Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) will hold a special industry conference to mark its 80th anniversary year.

The conference will discuss the sustainability of the wholesale industry and developing a skilled workforce, two focus areas for the association this year, chief executive Colin Smith said.

“We want to inspire a new generation of wholesalers to take an active role in protecting and developing the industry and if our members are to continue on their current growth trajectory they must invest in their people,” he commented.

“As an industry we must also encourage young people starting out on their work journey to look at wholesale as a viable option for a fulfilling career with prospects.”

The conference will be held on 1 October at Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro in Perthshire, followed by a celebratory Highland gala banquet at Stirling Castle that evening.

“It’s a special year for us so we’re moving away from our usual summer weekend conference and changing the format,” Smith said. “We need to ring the changes and we are also responding to members’ feedback calling for a shorter, different annual event.”

In addition to focusing on training, the SWA will work with wholesalers this year to address the various environmental challenges facing the industry – from transport and energy to packaging and waste.

“We’re already working on members’ behalf to highlight the full and potentially damaging effects that the deposit return scheme (DRS) will have on the food and drink wholesale industry,” Smith pointed out.

“As an industry we want to play our part in protecting the environment but our actions must be measured and not stifle our members’ growth and competitiveness.”