Blog by PLA Chair, Gary Lawrenson

 

Sir Winston Churchill famously said: “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist the opportunity in every difficulty.” Adopting this test, our Education and Training Committee (ETC), led brilliantly by Rebecca Campbell over the last couple of years, are most certainly optimists.

They have, along with our external events provider, TPS, evolved rapidly – overcoming multiple lockdowns and other restrictions to ensure the PLA has continued to deliver best in class training through our livestreamed Autumn 2020 trilogy and Spring 2021 trilogy events.  We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

The success of this enforced innovation has turned the dial irrevocably regarding training delivery.  The livestreaming option has extended our reach to all members across the UK.  Indeed, in a time poor world, even the need to watch the training live has been removed as recordings have been made available via our website shortly after events.   Member feedback strongly validates this new approach as a resounding success which mandates the PLA’s Executive Committee to make this a permanent fixture.

The Executive Committee do, however, recognise the need to offer in person networking opportunities too now the world is opening up again.  The PLA’s future training events (excluding the Annual Conference) will therefore, where feasible, adopt a hybrid approach to give members the choice of in person or remote attendance.

This transition necessitates a change to the way the PLA charges members for such events.  In essence, and starting with the impending Autumn Training Day 2021 at The Royal Society of Medicine, the PLA’s Executive Committee has decided to increase the PLA’s annual membership subscription fee to £90 from 1st November 2021.  Subscription will automatically entitle members to free access to the PLA’s livestream training events (and after the event recordings) throughout the year.  There will be a modest charge for those who attend in person – just to cover, for example, catering costs and otherwise ensure this option is cost neutral for the PLA.

We are confident this refreshed package will provide better bang for buck for members.  The PLA is a not for profit organisation and all subscription fees are reinvested for member benefit.    Presently, for example, we have committed to invest part of our surplus monies in a new website with greatly enhanced functionality (watch this space).  We also need to pay third party consultants’ fees from cash reserves periodically too.

In order to make this work, we must maintain current membership numbers as the PLA will no longer generate any surplus income from training events. Naturally, you will all play an important part in that – winning hearts and minds at your firms by articulating the value proposition of PLA membership if the subscription increase is questioned. I thank you all, in advance, for this.

This is a new and exciting chapter of egalitarian PLA training – wholly inclusive. Long may it continue.