On June 29th, FESPA UK brought together 16 wide-format print professionals for one of the industry’s first in-person meetings since the pandemic began. The think tank style event, which was sponsored by Compass Business Finance, took place at the Mallory Court Hotel in Leamington Spa.
A new format for the association, the event offered an opportunity to gather industry pace-setters to discuss the challenges they are facing post-pandemic and ways of solving them. For the association's board members and managing team, it also provided a chance to understand how they can best support their members and the wider industry going forward as they look to recover and accelerate their businesses growth.
Sustainability, waste management and recycling were the hot topics of the day. Those in attendance agreed that where possible, printers should be aiming to close the loop, as using environmentally-friendly materials doesn't always mean the end-user disposes of them correctly and their end-of-life is sustainable. The association is already working on a number of initiatives with their partners to support printers’ recycling efforts, as part of their recently launched print industry sustainability agenda.
Training and education was another key topic. It’s no secret that one of the biggest challenges the print industry faces is it’s aging workforce and a lack of new talent coming into the industry. Points raised included knowledge sharing amongst member companies and their teams, apprenticeships and whether there is a need for a formal qualification element to any training, and how some members have partnered with local education providers to successfully build their own talent pipeline whilst also giving something back in their community.
Brexit was a surprisingly brief discussion, with talk of increased costs and a shortage of transport options, but a clear desire to look forward rather than back.
Post shop-talk, attendees enjoyed England’s win, wine-tasting and networking over dinner. Feedback afterwards was highly positive, with attendees praising “an interesting format where plenty of the hot topics of the current climate were discussed” and “a great opportunity to openly talk about everything from post pandemic to sustainability and training”.
The association plans to host similar events on a regular basis going forwards. To learn more about membership and future events, visit fespauk.com
Sponsored by compassbusinessfinance.co.uk