 2020, in closing, it just remains for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy new Year!

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