Pre-school Learning Alliance at Childcare Expo Midlands 2016
19th October 2016
by Dee Davenport, Development Manager
Childcare Expo Midlands is something which I always look forward to in my Autumnal Calendar. It is usually a very busy two days on the stand for me and my willing helpers, but it’s always fun and a great way to meet and talk to practitioners.
The preparations for this event started much earlier in the year when we got our first information from Broadway Events and we started to think about the practicalities of what was needed for the exhibition stand and who would staff the stand for the two days. This preparation work is undertaken by the Pre-school Learning Alliance (Alliance) marketing team, the lead for the event (in this case, me) and the team from Broadway Events.
When we reached the time for the actual event we started with the build-up, which takes place the day before the event opens. This was an exciting time as we saw the stand start as a shell and then with the addition of furniture and promotional materials it became our ‘stage’ for the next two days.
It’s always great to see the hordes of people waiting to get into the event on the first day and then once the announcement that the event is open to then see them stream through the doors and head off in different directions, led by whatever initially grabs their attention.
We, at the Alliance, love this type of event as it gives us the chance to speak face to face with practitioners. We meet lots of interesting new people as well as take the chance to re-engage with people we have met at previous events. It’s always lovely when people come up to us to thank us for signing them up as members, or for giving support and advice to them when they needed it. Some are existing Alliance members and with others we take this fabulous opportunity to discuss the benefits of being a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance. Lots of Alliance members come to tell us how pleased they are with their membership benefits such as our competitive insurance, local support networks and free 24 hour legal cover. With increasing uncertainty across the sector – particularly around funding, the extensive lobbying and campaigning we do on their behalf has become a
big reason why many join us. We always have lots of interesting information to hand out and often some freebies too which are gratefully received. We take our latest discounted publications to sell (we can’t take them all as there are so many) and always have a fabulously generous membership offer for those people who sign up on the day.
This year, we were joined on the Friday by Guy Bennett from EduCare and he was able to talk to visitors to the stand about our fantastic free training offer for members. Usually, the training is available to access for their whole team which saves them thousands in staff professional development costs every year. We are so lucky that we can offer this extremely valuable package of training support to our members and when we talk to members at events such as this they always tell us how great this training is!
After two days, tired and with very sore feet from standing constantly, we packed up the stand and headed home happy in the knowledge that we gave support to lots more practitioners by signing them up as Alliance members while making lots of new connections with both practitioners and fellow professionals at the same time.