In it together

Nickie West
Nickie West

We talk to FIT Show event director, Nickie West, who explains why the Glass Conference, which is scheduled for 16-17 October at Telford International Centre and hosted by the GGF, FIT Show & FENSA, will bring all elements of the industry together for two days of unrivalled networking and learning opportunities. 

GT: What was the inspiration for launching Glass Conference?

Nickie West (NW): The decision to launch Glass Conference was solidified by a culmination of factors. We know that this industry thrives on networking and the conversations, partnerships and inspiration that networking platforms offer. Our 2023 post FIT Show survey reinforced the appetite that the market has for another platform within the industry calendar to allow them to do this, and with a specific link to FIT Show. 

GGF member feedback proposed fewer regional member events and for a broader and more inclusive event for the industry. The successful GGF Members Day and Winter Conference last year prompted discussions for a wider industry event – this was the next logical step. 

Installers, fabricators, systems and components suppliers, glass processors, trade counters, training providers, industry bodies and associations are our target audience. The event we’ve curated will serve the needs of every link in the fenestration supply chain.

GT: How does it differ from previous industry conferences?

NW: Collaboratively, FIT Show, GGF and FENSA are very well placed to deliver the right content, to the right audience and all via a high-quality two-day conference run by event experts. We’ve got access to the best data, built up over several years in the industry, and we each offer a direct route to the markets we serve. 

From a delivery perspective, we have been able to speak directly to the market and develop a two-day programme that reflects their wants and needs, as well as tackling the biggest industry challenges head on. In running the conference at Telford International Centre we’ve managed to secure a venue that will allow us to deliver everything in one place – from the opening keynotes, networking and exhibition element, right through to our networking night. 

I don’t believe there’s ever been a conference platform that has truly served the needs of both the fabricators and installer markets, so that will be a huge point of difference with Glass Conference. We’ve not only curated a learning programme that will serve the needs of the both audiences, but that will facilitate dialogue between them. 

We don’t just want to create debate, our vision is to be a catalyst for actionable change and that is at the heart of every decision we’ve made in launching this event, developing the learning programme, developing the event features and selecting which expert contributors to approach. 

GT: What are the main incentives for installers to attend?

NW: There will be a stream of technical content spearheaded by the experts at GGF and FENSA, but this will be underpinned by sessions which tackle broader themes such as marketing your business, sales, mental health, consumer trends and such like. We understand that there are certain topics that will be of more interest to fabricators than installers, but the proposition we have developed will very much serve the needs of both.

The fact that we are partnering with FENSA means that we have a direct relationship with installers and have created a package that will make Glass Conference an unmissable event for them. FENSA will be taking the lead on their membership benefits for attending the conference, and we’ll be supporting this by delivering the right content to meet their needs. There will also be some onsite training opportunities and a FENSA drop-in facility at the event to help drive knowledge and quality onsite. 

 GT: What can visitors expect in terms of content and networking?

NW: The schedule will include two full days of key notes, seminars and panel debates – all delivered by experts from within and outside of the industry.

We have a dedicated in-house team, headed up by an experienced content programme curator, who is working closely with the team at GGF and FENSA to develop the technical content for the programme. The technical content will be bolstered by the content that we know serves the needs of both fabricators, suppliers and installers – the hot topics that will help them to upskill, operate more profitable businesses and deliver actionable change above and beyond the two-day conference. There are clear breaks in the programme to facilitate networking too. 

At the end of the first day, we’ll be throwing open the doors on our networking night which will do exactly what it says on the tin – create a platform for extended, out of hours networking. We’ve also got a few surprises up our sleeve on the host and entertainment front, but more to come on this over the coming weeks…

Q: What has been the response so far from the industry?

We’re very excited that the likes of Emplas, Secured by Design, MACO, GGR Group, Business Pilot, CAB and Keystone Market Research have all pledged their support early on in the campaign and we’re receiving good levels of interest from a really broad mix of brands from every cross section of the industry.