No train, no gain

With Klober sponsoring the Training Initiative of the Year in this year’s BMN Awards, Marketing Manager Andrew Cross looks at the challenges that skill shortages present the sector with, and what part the company is playing to help rectify this.

The opportunity for Klober to become a sponsor of the 2018 BMN Awards was one which the company was glad to accept in support of its commitment to a growing network of stockists – not least in training.

Skills shortages in the construction sector – whether manufacturer, contractor or distributor – have never been more pressing. In our sector – roofing – the shortage of qualified trades is highly acute: research from the FMB shows that 46% of small to medium enterprises are struggling to recruit roofers.

Merchants struggle no less, with training not just being about bringing young – or older, for that matter – people into the industry. It is as much about maximising competitive advantage in store as it is about recruitment and career progression. Only with trained, motivated and energetic staff can today’s merchant hope to stand firm in the face of the myriad challenges today brings.

In this context, it is critical that the sector continues to migrate people – the young and those seeking career changes – into its ranks. Quality and fulfilling education is key to this; and support for trainees – by the trade, manufacturers, distribution and associations – is imperative.

For example, Klober offers a comprehensive programme of regular training days for both contractors and merchants. These cover the theory involved, yet also allow plenty of time for valuable practical experience in fitting products on the company’s training rigs. Up-to-date changes in standards and regulations are also covered.

The typical content of a standard training day giving an overview of roofing ventilation requirements includes: condensation problems and ventilation solutions; dry-fix roofing; battens and interlocking tiles on gable roofs; universal roof vents; eaves ventilation; Permo® and Sepa® underlays and practical fixing. Such courses are free-of-charge and include a buffet lunch and refreshments.

The programme is a part of a wider strategy to upskill the industry, which sees Klober also sponsoring and supporting SkillBuild, the competition that the Construction Industry Training Board holds annually for building trades apprentices in the attending college.

The company is supplying materials for competitors to install on the competition rigs for the finals and the Roof Slating and Tiling heats in the Regional Qualifiers that precede them.  Klober technical staff will also be on hand to lend support.

The series of competitions brings together trainees and apprentices from throughout the UK to compete in their chosen skills. For competitors taking part in the advanced competitions, the results from each of the qualifiers are combined, and the highest scoring competitors overall will be invited to take part in the UK National Final which are held at the NEC, Birmingham, in November.

As the wider situation stands now, we have an ageing workforce that will naturally fizzle out unless we all start to improve our recruitment procedures. This is an industry-wide problem, not just roofing or merchanting: and without broad commitment to invest in the future, it’s not inconceivable that the (roofing) industry could eventually grind to a halt.

Thus, Klober sees support in training, product knowledge, sales and a commitment to best practice as key to business development – both for the company and for its merchant partners – and will always do so.

To find out more about the full range of Klober training courses, please visit:

Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence:

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