Merchanting’s Got Talent

All the young dudes 
Carry the news 

It’s that time of year again when I form part of the judging panel for the BMJ/BMF Young Achiever Awards.

Now in their fifth year, the awards were launched to celebrate and highlight the huge amount of talent that lies in our businesses, and not only at the most obvious, high-profile part of the businesses either. The winners will be announced at the Awards evening at BMF Members Day on September 20.

Whether it’s in the marketing department, the yard, the trade counter, the back-office or out on the road, the ability and commitment of some of the younger recruit to the industry never fails to impress me.

This year, happily, we have more entries than ever before and they are of as higher a calibre as any of the previous years.

The task of the judging panel is not an easy one and it’s made more difficult with every entry; each nomination manage to bring something new for us to discuss and try and whittle down to the short-list and then the final winners.

It’s always a tough choice; pretty much every entrant clearly has some spark about them that has persuaded someone in the company to put them forward for recognition. It’s also a very rewarding task, an inspiring one.

The industry has changed massively in the 25 years (Goodness where has the time gone?) I have been involved in it but some things stay the same: the enthusiasm and the passion of people working in it to make a difference for their businesses, to their customers, to their suppliers.

The fact that this commitment is evident in the younger people coming through is good news for the future of the sector, despite the pace of change. Maybe because of the pace of change. We just have to ensure that not only do we recognise, nurture and reward that talent when we find it, but we also try and develop it. The hard part is making sure there are the roles for emerging talent to move into, without simply chucking out the experience at the top of the tree.  So many of the skills that younger entrants to the market are learning are transferrable – that’s the way the industry is moving, so it’s vital that we keep them in this industry. And that means bringing on new branches or new divisions for them to develop into. Not that simple when you’re also trying to make every penny count, but investment in people means investment in their future in the industry. It means investment in the future of the industry itself.


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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