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In the spirit of CROSSHIRE Paddy’s Motorbike explains why he is so eagerly looking forward to the Show. ALL SET FOR THE SHOW


Well, even I have to admit that it’s a depressing prospect when you wake up at this time of the year and it’s dark and cold outside. You travel to work in the dreary dark, then after a hard day’s work it’s back home in the gloom. However, there is that definite glimmer of light to look forward to, an escape from the norm, and a welcome change from the daily routine: yes, the Executive Hire Show at the Ricoh Arena in February.


Visitors to some exhibitions think of such events as a skive or an easy day off, but the situation is very different for me. As an independent hirer with a lean team, I have to find an additional member of staff to cover the shop so that a number of us can go along to the Show. I remember the first time I took our depot manager, nicknamed Longpod, with me and how excited he was to go, clearly thinking that an easy day lay ahead of him. Little did he know!


I attend every year and I do like to plan ahead, so the first thing I always do well in advance is to take a good look at the floor plan. Next, I consider which suppliers I want to see


and what equipment may take my interest. I like to see what deals are available on the day as I will normally have quite a shopping list.


Then there is the early start to get to Coventry. After all, who wants to miss the free bacon roll and coffee? So, ready to get going with list in one hand and hot drink in the other, we start heading to the first call on my list. On the occasion of Longpod’s first visit, within a few hours the poor old fellow’s feet were aching, resulting in two breaks for a sit down and a coffee well before lunchtime. “Not quite the easy day you had in mind, then?” I asked, with a cheesy grin across my face. All he could do was give a resounding nod in reply.


This year will be the twelfth Show, and I find it impressive that it is still growing after more than a decade. Let’s all remember, it’s our Show for us tool hire professionals. It is where we can get ahead of the game and find innovation, the new must-have, and physically handle the equipment, not just looking at it in a brochure or on a website. See you there!


HELP FROM HERACLES


I thought it was about time we took on an apprentice after a school leaver came into our depot looking for work. You don’t see many young people come into the hire business now, and, with my fitters nearing retirement age, I considered it would be wise to start thinking about training a replacement.


So, with a college course all organised and my fitters passing on their wisdom (cough, cough) we set about his employment. Now, let’s say he looked as though he weighed about 7 stone wet through, and with his constant references to his strength (or lack of), it took no time at all before Mr Happy, our driver, nicknamed him Heracles. Looking at him with his drainpipe jeans and his new size 10 steel cap boots, he reminded me of a 7 iron golf club.


We are getting him familiar with the hire software, and it turns out he will probably be better than me on it soon, and I have been using it for years. However, it is the simple things he tends to get wrong. For example, after he took a phone call,


he told me I could off-hire the mixer. “Whose mixer?” I asked. “John’s,” came the reply. A little confused, I pushed him for a little more information, like who exactly John was, which company he worked for, and where to collect the mixer.


So how do you help a teenager to understand that, after all that schooling, they still know very little when it comes to the real world of work? If only there was a course that taught them real life skills like common sense, or how to use your initiative. I am sure it would be more useful than some A level grades on a bit of paper. And let’s not forget the most important lesson we can pass on to further their education: how to make a decent cuppa.


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