The 4th annual Construction, Manufacturing & Engineering Expo opened its doors to delegates at its new home of the Kent Event Centre, Detling on Wednesday 8th October. The day featured keynote speakers across the 2 events offering industry specific sessions aimed at sharing knowledge and helping businesses address key issues that they are facing.
Alongside the busy exhibitor halls the Construction Expo offered free Meet the Buyer appointments; with many of the countries leading contractors such as Wilmott Dixon, Kier and Taylor Wimpey taking part offering local businesses the opportunity to talk with decision makers these appointments were soon fully booked out for the day. Attendees commented that these appointments offered a great, and rare, opportunity to speak with key people from large contractors – helping to bridge the gap between smaller local firms and national contractors. A key workshop led by CompeteFor took this theme one step further, looking at how local firms can gain a place in the supply chain of major developments such as HS2 and CrossRail.
Paramount Project update
Undoubtedly one of the busiest sessions of the day was the Paramount Resort keynote speech with London Resort Company Holdings Fenlon Dunphy updating the audience on the progress of the project. Along with discussing the changing timescales, he also tackled the issue of transport and infrastructure issues that have been raised through the initial consultation process. Whilst the company has already outlined plans to boost the local road/transport infrastructure and transport visitors via the Thames, Mr Dunphy also hinted that they might appeal to the Government to consider extending the CrossRail project to Ebbsfleet meaning that it could accommodate not only the Paramount Project but also the proposed Ebbsfleet Garden City.
Tackling key issues
Whilst talk in construction was of the great project opportunities that the South East is currently experiencing, the Manufacturing & Engineering Expo looked at some great British manufacturing successes and how businesses have adopted innovative apprenticeship schemes in order to meet their current and future, predicted skills shortages. Will Butler-Adams, Managing Director of Brompton Bicycles spoke of the development of Brompton Bicycles and its on-going success, whilst a number of the workshops and seminars focused on how to develop a skilled, appropriate workforce for the future.
The events are in their fourth year and have seen delegate and exhibitor numbers increase year on year. Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, who run the Expo commented “returning in October 2015, at the same venue, these events will once more offer local, regional and national businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services alongside offering a conference programme that aims to inform, inspire and tackle regional and national sector specific issues.”