With Chipping Norton School hailing it as “invaluable both in saving time and targeting the right solution”, the Education Facilities Forum’s balance of content and relevant attendees has established it as a premier event for those involved in creating and maintaining educational facilities.
Now in its twelfth year, the event offers a well-structured use of time for all concerned, where all attendees are provided with a personalised itinerary that only targets services selected in advance and which gives a highly focused 36-hours of face-to-face meetings with relevant suppliers.
The forum, which took place at Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire on 17 and 18 November 2014, brought together key business managers, bursars, facilities managers and estates directors to review potential suppliers, network with each other as well as offering an opportunity for those working across the education sector to gain a better understanding of the reasons why they should invest in new or updated methods and technology and to find the most appropriate solutions for their facilities
The key decision makers in attendance had the chance to explore solutions with a wide variety of service providers including furniture, security, maintenance, lighting, cleaning, information and communications technology, flooring, halls of residence, catering, and building initiatives.
Security specialists Assa Abloy, for example, took the opportunity to showcase two of its business units and displayed a range of tailored solutions for the education market.
While providing an opportunity to learn directly – and free of charge (food and accommodation included!) – from such noted service providers, the event was more than your usual B2B networking event or expo. With its carefully selected list of suppliers and delegates, it was representative of the sector’s decision makers, as evidenced by some of the keynote speakers in attendance.
Architect Michál Cohen, for example, moderated a session on ‘How to design the perfect learning environment’. As co-founder and Director of Walters & Cohen Architects, Michál is one of the country’s leading architects in the education sector, with more than 18 schools completed or currently underway – and was joint winner with her business partner Cindy Walters of Architects’ Journal inaugural Woman Architect of the Year Award in 2012.
And it was precisely because of their reputation for being “role models for aspiring architects”, that Cohen was such a good fit for the Education Facilities Forum audience of bursars and decision makers.
Also in attendance to was Louise Hosking, managing director of health and safety consultants Hosking Associates, who hosted a session on ‘Top tips for SHE [safety, health and the environment] procurement’.
“The person at the top of any organisation is ultimately responsible for the way in which safety, health and sustainability is managed. Schools are no exception,” outlined Hosking. “When it comes to SHE, schools need to be armed with the right information, and they need to have a better understanding of how to buy smartly.”
Philip Clayden, director and co-founder of Green Unit Limited, moderated a discussion on the need for innovative approaches to modular construction as more and more organisations are recognising the need for eco energy-efficient buildings that address the challenge of climate change.
Planning is already underway for Education Facilities Forum 2015. To find out more email Katie Kingsbury at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01992 374094.