Setting the tone

Thanks for everyone who made it to the SAPCA Conference at the wonderful St George’s Park National Football Centre. I think I speak for all when I say that the venue delivered again, providing a fantastic backdrop for the conference and setting the tone for a high-quality event which hopefully delivered something for everybody.

Speaking of setting the tone, I don’t think anyone was left cold by the opening session, delivered by the motivational whirlwind that is Brad Burton. It is sometimes good to be reminded of all the little – as well as the big – things we can do to improve our businesses. It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day chores and tasks we all must deal with, to keep our businesses running. Hopefully Brad’s examples of ways to take stock and see “the bigger picture” will resonate with plenty of members.

His challenge to us – to really think about the direction of our businesses – was neatly reflected in the other sessions during the day. We were offered plenty of options to do a bit of future gazing, as well as insight into what might lay ahead for the built sports and play environments. Tom Jones showed us what advanced facility design looks like, while Professor David James gave us a look at the latest innovations in the areas of elite sport performance and physical activity.

There was also the launch of what I believe is a very important initiative – the Women in SAPCA group. Set up to support the careers and future progression of women within sport and play construction, it will provide a much-needed platform to aid the professional development of women in our sector. It will also hugely strengthen SAPCA’s work to promote the importance and benefits of equality and diversity within the workplace. Ensuring that we have a diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do – it makes sense from a business point of view. There is plenty of evidence to show that diversity leads to more innovative thinking within businesses.

As there has now been a bit of time to reflect on the conference, I would invite all of those who attended to offer us your feedback on the event. It’s always great to find out which aspects members find most useful – and whether there are any areas we should look to improve.

I extend the call for feedback to those members who didn’t attend, too! Is there anything we can do – perhaps through conference programming – to encourage you to attend next year?

If you could spare a few minutes to complete our survey we can use the information gathered to make the next Conference better than ever. Take the survey here.

About Andy Reed

SAPCA Chairman until the end of 2020.