Don’t stop – rethink

Creative and innovative recruitment strategies will be a key focus at the Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) ‘Don’t stop – rethink’ conference on 20 March.

As 70% of the current hospitality workforce is made up of non-Britons and many venues have already witnessed a sharp decline in European applications since the EU referendum, there will be a dedicated session during the full day event at Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury encouraging the sector to collectively take a fresh approach to this worrying trend. 

The hospitality sector is the fourth largest employer in the UK with 4.49m people. But how do we address the skills shortage that People 1st estimated in 2015 would see 993,000 new staff required by 2022 – 870,000 of which will be just replacing existing staff?

Chaired by Jane Sunley – business author and chairman and founder of employee engagement specialists Purple Cubed – the dedicated plenary session will focus on solutions to attracting and retaining talent in the sector.

Sunley will be using her extensive experience as a pragmatic people expert and career guru to challenge the panel, which includes Chris Sheppardson, founder and managing director of executive management and recruitment consultancy Chess Partnership, to discuss and equip delegates with practical solutions.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “Recruitment remains a key focus for the mia, as developing and maintaining talent in the sector is imperative to ensure it remains innovative, is at the forefront of best practice and achieves business performance. Face-to-face meetings are essential, as the organic growth of great leaders requires support and forums such as the mia conference as well as trade events like Confex which offer the platform to share knowledge and ideas and deliver answers.”

Trevor Williams, professor of economics and finance at Derby University and member of the Institute of Economic Affairs Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC), will open the conference, open to both mia members and non-members.

In what is expected to be an enlightening and engaging keynote, professor Williams will put the current economic forecast into context and share what he believes the impact will be as we enter a post-Brexit era.

Other dedicated plenary sessions delivered by industry experts and entrepreneurs will examine making the most of the opportunities offered post-Brexit and safeguarding and security, while the panel discussions will cover increasing conversions and revenue at little cost and procurement. 

The emerging trends to look out for on social media will be examined in a session chaired by Martin Fullard, deputy editor of Conference News, the official media partner of the event. 

Delegates are promised a rousing closing address from motivational speaker Richard Newman of specialist training company Body Talk, who intends to send away delegates feeling energised and inspired to implement creative solutions.

Longhurst adds: “We are excited by the high calibre of speakers that we have attracted to speak and share their knowledge at the conference and who will cover the topics important to our industry and equip delegates with the practical skills to take a fresh approach. The UK’s leading event for organisers of both national and international events International Confex is already confirmed as a Gold sponsor and Wedding Dates is a Bronze sponsor.”

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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