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Scrounger visits CIPD


Harrogate is one of the conference venues Scrounger really enjoys. It is a delightful Spa town, with a lively centre revolving around many fine restaurants and the usual collection of "Scruffy Slug" theme pubs. It has been running conferences since they were invented, and genuinely welcomes visitors. Mind you, parking is quite appalling, and it was excellent to find the CIPD had arranged a park-and-ride for the show. Around the exhibitors there was a general feeling that visitor numbers overall were good, although it had been a slow start. The new hall M was in use for the first time; unfortunately the old hall (well, cellar really) Q was still in use.

All the serious details of the show can be found on the Training Zone CIPD report. Here Scrounger deals with the really important issues, the "Scrounger" awards for CIPD 2000. Alas, as Scrounger's sponsors have blown the budget on parking in Harrogate for three days, the awards have no monetary value!

The Best Coffee award.
Without a doubt the CIPFA stand in hall Q. The espresso machine was under the capable hands of a specialist trainer. Not just any old trainer; this gent trains coffee bars to use their coffee machines! A lucrative sideline might be in training the same staff not to shout to eachother when less than 2 metres apart! (As usual, the organisers were non-runners).

The most useful gadget award.
This goes to, who had a little blue phone plug that solves the problem of twisted phone leads. Actually, Scrounger had cruised back and forth past the stand for two days before he got one...isn't it funny how when you want them to notice you, they don't, and vice versa? However, take the award from, who held it with their rear-view mirror for computers at HRD 2000.

Most useful literature.
This is from the NACETT stand, who were giving away copies of "Learning Pays - The Bottom Line", which through case studies shows the benefits to companies of training and developing their people. This is a successor report to "Learning works and learning pays", which was simply full of "killer facts" showing starkly the financial benefits to the individual of learning. (There is also a video, which is free through Training Zone.)

NACETT has really got its act together with these two reports, and their direction is right for the times. This is of course exactly when one would expect the government to pull the plug on the operation, and perversely, that is exactly what they have done. NACETT vanishes when the wonderful new LSCs arrive in 2001. Does nobody ever listen to the industry before they muck about with it?

Best take-home freebie for the kids.
The Brucie award for best take-home freebie for the kids. No contest! Change Consultants ENTELEKI in hall M had a supply of big, pink, fairy wands, that twinkle their lights and make magic noises when twirled through the air or tapped on your shoulder. Wheeee! Enteleki take the award from Stepstone, whose jars of pebble shaped sweets were the winners at IPD last year. Stepstone however won the "Easiest offer to refuse" award - Scrounger would never knowingly undergo aromatherapy massage - in public.

"Oh look at that" award
Fish 4's fluffy monster. Takes the award from the Absolutely Fabulous Patsy Look-alike at WOLCE.

Chutzpa award.
Dr Susi Strang, for having a visa machine on the stand to take your money off you before you changed yor mind. SCrounger doesn't like NLP anyway, so wasn't tempted, even by the new corporate identity, and the serious offers of alcoholic coffee. Look out for them next year, but not if you're driving!

Easiest stand to avoid.
Unawarded this year, as there were too many 'dot jobs' exhibitors to decide. Unawarded at WOLCE too; for 'dot learn' sites.

Most conspicuous absence.
Fenman - UKHRD.

Best re-branding of an old friend.
Investors in People's new graphics and new strapline, "People at the heart of business". Investors has been with us for a goodly while now, and it was in need of some re-positioning. The new set of standards gave the impetus, and they have got some more dynamic visual imagery to support them. Investors also gets the award for most useful "post-it" notes, with just the logo in the corner.

Least useful "post-it" notes award.
Although presented in a smart case for the desktop, the notes are so crowded with marketing text that they are virtually useless! Step forward Michelin Pioneering Consulting Group!

Best bag award., part of the Vizual group. A natty little black number just right for the laptop. This is very necessary, because now Scrounger's laptop bag is full of the paper that we were supposed to be doing without, he has been carting the laptop around in a Morrisons carrier bag! Does anyone know how to remove that rubber lettering?

The "I never thought of that" award.
Tucked into hall C (or "the ghetto") I found the winners.
Scrounger play a little travelling game with his daughter called "well, someone has to do it", in which both try to imagine jobs that no-one would ever think of. Like the people who earn their living making the moulds that
are used to create traffic cones, or the company that builds the machine for making cats-eye holes in the road…. Now Scrounger has, on his way to numerous canteens, walked past his share of production lines. These days, they tend to have "team hubs", areas with noticeboards for photos, charts, performance indicators, and so on. Some one has to make this stuff! So a big hand for Radius Design, who make these hubs, complete with brain-storming white boards, information screens, photo displays, the full works. Based in Sudbury, Suffolk, little do they suspect that Scrounger will be descending on them shortly, because factories are such FUN (when you don't have to work in them).

"Thank you ever so much" award.
All the legal firms who stayed away this year.

Best mug award.
Most of the mugs were pretty plain, and in any case Scrounger always insists on a china cup and saucer at his desk. However, one has to have a supply of mugs for washing machine engineers, plumbers, and other tradespersons, so it was nice to find a cheerful one at the Action for Blind People stand. Its very jolly and multicoloured, and takes the award from Xebec McGraw-Hill, who won it last for the thermally insulated mug at HRD 2000.

Most unlikely success story award.
One of the hazards of daughters is the explosion of fluffy toys they create, with the result that parts of their bedroom carpet are left un-vacuumed from their first day on earth until they graduate. Scrounger did not enter the draw for "Sunley Bear", as his daughter has already buried a quarter of her available floor space under fluff and fur. However, for companies who want to start epidemics of mutant toy animals for their employees on maternity leave, Stork Celebrations Limited were showing "hampers" of pink and blue fluffiness which can be delivered in place of the usual flowers.

Most intriguing name award.
Cragrats, the Huddersfield based experiential learning organisation. Every time Scrounger passed, they were full. He was told what the name meant, but forgot. Runner up was the Pregnancy Accreditation Programme - well, One means to say, really! One thought a home test kit was sufficient!

Best give-away pen!
And finally, the keenly contested main award; for the best give-away pen!

Personnel Today made a serious attempt to sway the judges this year, by giving away BOWLfuls of their blue pens. Combined Benefit services had a very good quality pen, slim and elegant in gold and black. The Remploy pen was a strong contender, with the fashionable bulbous body and the rubber grip. Investors in People had a jolly orange pen. An honourable mention goes also to CCE from Norwich, with their high quality blue and gold offering.

But the overall winner has to be CIPFA for their trendy transparent purple and silver pen and pencil sets. Strangely enough, almost opposite CIPFA were the Pregnancy Accreditation Programme - Scrounger was hoping to top the CIPFA offering there, with a pack of three, but no such luck!

All in all, a high standard of entries this year. Roll on HRD 2001.

Scrounger appears regularly in "Modern Management", the Journal for members of ISM.


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