Written by Eamonn Ryan
IOPSA has piloted a new format of Plumbers’ Evening in the Gauteng region, which may ultimately be implemented nationwide. To cater to a strong demand for physical events, which cannot yet be met due to social distancing regulations, the new format is a hybrid semi-digital, semi-physical one, explains Kaela Wilson, IOPSA marketing manager. “We host as many people in person at a location as is permitted by COVID-19 regulations, and the rest – who either couldn’t be accommodated in person or who are still anxious about Covid and don’t want to be among groups of people or are still at work – are invited to attend digitally.
“At the evening event, the format has been for there to be a speaker in front of a camera, which is then streamed to online viewers. Other speakers such as myself present digitally, and those attending in person could watch these on TV screens at the event. Everybody sees the same thing. It was also interactive, as the event includes a Q&A session with both the in-person and digital attendees being able to ask and hear answers. This is still being piloted, for permanent use even after the pandemic. This might be the new format, or we may alternate in-person and digital meetings. There is no doubt the digital format is convenient and attracts more attendees – but many plumbers miss the social aspect of Plumbers’ Evenings,” says Wilson. “Ultimately, it’s up to the members as to which format they prefer.”