HRD 2003 was one of the liveliest exhibitions and conferences we've seen for some time - plenty of stand activity and lots of visitors to boot.
Our exhibition review
The event took place at its usual location, Olympia, but we noticed a number of improvements to the layout of the exhibition, including some additional seating areas (although more places to rest aching arms and legs would still be appreciated!), and a new learning area, offering an opportunity for providers to present their wares to visitors in an open arena format. TrainingZONE stumbled on PMA Training doing some de-stressing with willing members of the audience with the aid of T'ai Chi. Some of the business schools were gathered together in one section, perhaps an arrangement that could be developed further.
The prize for the cheeriest exhibitor should go to Robert Moeller at Inspirations, who, having just finished a 10 day NLP masterclass, was looking forward to three days on his feet at the show, followed by another course being run in Aberdeen!
Other interesting exhbitors who caught our eye included The Spontaneity Shop, a training through acting company with an intriguing name; Repute, an organisation offering training and guidance in how to deal with what they call 'reputation risk', and another offering designed to increase 'organisational wellness' from WellKom. Patriot also caught the eye with an armed and gas-masked mannequin, firmly making the point about security.
Assessment tools and evaluation procedures were ubiquitous again, whether as add-ons or as complete products and services.
ILM made a splash, and in general leadership was a more common theme than it has been previously (with Horsejoy as well as more traditional approaches), and there were also a number of offerings on team development.
We were struck by the higher profile of public sector organisations. The DfES's Basic Skills campaign, "Get on", and SSDA Skills for Business are making a real effort to come out and talk to training professionals.
On a lighter note, we were impressed with the level of freebies - among the best, a mug from Investors in People bearing the legend 'I love my work' (surely ironic?), and a very lovely squashy sheep from the people at the Cotswold Conference Centre. Bradenham Manor again made a mark with the light yet delicious brownies, and Rollinsons were more than generous with the wine.
Read our featured interviews with some of the speakers at the conference here.
What were your impressions of the show? Post your comments below.