01625 250275 service@cusworth.net

Highest Ever Turnout At MLA Expo 2011

Date: Friday, September 23, 2011
Source: Master Locksmiths Association

The International Centre at Telford was a hub of activity from the 9-11 September as the site of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) Expo 2011.  With an increased number of stands sold and a record level of pre-registrations, it was clear from the outset that this year’s Expo was going to garner unprecedented levels of interest.

With exhibitors and attendees ranging from multinational companies to self-employed locksmiths, from security industry professionals to the police and fire services, all were represented at the MLA’s exhibition. Sponsored by locksmithing tool specialist UAP Tradelocks, Expo visitors had the opportunity to meet suppliers, test products, discuss industry trends, chat with fellow locksmiths and take part in a range of training courses.

Dr Steffan George, development director for the MLA commented that: “This year’s turnout at the Expo was even higher than expected, with a near 20% increase in footfall and a 30% increase in exhibitors overall. The atmosphere was really electric, with business being done, contacts being made and a tangible sense of enthusiasm about our industry. This year’s Expo was particularly positive for exhibitors, with a significant amount of business activity taking place over the full three days and a great buzz in the exhibition hall. Many of the exhibitors I spoke to said it had been their best Expo yet.”

This was seconded by Graham Jones, Managing Director of Multipoint Locks who exhibited throughout the 2011 Expo: “Well, what can we say about the MLA Expo, other than that we can’t wait for 2013. The exhibition far exceeded any targets we had set in terms of both sales and contacts made. We’ve been told by many that we were one of the busiest exhibitors there – and it certainly felt like that!

“The variety of exhibitors meant that there were visitors from across the board from police forces and fire services, to general security engineers and day to day locksmiths. The amount of business that was generated both at the exhibition and in the small number of working days since has been unbelievable, and we hope that there will be plenty more to come. We’d like to say a big thank you to the team at the MLA for such a well planned and thought out exhibition – we couldn’t have asked for anything more…”

This year’s Expo also saw a marked increase in the range and number of training workshops and advice sessions available to visitors, with locksmiths signing up to expand their skills throughout the three days.

Dr Steffan George explained why training is such an integral part of the MLA Expo: “The event exists for the benefit of locksmiths, so having training available is a way of ensuring they get the most out of the show. The MLA is committed to promoting high standards throughout the industry and it is important to us to offer training for our members. The training sessions also provide great networking opportunities and the chance to share expertise. Our training schedule this year was more varied than ever before, looking at issues ranging from auto-locksmithing to access control, safes, UPVC and fire regulations as well as practical business training such as credit control and marketing.”

As well as taking part in training, visitors to the Expo could get actively involved in other ways too. Chris Pankhurst, Sales Director at Tradelocks was delighted with the turnout at the Expo and explained how Tradelocks got people engaged at its stand: “We’ve had a great time at the MLA Expo, with lots of interest in the new tools we’re showcasing, including a new letterbox tool and plug puller. We also got people involved by running an ‘electric pick gun’ competition, where people raced each other to release a lock; encouragingly even those who had never used one of these tools before succeeded. We’re used to trade shows being manic but this Expo took things onto another level.”

Exhibitors across the board were keen to emphasise how important the MLA Expo is as a focal point for meeting with customers. Paul Johnson, Commercial Manager for ASSA ABLOY explained that the Expo presents a great opportunity to speak with self-employed locksmiths who are often hard to engage with face to face due to the mobile nature of their work. Johnson commented on the importance of reaching out to the wider market and that events such as the MLA expo are pivotal in achieving this.

Nick Hill from Burton Safes echoed this view, observing that ‘we’re all here for the same thing – we’re all in the same trade and this is a great way to support each other and meet with the customer base’.

Such positive responses highlight the fact that the MLA Expo is regarded as one of the highlights in the locksmithing calendar and is a must-visit event for professionals from all over the world.

A substantial proportion of the profits made from the 2011 MLA Expo will go towards the development of a nationally recognised locksmithing qualification and apprenticeship framework for the locksmithing profession.  Working alongside the industry skills body Skills for Security (SfS), the MLA has championed the development of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the industry which were the first step of the project and are currently being used as the basis for the next step of the qualification and apprenticeship framework development.

Dr Steffan George is proud that the MLA is at the forefront of this process: “Because the MLA has been heavily campaigning for the legitimisation of the locksmithing profession, we are investing profits made at this year’s Expo towards developing a nationally recognised qualification and formal apprenticeship framework which will help raise standards across the industry and start the process of making locksmithing a “proper job.”

Master Locksmiths Association