ceda Chair Derek Maher's Report for 2020

ceda Chair Derek Maher's Report for 2020

“It’s been 17 months since my last Chair’s Report. Had this been delivered, as originally scheduled, at Conference in Harrogate in April, I would have talked proudly about the wonderfully positive developments that ceda has made in the previous 12 months.
Initiatives such as:

  • The development and publishing of the Apprenticeship Standard for Commercial Catering Equipment Installation and Maintenance Technicians.
  • The launch of the Industry specific Health & Safety accreditation cedaSAFE
  • Playing a significant role in the review of BS6173
  • Providing technical support and guidance on over 120 Member queries
  • Seeing the development and growth of the ceda Academy
  • Launching ceda Learning, Education and Development
  • Providing Members with 34 free nights’ accommodation at HOST, Milan
  • Distributing over 70 support requests via the Members Helpdesk
  • Undertaking the first Industry Mental Health Awareness Survey
  • The creation and publishing of a further 12 technical guidance documents
  • Over 500 employees regularly using the ceda E-Learning Platform
  • The growth of social media and PR presence of the Association and its Members

Instead, it is with even greater pride that I write about the incredible response that our Association has delivered since March. For both you the membership and the wider Industry. This response includes the following:

  • ceda not only launched, but also funded an emergency HR Support Scheme that has seen over 40 Members receive one-to-one advice and guidance on matters relating to; the furlough scheme, short-time working, employees holiday entitlement and redundancies.
  • In addition, we have issued 9 HR Guidance and template letters directly relating to Covid-19.
  • ceda has produced 12 Technical Guidance documents, risk assessments and template letters directly relating to Coronavirus, including the ‘Minimising Risk from Covid-19 when opening a commercial kitchen’ document that has been so widely used throughout the Industry. Many of these were produced proactively, such as the template letter confirming our engineers as having Key Worker Status at the beginning of lockdown.
  •  The webinar programme that ceda put together was outstanding. Covering such a myriad of important topics and delivered professionally and efficiently. During lockdown, over 70 webinars were delivered; 13 x Health & Safety, 4 x HR, 28 equipment sales and technical training sessions, 18 Members Connected sessions, DW172, Fire Suppression, Mental Health, Effective Home Working – the list goes on.  But probably the most significant were the sessions delivered by Simon Stenning and Peter Martin which gave thought leadership, facts and data on the hospitality and food service market.  I know many of us were able to use the information from these presentations to talk to our customer base and help guide their decision-making. Overall, these 72 sessions had in excess of 1,000 participants.
  • ceda identified the need to build an even greater sense of community so that no Member felt isolated or unheard. Members Connected video calls ran twice a week for 10 weeks enabling Members to share thoughts, issues and challenges with other Members.  A private LinkedIn Group was set up for the additional dissemination of information. And the promotion of Industry WhatsApp groups and Zoom quizzes all helped to support people during these times.
  •  The flow of information from various sources was gratefully received too.  As Members, we were never in the dark on matters relating to the Industry, the pandemic or Government support.  ceda’s weekly updates turned into daily updates at the start of lockdown and at times the filtered information that we received allowed Members to see ‘the wood for the trees’, in what was an incredibly challenging time.
  •  But the representative power that ceda demonstrated meant that not only were we just a distributor of information, we were actively involved in the decision-making processes.
  • Through our membership of Build UK we helped to shape Government policy relating to the construction Industry. ceda were involved with the Hospitality Suppliers Alliance that delivered greater access to local Government grants and loans for Members, ceda too were involved in dialogue with; the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, HM Treasury, Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Education.  Pulling together other Industry bodies for maximum impact, ceda wrote on 5 separate occasions to the Chancellor, once to the Prime Minister, once to the Education Secretary and twice to the Business Secretary highlighting the plight of Members and the wider Industry. And of course, we as Members were able to use the various template letters that ceda produced to write to our own local MP’s individually.
  • And then in June, ceda launched cedaRetain. By providing a shop window for those that had had their positions made redundant and giving access to ceda’s webinars and e-learning platform, ceda offered hope, opportunity and support when it was needed most. I’m delighted to confirm that in the last few weeks individuals have found employment through this great initiative.

My 18 months of being Chair have been dominated firstly by Brexit and then by Covid-19.  Neither have provided particularly positive backdrops but as I said earlier, to have held this position during these challenging times gives me an enormous sense of pride.

The situation has been unprecedented and so has ceda’s response. We know we need to keep working hard for the Membership and the Industry to ensure that once all restrictions are lifted, ceda Members are best positioned to drive this Industry forward.

We will look back on 2020 having learnt so much about ourselves as people, our businesses, this Industry and our Association.

Every challenging time produces positives and ceda has been a leading, shining light.”