THE Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) has reported the best ever attendance at its trade exhibition for the locksmithing and physical security industry.
The bi-annual event, which was staged earlier this month at the International Centre in Telford, had a footfall of 1,536 visitors – 24% up on the previous expo in 2013.
In addition, 398 staff from almost 100 exhibitors from all over the world, including China, Russia and New Zealand were also at the event to showcase the latest security products and services, as well as having a chance to discuss industry trends and take part in training courses.
The attendance figures, provided by third party visitor registration company, QRS, show the MLA Expo, which was being held for the 18th time, was not only Europe’s largest trade exhibition for the locksmithing and physical security industry, but also the biggest MLA Expo since it was first held more than 30 years ago.
MLA development director Dr Steffan George said: “We were delighted with the number of exhibitors, offering a wide variety of products and services.
“With the show being held every two years, we know visitors look forward to it, and a lot attend in order to take advantage of the great show deals available. Hopefully the number attending is also a sign that the economy is starting to pick up.
The class leading training available at the show also entices a lot of people to visit. Training at this year’s event included safe lock picking, lock decoding and picking, consumer regs, marketing, vehicle locks & cloning, electronics, access control and abrasive wheel certification to name but a few.
“MLA Expo is a truly global exhibition involving people from within the wider locksmithing industry, and that was proved once again. It provides a fantastic opportunity for locksmith and security companies and professionals from around the world to come together, network and find out about the latest innovations in the industry. It is the perfect occasion for manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their products and services, network, share knowledge and make new contacts.
“Feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike was phenomenal, with a number commenting on how it had been the best Expo ever. This sort of feedback makes all the hard work involved in putting the show together well worthwhile. We’d like to thank all the exhibitors, our sponsors ERA, all the tutors and mostly everyone who visited.”
A number of newly qualified apprentice locksmiths attended the event, with Skills for Security also exhibiting at the show, as the MLA is striving to secure the future of the industry and ensure locksmithing is seen as a potential career.
ASSA ABLOY – the world’s biggest supplier of locks and security solutions – joined forces with the MLA and Skills for Security – the skills body for the security industry – to support an apprenticeship scheme.
The locksmith apprenticeship was set up in January 2014 with a view to generating the first nationally recognised qualification for the locksmith sector, as well as securing its future by encouraging more young people to consider locksmithing as a profession.