The attendance of the event (conference) was just about 50/50 being public sector and private sector with a few freelance and independent consultants thrown in for good measure.
Of the exhibition itself, my observations are that there are a large number of venues offering their services, a few instrument or profile/ psychometric providers, one book store and one store to buy your training resources. Half a dozen firms that offer tools or 'kits' to use in your own learning events (Jigsaw and MTA etc) and one or two film organisations (Scott Bradbury). There were a number of large scale open course providers and some of the professional bodies representing the industry.
So who was missing?
The big providers that are at HRD - Video Arts, shl etc. Does this impact this event - NO in fact it makes the whole event a little more realistic for the 'typical' Learning and Development function.
Now are the 'big boys' not at WOL because they focus their budget on one or two big events or do they not feel the audience is not right for them? The people that I spoke to on the stands seemed happy with the quality of the leads they were getting - OK not huge numbers - but this type of exhibition is not a numbers game - it is the quality of the lead that is important. Interesting two I spoke to said that while they were regulars at HRD they would not, and had not signed up for 2009 (maybe the move to Excel is turning people off?) but would be back at World of Learning next year - earlier in September!
So WOL gets earlier and CIPD (a move to Manchester from Harrogate) gets later... it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. He has been involved in HR, OD and strategic development for over 20 years. He can be contacted via www.rapidbi.com/
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