The Education Forum

 Unlike any other event in the industry; the Education Forum has established itself as an unparalleled platform to network, learn, share and engage amongst the industry’s best. Over its 12 year lifespan, the Education Forum has become a key player within the industry, providing the ideal platform for senior professionals and suppliers to get together to discuss relevant business solutions.

Held annually, this year’s Education Forum took place on the 16th and 17th November at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted. Over the course of a day and a half, attendees have the opportunity to network with professionals from the education industry to discuss relevant business solutions. Effortlessly bringing together buyers and suppliers – the event acts as a bridging tool within an industry dominated by cold-calling.

Academies, colleges, universities, schools and many more; the Education Forum hosts a plethora of delegates involved in the procurement of products and services within their respective organisations. This year attending delegates included representatives from the University of Cumbria, University of Worcester, St. George's, University London, Langley School, BEMAT.

Providing the ideal foreground for suppliers to showcase their products and services – the Education Forum brings supplier’s brands to life with customised pop-up stalls; ensuring the crucial first encounter with potential business partners runs smoothly. Chosen based upon the requirements of delegates, this year’s suppliers offered a diverse range of products and services. Every, ICI Paints Akzonobel, Claremont Group Ltd and Delabie were among many suppliers that joined us for the event. Using a unique formula; the Education Forum then matches delegates and suppliers based on their business requirements – resulting in long-lasting business relationships.

The Education Forum’s extensive selection of returning suppliers and delegates serves as a testament to that – many having attended the event during its early days. All returning suppliers have confirmed contracts through attending previous events and all returning delegates have found suitable suppliers to carry out projects within their establishments. As exemplified by Keith Davies, Facilities Manager of Northgate High School who has become a regular attendee at the Education Forum for the past seven years:

“I’ve been using contractors that I met at the first event still at school and over the years there are five particular contractors which do regular work at the school.”

With a personalised itinerary packed with meetings, seminars and plenty of networking opportunities; both suppliers and delegates had a busy two days ahead of them. This year’s event kicked off with two seminars; one presented by Jack Salter, the Head of Commercial Policy at the Department for Education, the other presented by Heather Mitchell both keeping attendees up-to-date with current legislation surrounding public spending and employment law.

After a couple of educational seminars, it was time for some face-to-face meetings – the event’s unique selling point. Providing the ideal platform for delegates and suppliers within the industry to collaborate; the Education Forum stands out within an industry heavily dominated by exhibitions. Face-to-face meetings have become a breath of fresh air in today’s competitive work environments where cold-calling has become somewhat a given. Delegates and suppliers got together for a set of focused 25-minute meetings; not only avoiding the time-consuming task of approaching each other individually but also providing the ideal foundation for a positive business partnership.   

Later on at the Education Forum, attendees had a choice between a seminar and an interactive case study. Rob Coulthard, Managing Director of Judgement Index shed light on increasing performance quality and reducing risk. While Mark Brown from the Learning Escape and Paul Madia from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School presented a case study focusing on the impact of a bespoke eco-building within a learning environment. All in all, our seminar speakers shed wisdom on a range of topics concerning the education industry; keeping attendees up-to-date with industry advances.

After a long day; it was time for a short break before pre-dinner drinks by the infamous wine tower of the Radisson Blu. Shortly, everyone came down in their best wear; ready to mingle and see the evening through. Conversations and wine glasses flowing - everyone was having a ball. The Education Forum hosts an annual Gala Dinner allowing guests to get to know each other a little bit better over a delicious 3-course meal. The evening was topped off with a fun money casino! All battling to win a bottle of champagne; the competition was fierce! In the end, the winner was a regular at the Education Forum, George Barrett from Altro.

The next day, we were all up bright and early – ready for some more face-to-face meetings, seminars and networking. We had the lovely Louise Hosking from Hosking Associates start the day off with a two-part seminar on the CDM process. Then it was time for another series of face-to-face meetings and some much needed coffee breaks! A lot of positive interaction went on during the final business meetings of the day – everyone pleased with the contacts they had made. We had a final networking lunch and before we knew it, it was time to go back to the office but this time armed with a handful of useful contacts.

Each event is a unique demonstration of the Education Forum’s expertise and dedication – making it an unparalleled event within the industry. Face-to-face meetings, industry-specific seminars, networking lunches, drinks, a gala dinner and a casino – the Education Forum provides endless networking opportunities; not only ensuring that attendees leave the event with new relevant business partners but also that they have a good time.

Event Manager, Katie Tompsett comments:

“I was very pleased with the turnout at this year’s Education Forum – I’ve had some fantastic feedback from both my suppliers and delegates which makes all hard work worthwhile! Here’s to another great one in 2016!”

For next year’s event we can expect an array of new suppliers providing innovative products and services which hold increasing importance within the dynamic industry.

If you missed our Education Forum this year; the next event is taking place on 21st & 22nd November 2016 at Whittlebury Hall, Northampton. To register your interest for the next event, please click here

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