On Saturday, the 2nd of March 2024, the FCIA hosted its second Gala Ball building upon the success of the Inaugural Gala held in 2023. With a guest list of over 448 attendees, the Plaza Ballroom was nearly at capacity and alive with anticipation.

The opening comments from the FCIA’s Chairman, Brett Sturgess were, “Thank You” and “Amazing” as he welcomed the who’s who of the Floor Covering Industry.

A highlight of the evening was the announcement that the FCIA was actively seeking Alliance Partnerships with other associations in the floorcovering industry, who offered unique advancements and benefits, from each other, for the benefit of our industry. Simply put, under the Alliance Partnership industry associations would collaborate and work together developing projects that made sense for each other for the benefit of our industry. Brett confirmed that FCIA had already formed Alliance Partnerships with both the Australian Resilient Flooring Association (ARFA) and the Floorcovering Education Foundation of America (FCEF), partnerships which will benefit our industry moving forward.

Brett further acknowledged that the primary concerns and frustrations of our skilled labour shortage has plagued our industry for more than a lifetime and we therefore, as an industry, need to change the way we try and solve these issues, from the current singular level to a full industry level, with everyone represented in the room committed to the design and support of one industry road map moving forward.  It is very much the old adage, “Many hands make light work,” if we all commit, we all end up in a better place sooner-it’s as simple as that.

Following his remarks, Fiona Wischnewski, CEO of the FCIA Group, highlighted the organisation’s achievements over the past year and future plans for this year. These included:

  • RTO – now operating and funded in NSW, SA, TAS and ACT
  • Attracting new learners into the flooring trade by attending career days, talking to schools etc.
  • Specific welcome packs for apprentices
  • Insurance program with Flooring Protect
  • Creation of FCIA’s Underfoot Newsletter
  • Creation of a Females in Flooring group
  • Short courses due to be released in June/July 2024
  • Self-regulated license

To enable FCIA members to participate in the award segment of the evening, this year’s awards were sponsored. Additionally, a new award was introduced for the FCIA Supplier of the Year and Commercial Contractor of the Year, to once again acknowledge and honor some of the industry’s top talent. The winners of these awards included:

  • Apprentice of the year – first year Max Cheetham Warilla Carpet Court
  • Apprentice of the year – second year Caleb Jacoby                        ISA Street Carpets
  • Apprentice of the year – third year Bear Payne               ISA Street Carpets
  • Apprentice of the year – fourth year Ben Townsend                     Devonport Floorworld
  • Apprentice Achievement Award Cooper Morrison      Terry Bros Carpet Court Young
  • Employer of the year Mascot Carpet Court
  • Supplier of the year Mapei
  • Commercial Contactor of the year Lockwood Flooring
  • Flooring Industry Achievement Award Don Considine                     ATTAR

The Gala provided a platform for professionals from all sectors of the industry to network and engage in discussions regarding the significant challenges and risks facing the flooring sector. It was inspiring to watch representatives from a range of different flooring organisations come together to celebrate the Australian Flooring Industry.

In a post-Gala survey, many attendees shared their positive experiences and discussed their excitement for next year’s event. The team at FCIA are passionate about making sure that each year’s event is a better experience for those who attend, and they are already hard at work on planning the 2025 Annual Gala.


If you would like to understand more about what the dedicated team at FCIA do and how you can partner with them to create a better future for the flooring industry, then visit www.fcia.org.au