Secretary Note – December

And finally, it has arrived, the end of 2020 and for many, it will be a year of not looking back!  And although this year has been turbulent, to say the least, focusing on the good has made us all more resilient and open to change which sets us in a good mindset for 2021 with expecting  ……  the unexpected and embracing new challenges that come our way.

My trip down south to Otago, Southland, and Central was certainly rewarding and challenging at times, to say the least …. 2 flights, 8 towns, over 500km of driving, and 17 sign shop visits.  But as I drove from street to street or town to town, the moments I enjoyed the most was the welcome I received from everyone I visited, so much positivity and a real sense of both relief and excitement as many head into a busy period, but also looking forward with plans and future goals for next year and beyond.  The common theme in every sign shop I visited – large or small was that they were flat out, and the technical signee term was that they were “being slammed”.

By visiting the many member’s sign shops gave me a better understanding of their work environment and culture, what is important to them and their businesses and what industry knowledge or services they need more guidance or help with.  Almost 95% of the members and non-members that I saw advised that training and/or courses were top of their lists, specifically application training.  They advised that not many courses are available in the deep south and all are desperate to have them.  Secondly, they said that there is a desperate lack of skilled and experienced sign makers.  This is an issue nationwide and so my message was, that we need to start training our own, which can be done easily with our own NZSDA Industry recognized Signee Training programme, and the best bit is that it is ready now!  It was also great to see and hear that there were several apprenticeships being carried out at various sign shops and in some instances more than one!

It was almost certain that my trip was well worth it for me and the Association, I absolutely loved the scenery, the townships I drove through and visited, and mostly the awesome people that welcomed me with big smiles.  Let us all enjoy our Christmas and holiday break this year so that we are ready to take on 2021.  Whatever next year may bring, I know our industry is ready for it!