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Locked into 2013

Comment on the year 2012, by Dr Steffan George, pictured, development director for the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) – an eventful year for all of us in the security industry, he writes. The Olympics and changes in legislation on squatting are just a couple of the issues.

At the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) we have been incredibly busy ourselves – work towards launching a nationally recognised qualification and apprenticeship scheme has been ongoing and we have had major input into the content of the qualification, with Skills for Security and the MLA’s chosen awarding body HABC due to officially launch both the apprenticeship and qualification next year.

Furthermore we have significantly invested in our website to create a more user friendly site to enable customers to find a reputable locksmith in their local area. In addition to providing a more customer-focused front our new site provides simple yet effective advice on domestic and commercial security, making it a one stop shop for security advice.

Sadly we are still hearing reports of scam operations who are positioning themselves as MLA members or using the names and addresses of genuine local firms despite not being in the area they claim to be – our new website, PR and marketing activity as well as work with third parties such as Trading Standards, aims to combat this and prevent the general public from being taken in by rogue traders.

Twenty-twelve has seen us continue a sustained PR campaign which promotes the importance of security and the benefits of MLA members to both consumer and business audiences – commissioned articles range from health press (Caring Times, Learning Disability Practice) to Property (GSPC, Property Investor Today, Landlord Zone) to consumer press (J Life, Your Home, Real Home, The Sunday Mirror) and trade (Public Sector Build Journal, Building Engineer, The Jeweller, Retail Digital.)

Furthermore our security regular column has been highly successful in press all over the country and regularly features in publications including Yorkshire Post, The Wells Journal, Derby Telegraph, Coventry Telegraph, The Newcastle Journal, Nottingham Evening Post and The Lincolnshire Echo to name just a few.

The year also saw the successful launch of a new membership category for practicing locksmiths which has seen great take up by those who meet the criteria. We also enjoyed record retention rates evidentially the significant benefits of being an MLA member are proving their worth.

In 2012 we have seen more regional training and member events than ever before, allowing members to get first hand advice and build up relationships and even partnerships with fellow locksmiths with a shared interest.

Twenty-thirteen is shaping up to be another busy year for all at the MLA with further work on search engine optimisation to the website and even more information and articles offering security advice on a wide range of issues to consumers. In addition we are developing an e-newsletter campaign which we aim to launch in 2013 to offer members, partners, customers and the media alike regular updates on security matters, MLA news and topical industry updates.

We will also be working on developing yet more members’ benefits to ensure we provide maximum value to our members. In addition our 17th incarnation of the MLA Expo in 2013 is shaping up to be one of the biggest locksmith exhibitions yet – with 20 per cent of space sold within just 24 hours of launch. The 2013 event will see the not only great deals for those looking to purchase locksmith related products, but will also see the usual highly acclaimed Expo training and this year a fantastic prize draw for visitors – the top prize being a trip to Las Vegas.

Also, back by popular demand for the 2013 event we will have various evening social events to enable locksmiths, suppliers and trainers to get to know each other and network in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. We hope to see those of you in the trade at the International Centre in Telford on September 13 to 15, 2013 and wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy, prosperous and secure 2013.

For more information on the MLA go to www.locksmiths.co.uk.


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