Conference Confirms First Choice Group's Outstanding Reputation

09 November 2016

Martin D

This year’s Catering Equipment Technical Conference affirmed First Choice Group’s status as the UK’s leading supplier of spare parts for the catering industry … and much more besides.

Jointly organised by the industry’s trade associations CEDA and CESA, the two-day conference, held this year at Nottingham Belfry, puts an annual spotlight on technical and policy issues and is regarded as the best business content and networking event of its kind.

First Choice Group Director John Whitehouse was joined at the event by Refrigeration Manager, Steve James, National Sales Manager, Neil Vincent and Technical Training Manager, Martin Dagnall. John Scott, First Choice Group’s Commercial Manager, chaired proceedings in his role as Director of CEDA.

Throughout the conference Steve conducted a number of surgeries where he discussed pending changes to refrigeration regulations while Martin addressed delegates on the training and recruitment challenges facing the industry.

“We have the knowledge and this event was a great opportunity for us to share it,” said Steve.
“It was a great experience and networking opportunity, giving First Choice extra exposure for having industry expertise and the highest levels of professionalism.

“We were able to reach potential new customers, meaning growth over the coming 12-months is more or less assured.”

Martin, who heads-up the company’s training division, Combico, took the opportunity to showcase First Choice Group’s new service engineer training and ACS assessment facility (specially tailored for the catering equipment industry).

“As a speaker, I was able to promote training here at First Choice Group and demonstrate how we aim to raise skill levels among engineers in the industry,” he said.

“The gas industry is, currently, finding it hard to attract new engineers and the current experts are of an ageing generation. But with things like our new apprenticeship scheme we are making a career in catering engineering more attractive, more accessible and more practical than ever before – and to a wider audience.

“During the conference I was made very aware of how our industry is embracing technology, in fact, we are becoming much more technology dependant because of how it is influencing the development of the equipment and systems being used.

“But technology also allows us to develop improved, more practical, training. People are already showing a distinct preference for video communication over the written word, they find it more direct, more informative and easier to dissect.
“Critique sheets handed out after these training sessions provide us with the comments and feedback we need to evaluate our training packages in to continue to develop them, their appeal, content and value, in conjunction with CEDA and CESA. The biggest challenge we face is in how we monitor the development of candidates once they have completed their training."

Meanwhile, National Sales Manager Neil felt the conference confirmed First Choice Group’s number one industry status.
“There was a big First Choice presence to occupy the customers,” he said.

“First Choice’s work within CESA and CEDA gave us a majority of the coverage and focus throughout the day. That said, there is no doubt competition is increasing and competitors are getting much better with embracing and using technology!

“And while some may quite rightly say that a current lack of trained engineers casts an uncertain cloud over potential future growth in the industry, sharing and enforcing knowledge about the interconnecting world - how we need to use smart technology for the future – provided a certain degree of confidence.”

Published : 09 November 2016 10:07