The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) recovered strongly from the pandemic across 2021 – a cautious approach to spending combined with a record year for training delivery and membership to contribute to an overall year-end surplus of £476,053, a significant portion of which IPAF chose to disburse among its members in the form of discounted membership and rebates on training administration fees.
According to IPAF’s Annual Report 2021, published on 10 March at the federation’s AGM in London, UK, demand for training grew rapidly after a subdued first quarter, and continued to remain strong for the rest of the year. The number of training certifications issued hit a record of 176,282 – a 31.2% increase on 2020 and a 0.2% increase on 2019, IPAF’s previous best year. In the UK market, 31,298 more people completed an IPAF training course than in 2020.
Peter Douglas, IPAF CEO & Managing Director, says: “If 2020 was one of the most challenging in IPAF’s history, it is testament to everyone involved with the federation that 2021 was hugely productive on so many fronts. We have also learned some important lessons during testing times that will undoubtedly stand the organisation in good stead for the future.
“We signiﬁcantly increased membership across 2021, exceeding our year-end target of 1,500 members before the end of December. Furthermore, we managed to exceed 2019 in terms of record amounts of IPAF training delivered – even more remarkable when you consider the effects of the pandemic and the relatively slow start to the year.
“These positive trends led to a strong recovery in revenue, which in turn means IPAF has been able to deliver on key objectives and give something extra back to our members by way of rebates on fees and the cost of training administration.”
IPAF’s turnover in 2021 increased by £1.5 million (28.2%) to £6.8m (approximately €7.91m or US$9.35m) compared with 2020. The increase of training income contributed more than 80% to the total income and saw an increase of 31.8% on 2020.
Membership numbers finished at a record high after a strong end to 2021. Despite a difficult start to the year that saw a net decrease in IPAF membership, over 2021 as a whole a total of 186 new members was offset by 134 lost members, resulting in a net gain of 52. At year-end IPAF had a total of 1,504 members, an increase of 3.6% over the year-end figure of 1,452 in 2020. Within the year, the IPAF footprint extended to three additional territories – Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala.
Membership in Europe (including the UK and Ireland) increased by 3.5%, versus 3.8% growth in membership outside Europe. Membership from outside Europe remained stable as a proportion of the total at just under one third (31%).
The number of new Training Centres joining IPAF increased from 37 in 2020 to 42 in 2021, leading to a total of 573 IPAF Training Centres across 53 territories, an increase of 2% on 2020. IPAF-accredited programmes continue to generate significant business for members that offer training courses and contributed more than 80% to the overall turnover of IPAF in 2021.
The number of people undertaking IPAF training increased by 41,875 during 2021, with 176,282 people successfully completing a course, an increase of 31.2% on 2020 (134,407) and an increase of 0.2% (296) on 2019, which was the previous best performing year for training.
In 2021, the ePAL mobile app for operators of powered access was launched, giving operators the option to receive their licence in a digital format rather than a traditional plastic card. In 2021 there were a total of 51,129 digital licences issued, which was 29% of the total, though the roll-out of the ePAL app in all countries had not been completed by the end of the year.
● The IPAF Annual Report is published to coincide with the AGM and is available in multiple languages to read or as a digital download via www.ipaf.org/annual-report; IPAF has committed to no longer producing printed copies of the report as part of its ongoing sustainability drive.