The extracts below have been documented by a comitee member. To say it’s all go when there’s a big conference is an under statement. It’s busy busy busy leading up to any conference but here’s the views of one of the comitee members that I’d like to share with you.
So now it’s all over and the dust has settled, it’s time to write about the NJC Annual Conference. For me it was the culmination of a seemingly never-ending stream of emails, “Can you add this to the conference page on the website?”, “Can you move this about on the website?”, so there’s now a brief period of respite before we must start putting the official photos on the website, and then it will start all over again getting ready for next years!
I checked into the Copthorne Hotel late on the Saturday afternoon, unlike many on the Committee who had to travel quite a distance, it’s only about a 50-minute trip for me, so I had time to pack in some lessons with my Learners in the morning and early afternoon before setting off. I traveled down with two colleagues of mine, Piers from 360 Driver Training and Mike from Wanna Drive Well http://wannadrivewell.co.uk/driving-schools-swansea.html We was going to the event so I thought it made sense to car share. When I got there, I thought the hotel facilities were excellent and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of coming next year, but this isn’t a trip advisor review so I’ll move on.
Freshening up after my grueling drive I headed, naturally to the bar – to catch up with some of the other committee members. They’d been hard at work setting up dining area for the evening reception and meal. It was great to meet in person, many of the ADIs and members I’ve only corresponded with in Facebook or email, and catch up with the other GC members, and ADI’s I’ve worked with previously on various contracts face to face as well.
During the meal, Sue suddenly appeared and asked Matt and myself to be ready between 6 to 6.30 the following day. I thought that might have been a bit late in the evening personally, but apparently, she meant AM not PM! I duly surfaced at 6.30am, to pitch in where I could with the remainder of the setup and see if I could hunt down some coffee. Round about 8am a steady stream of delegates started to arrive, and mingle around the trade standards and it wasn’t too long before the event kicked off. It started with Lynne’s “Grey Elephant” routine and I did hear the odd muttering, close by from delegates who came up with a different answer! What did you come up with if you were there? Then it was straight into Neil’s bottle of whisky – (Figuratively, unfortunately not literally), although I did ask him a couple of times for a “Wee Dram” but he wasn’t forthcoming!
With the opening ceremony complete it was straight into the speakers. Finding a selection of speakers, that will be of interest to delegates at an event like this within a narrow subject area will always be a challenge, but here the balance was just right. The main event was always going to be the DVSA open forum, and they answered a wide variety of questions from the audience ranging from issues at local test centres, to the new driving test and part 3. Their hour flew by and If anything, the DVSA section wasn’t long enough. Fortunately, they were scheduled just before a break, and the speakers stayed to mingle and answer further questions from any delegates that approached them. Another excellent speaker was Nick Croft, chairman of AIRSO with his talk “Points or Prison”, sharing details of some of the legal cases involving motorists who have tried to avoid fixed penalties.
There was also an excellent selection of trade stands, I spoke with most of the businesses and even made the odd purchase myself! Since being involved in the industry, I’ve been to several ADI Events, but this was certainly the biggest, and with the best programme and organisation. Then it was time to go home – Well for the delegates but the rest of us had to stay behind and clear up afterwards, followed by another grueling 50-minute drive for me, (before having to come that way again the Monday morning to teach a fleet course).