APSE's annual Facilities Management seminar takes place in Chester and I manage to attend the dinner and second day of presentations.
Missed the first day as I attended a Show Racism the Red Card event at Old Trafford in Manchester but clear links exist between the two events. The issues of healthy eating and tackling racism are partially aimed at the same audience - schoolkids. Joint working would probably reap joint benefit, with football personalities a big hit with schoolkids and their potential involvement / endorsement of school meals services likely to help with uptake levels.
Mark Bramah and myself run a 90 minute slot on Commissioning for a group of 20 or so future local government political leaders on Saturday afternoon in Manchester. They appear to enjoy it and their interaction makes things more energising for Mark and myself rather than just lecturing them with APSE's position.
London's the venue for the Construction Youth Trusts Diversity Strategic Group. The 5.30am start leaves me on that fine line between wanting to make the most effective use of my time and being grumpy.
Early exchanges in the meeting focus on the problem - the construction industry has a White, male, ageing workforce and the demographics suggest that the normal recruitment base is diminishing dramatically, with half a million less 16 to 18 year olds come 2017. So the problem of lack of opportunity for females and black and minority ethnic workers in the industry is not just a moral issue any more but also a crucial one in the future battle for employees.
A busy few days for me on planet APSE with a seminar at City of Manchester Stadium on how local authorities can best respond to the challenges that the recession is throwing at them. We call it "Economy, efficiency and effectiveness", obvious I know but it's still the overarching best value duty placed on local authorities by the Local Government Act 1999.
Go across to Stockport today to meet APSE's main contact Nick Cox. Nick as Managing Director, set up SK Solutions, Stockport Council's arms length trading company.
Nick brings me up to speed with what they are hoping to achieve as a wholly owned council company and sets out their ambitous business growth targets.