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Scottish Wholesale Association Conference Rallies Membership Under New CEO

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Scottish Wholesale Association Conference Rallies Membership Under New CEO

Scottish Wholesale Association Conference Rallies Membership Under New CEO
June 06
07:49 2019

Making the wholesale industry ‘an attractive sector in which to work by creating a legacy that inspires the next generation’ is now the focus of the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA), according to the organisation’s new chief executive, Colin Smith (pictured above).

Making the statement at the annual SWA conference at Crieff Hydro last week, Mr Smith – who assumed full responsibility for the association last December- emphasised that training, business building, lobbying and legislation will be at the forefront of the trade organisation’s revitalisation: ‘Wholesalers deliver almost £3bn a year to Scotland’s economy and while we are a huge industry, wholesale outlets have halved in the past 15 years,’ he said. ‘That is why we need input from our members – wholesalers and suppliers – to ensure our trade association remains relevant and vibrant.

‘A stronger association gives us a louder voice and a much bigger opportunity for growth and change.’

L-R: Colin Smith, Chieh Huang and Julie Dunn

Underlining the fact that the creation of a specialist wholesalers’ training academy will enhance skills, raise standards and promote the sector as a viable career path, he added: ‘This is about creating a highly trained workforce in Scotland, where staff aren’t mere box-shifters; they are skilled, motivated people who represent the future leaders of our industry,’ he added.

As part of their aim to launch SWA-accredited apprenticeships, a redesigned mentoring programme and to provide a modern academy that ‘transcends online as well as face-to-face training,’ Smith and his colleagues insist that collaboration with other trade associations and stakeholders will form a key component of the SWA’s work in future.

In addition to the SWA sitting on the national board that oversees the delivery of Ambition 2030, [which aims to boost the value of Scottish food tourism to £30bn], Scotland Food and Drink, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) all attended last week’s conference to showcase the collaboration between the different parties.

Marc Crothall, STA CEO

SWA President, Julie Dunn

Meanwhile, SWA President, Julie Dunn, of Lanarkshire-based Dunns Food and Drinks, urged members and delegates to get more involved in shaping the association’s strategic vision: ‘The three Cs  – collaboration, consultation and communication – will ensure our members, their interests, needs and future success are protected under membership of the SWA,’ she said. ‘However, members must get involved with the association in order to help it move forward. ‘We need you to participate,’ she added.

I ask you all to consider the association when you are building your succession planning. Look beyond your own commitments when we hold events and ask yourself who within your business might benefit from attending?’

Elsewhere at the conference, a producers’ exhibition, organised in partnership with Scotland Food and Drink, brought together 20 local producers and suppliers to meet key buyers, decision-makers and member wholesalers.

Entitled What’s Next?, this year’s SWA conference attracted industry leaders, entrepreneurs and senior executives from all corners of the wholesale supply chain. Speakers included Bestway Wholesale’s Dawood Pervez, Matthew Clark’s Regional MD, Iain McPherson, and Chieh Huang, chief executive of the US-based online wholesaler, Boxed. (pictured below).

Other speakers over the weekend included: Paul Miller, co-founder Eden Mill distillery and brewery (pictured below-left); Ross Mackay, co-founder of Daring Foods, a Glasgow-based start-up selling plant-based meat alternatives; Nigel Holmes, chief executive of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and Glenn Tunstall, a former Metropolitan Police borough commander and now director of Merida Consulting.

Paul Miller, co-founder of Eden Mill distillery



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Catering Scotland

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