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Belfast welcomes 700 delegates for Lookers conference


There was much to celebrate at this year’s Lookers annual Conference held in Belfast today (Tuesday), entitled ‘We are Lookers’, which celebrated the diverse talent among its people. Belfast was selected as this year’s location, given the huge contribution its Northern Ireland operation, Charles Hurst, has made to the wider Lookers Group since it was acquired in 1996.

The conference is the flagship event in the motor retailer’s annual calendar and saw over 700 senior figures from Lookers across the UK and Ireland, come together to celebrate with guests at the ICC in Belfast.

The event gave Lookers colleagues the opportunity to network and share best practice, as well as reflect on the successes of the previous year. Among the milestones celebrated were the acquisition of the Jennings Group and the impressive Lookers Electric Charge, which raised £215,755 for industry charity Ben, through an electric car relay across its entire dealership network.

Other conference highlights included guest speakers Sarah Stirk, Sky Sports presenter and award-winning author of ‘The Barcelona Way’ Damian Hughes, who both shared their own insights into people management gleaned from the world of sport.

Colin McNab, Operations Director of Charles Hurst, told us: “We were delighted that Belfast was selected as this year’s location for the Lookers annual conference. Our city has flourished into a premier conference location and we at Charles Hurst are incredibly proud to play this year’s host. Today’s event was a huge success and our colleagues throughout the UK and Ireland had nothing but positive feedback on the venue and Belfast as a destination.”

Lookers Chief Executive Andy Bruce and Chief Operating Officer Nigel McMinn also used their presentations to highlight the group’s ambition to become a truly diverse and inclusive employer and retailer. With this year’s event themed around the “We are Lookers” and “Lookers is for Everyone” slogans, conference attendees were reminded that the group has been named in the Sunday Times 25 Big Best Companies to Work for in the UK 2019, as well as a ‘Top Employer’ by the Top Employers Institute for the third year in a row.

Both Andy and Nigel also applauded efforts to attract more women to join the business, particularly within non-traditional roles. This has seen 17 female apprentices recruited in the last two years, the majority of which have been in technical positions.

To show just how much the business values its people, Nigel McMinn also announced this year’s 2019 finalists for the Lookers Excellence Awards, which will see 100 staff and their guests treated to an all-expenses paid trip to Berlin in May, where the winners will be unveiled.

Andy Bruce Chief Executive of Lookers said: “The Lookers General Manager’s Conference is very much the highlight of our calendar and a fantastic way to stop and take stock of the progress we have made over the last 12 months. This year we chose to look at the many multi-faceted contributions made by our talented and dedicated people, right across the group.”

Heike O’Leary, Group Marketing Director added: “Belfast has been a fantastic location and very gracious host. The fully integrated tourism service provided to us by Visit Belfast, the Hastings group, the ICC and a number of catering and event partners, was nothing but outstanding.”