Lessons from amerimold 2013 – Part 2: Bring the Kids

One of the really good ideas I heard discussed at the amerimold 2013 tradeshow and conference last week involved making the show “kid friendly.” We can all acknowledge that one of the biggest problems facing the North American moldmaking industry at the present time is the “skills gap.” Further, there is a strong consensus that one of the main reasons for this gap is a shortage of young people entering the trade.

 

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One of the really good ideas I heard discussed at the amerimold 2013 tradeshow and conference last week involved making the show “kid friendly.” We can all acknowledge that one of the biggest problems facing the North American moldmaking industry at the present time is the “skills gap.” Further, there is a strong consensus that one of the main reasons for this gap is a shortage of young people entering the trade.
So it occurs to me that one way to address this shortage would be to invite young people to the tradeshow and conference. Then we could show them all of the cool and exciting stuff that is happening in the moldmaking industry, and let them talk directly to moldmakers and shop owners. This is a routine practice at the large and successful Euromold show.

There were two reasons offered for why we do not have more kids attending amerimold. First, somebody said that kids under the age of 18 were not allowed on the show floor for insurance reasons. I have not verified this as being factual, but it does seem plausible. It also seems very easy to change. Insurance companies and their policies exist to serve us, not the other way around. If we want to have young people at the show, then we can simply ask for an insurance policy that will accommodate this. It might cost a bit more, but I believe any additional cost can be justified by the opportunity to meet and recruit future mold makers.

The other reason offered was that the people working the booths do not want to waste their time answering questions from kids who are not there to purchase something. It seems that there is this notion that students (re: prospective employees) do not qualify as “good leads.” Apparently, these kids will eat all of your free candy, take all of your free merchandise, and get in the way of your real customers.
This may all be true, but keeping kids away from the show seems short-sighted to me. There are other industries out there that are actively recruiting young people. There are many colleges that do not offer a single class in the industrial arts that are aggressively marketing their programs to kids. There are college fairs and job fairs where kids can meet representatives and ask questions.

We need to figure out a way to make time for young people at our tradeshow. People who are already in this industry need to feel comfortable about bringing their families. We all must take the time and spend the money to make an investment in the future of this industry.
 

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