I am increasingly hearing stories about companies in our industry who are struggling to find installers to fulfil orders they are winning as the market continues to boom.
In truth people have spoken for many years about the possibility of shortages in installer numbers, but for the most part it has been dismissed as ‘urban myth’ – something which would never happen. But the reality is it is happening; and more companies are waking up to the fact that they are struggling to get good fitters.
There is no upside to this at all; it is not only individual companies which will suffer – the industry as a whole will suffer. As installers retire and new fitters don’t come through the industry will start to decline; without the qualified, experienced fitter being around to mentor and train newcomers who have a genuine interest in the Industry there will inevitably be an increase in installation problems leading to costly rectification work and reputatonal damage for the industry. Consumers will inevitably spend their money in other home improvement sectors before they think about windows and doors.
As an industry we need to address this trend immediately; I am genuinely concerned that we do not seem able to attract young people to it as a career – there are far more exciting prospects for them elsewhere it seems. But the window industry has great longevity and there will always be work.
What we need to do is to educate young people to the fact that the window industry is a great place to be, an industry where there are great rewards and where with the right commitment from employers they can undertake genuine apprenticeships and learning which will stand them in good stead for later in life.
I firmly believe that if the industry invests in training and qualifications it will get its rewards in terms of attracting enough new blood to sustain it over the long term, and will avoid the pitfalls which have been suffered by many other industries over time.
Mick Clayton is Chief Executive Officer of GQA, the leading provider of qualifications to the window and door industry.
www.gqaqqualifications.com 0114 272 0033 @gqaquals