As I sit here looking back on a fortnight of attending both the SHE Expo in London and the brand new SHW Live Expo in Manchester, it came to mind to put together a little reflection to our students and customers from a voice you might not often see here in the blog sections.
A brief intermission
Having joined RRC in 2017, it had become something of a regular occurrence to attend expos throughout the country. But 2020 brought this to a complete halt.
It was thought that during the following nearly two years that there was a real chance that such events would never come back. But now I can happily say that – on the back of 4 such shows in the last 6 months or so – that not only are these back on the regular digest but are attended by guests and exhibitors in even stronger numbers than before.
It can be said that all of us working in the Health and Safety sector have an affinity with people; it’s what drives us day to day to ensure the safety of those we work with and have responsibility for. And with that said, having the human connection at expos does bring out the best in us all.
Navigating the ‘new normal’
As we continue forward in finding the ‘new normal’, it is safe to say that while we may not all work in the office or the factory floor as regularly as before, there is still a demand for this. As such, demand requires people to ensure that risks are assessed, well being is monitored and environmental factors are considered. This is what made it such a pleasure to see so many colleagues, clients and students all together working to that end.
I wanted to pick out some highlights of the days at the various shows to share thoughts and discussions I was part of, with a hope to have many more such dialogues at the next shows in 2022 and beyond.
Seeing success in former students
Speaking with our former students, catching up on how they have developed as practitioners as well as people is always a pleasure. It was certainly a proud moment to speak with someone I met at a show in Birmingham in 2018 about to embark on their NEBOSH National General Certificate. Now they are a fully qualified diplomate and are going from strength to strength in the industry. Whether people want to come back to RRC for further training or simply to share their good news and experiences, it’s always enjoyable to speak with them.
Feedback from current learners
Speaking with the students who are currently studying with us, it’s great to hear about their experience so far, what they are looking forward to, what they might not have realised in terms of the support we can offer. It’s all very easy to go straight into a textbook or into a virtual session and miss the introduction from the online tutor or not realise that a mock assessment could exist. Ongoing feedback also helps us as a company and industry grow and move forward too of course.
Understanding personal and corporate development priorities
Speaking with those who are looking to make the training step either as individuals or putting forward their proposals for their fellows in a company to undergo training is always very positive. Personal development should always be encouraged and it is heartening to hear so many people ready to do this for themselves and for others.
Reconnecting with tutors
The expos also provided the opportunity to catch up with some of our remotely based tutors and associates, some of whom I hadn’t seen since 2019. While I speak with them regularly online, getting to meet them face to face and shake their hands again always trumps anytime else. Our tutors are the people who drive our business and our industry and are always a pleasure to speak with.
Time for my close-up
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the shows was being thrust in front of a camera to speak on video about our expo and customer experience not once, but twice! It was quite the shock, and while I very much fretted about where to look, and to try to soften my Scottish accent – it was the answers from the questions given there that inspired my writing of this piece.
It’s also heartening to see the industry push forward with the return to in-person events. For every show we see stand builders, catering, live music, events staff and photography as a key part of making the experience memorable. And all the while every single person has had a HSE representative ensure that it was the safe and right thing to do, proving the cyclical nature of everything.
Final thoughts – looking to the future
For those of you who could not attend, there is one final show this year with the SHW Live show in Farnborough in September that RRC are proud to be a founding partner of.
The hope is to speak with as many of you as possible who can make it. For those that cannot attend, but wish to visit us face to face, look out for our 2023 events calendar for where myself and my colleagues will be popping up.
Thanks do need to be made out to those organisers of the shows and also the colleagues involved in the organising and smooth running of the expos at each of our locations.
I hope to speak with you all soon!
Head of Customer and Corporate Services