The FESPA UK Next Generation Networking day, held on the 15th of March at the British Motor Museum, has been hailed a success by its attendees. This was one of the very first events as part of ‘The Next Generation’ initiative.
The event itself was made up of a
presentation from previous The Apprentice winner, Mark Wright, he offered an engaging insight on how to elevate personal development and ways to achieve success by remaining in a job role long enough to make it a career and reap its rewards.
This was followed by an open discussion with our supporters, Sarah Lees of Compass Business Finance, Lewis Evans of Vivid Laminating Technologies, Tiffany Parkin of All Print Supplies and Gary Giles of The Printing Charity, who discussed their career paths, challenges they have faced, and how to overcome them. The afternoon was a hive of activity with 4 styles of networking, all represented with several different interactive workshops, delivered by The Online Print Coach, Colin Sinclair Mcdermott. This saw the delegates placed in unfamiliar situations in which they were networking and forming new connections with other young professionals in the room, whom they had been introduced to for the first time, in new and exciting ways.
Jay Burfield, creative coordinator at FESPA UK said: “Although the event was deemed a success by all, he effort it took to fill the room and get young people involved was really difficult. Whilst planning the event and speaking to a huge number of companies about getting their team to attend, it became very clear that there are two major issues the industry faces that directly affect the younger generation. The first is the severe lack of 18–30-year-olds within the print and signage industry. More than half the business owners we spoke to were unable to send any one from their team as that they had no one under the age of 30 working within their teams. Secondly, the lack of willingness by business leaders to encourage their younger employees to network outside their companies, through either fear of them being poached, or lack of forethought that investing in them will increase their self-worth and ultimately make them more valuable to the business and more confident within their job role.”
Following on from the event, FESPA UK are committed to continuing their work, and supporting the next generation. They believe that allowing the younger employees to grow, network and build confidence, will help with installing proactive, forward-thinking businesses with their succession planning for the future. With this in mind, The Next Generation initiative, curated by FESPA UK, will aim to support 18–30-year-olds in the printed graphics and signage industry by offering them a chance to grow their network for the future, adapt their skills, and grow their knowledge and confidence. As part of the initiative FESPA UK have formed a sub-board who will shadow the main board and allow the younger generation to have a voice and air their views on keys issues within the industry. The sub board have been named ‘The Next Generation Committee’.
FESPA UK will be announcing more events both in person and online over the coming months and have already started working with the next generation committee on ways they can encourage new young talent into print.