Welcome to the exhibition whirlwind

Shaun Wadsworth looks back at his first 10 months as CFA training manager, with particular focus on exhibitions and shows.

I’M fast approaching 10 months as CFA and Fita training manager and to say those months have flown by is an understatement. But what has aided me in ensuring I settle into the job role smoothly is the help and guidance I’ve received from various sources.

This ranges from my peers at the CFA, NICF and Fita who’re always on-hand to meet and discuss projects and ideas with. To the whole host of contractors and manufacturers I speak to on a weekly basis about training in the flooring industry.

The other element that I think has underpinned all the help and support I’ve just listed, is the ability to visit and in most cases be a part of the various flooring exhibitions held in the UK and in Europe. These exhibitions have been a real insight into the flooring industry and have given me the ability to see the best the flooring industry has to offer but also put a lot of names to the faces of people I’ve been speaking to over the phone and emailing since joining the CFA.

First up was The Flooring Show held at Harrogate in September 2018. This was described to me as the main flooring exhibition in the UK and that’s certainly reflected in the number of organisations present. The set-up was great and this was my first real chance to meet and network with a host of manufacturers and flooring contractors.

CFA and Fita were also well represented with stands and demo zones, and to see our instructors draw in great crowds to showcase best practice over the two demo zones proves the ‘Fita way’ really is best when it comes to training.
I saw the NICF carpet fitter of the year finals which showcased just how deep the talent pool is in the floorlaying industry and it gave me the chance to meet even more NICF members who’ve used the Fita training centre to hone their skills.

To hear such great feedback on the Fita instructors and the various courses was great and reinforces my commitment to ensure Fita offers the best possible courses available to any floorlayer of any experience. From that encounter alone, I’m now speaking with several NICF members on a regular basis to try to improve further the experience a candidate receives when they attend training through Fita.

Next on the cards was the Surface and Materials Show, part of UK construction week October 2018. This was another chance for Fita to demo best practice and was also my first attempt at planning and arranging a Fita demo zone for an exhibition. Steve Ramsden our chief instructor was on hand to help me negotiate the event and it’s safe to say it ran very smoothly with some great feedback from visitors on the content of the demo zone.

Towards the end of the year the CFA and Fita demo zone attended a new flooring exhibition being developed within the Homes 2018 Exhibition. This new addition – The Contract Flooring Zone aimed at educating and engaging with the sector in all aspects from buying, specifying and fitting any type of floorcovering.

This time I had the responsibility of planning the Fita demo zone along with Steve and also managing a CFA stand along with CFA ceo Richard Catt. This was a great experience for Fita and the instructors to engage and pitch the content of the demo zone at a different type of exhibition visitor and gave the Fita instructors a chance to try some new ideas in the demo zone.

Finally, I also flew across to Hannover for Domotex in January this year and what an experience that is! Just the sheer size of the exhibition is staggering, and it was great to catch some of the UK representatives exhibiting there and to see the difference in exhibition scale.

With that experience gained I’m now beginning to look at what this year will bring with those same exhibitions. I’m eager to ensure content especially in the Fita demo zones is kept fresh and engaging for all of those who attend. So, if anyone has any ideas of what they’d like to see from the Fita demo zones in 2019, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Shaun Wadsworth is CFA training manager