A career choice

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell discusses the latest training news.

There is a modicum of positive news from IHS Markit this week, which reported that construction output had picked up following the snow-related delays earlier in the year.

However, it is easier to pinpoint and report on issues when they are self-contained events – for example, a snowbound week, or a quarter of slow growth, or a fire that exposes some terrible home truths about inadequate product specification and building control.

When an issue develops from small beginnings, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of it – training, for example. While we haven’t reached crisis point with attracting new talent into the glass and glazing industry, it appears that we could be approaching it.

At the recent roundtable event in Manchester, hosted by Bohle and reported on in last week’s newsletter, head of training and membership for the GGF Richard Hearn said the “reality check” was that skilled workers needed to carry out essential roles can’t be found.

He recognised that this was not unique to the glass and glazing sector but “we don’t want to reach the stage where the economy grinds to a halt because we can’t find these people”, he said. “We need to do more to bring new people in. We need to make this sector a career of choice for people.”

This event will be reported on in detail in the June issue of Glass Times. However, this week we learned that GQA Qualifications has launched a new initiative called ‘Building Our Skills’, which will be sponsored by Corgi Fenestration, and is designed to encourage new entrants to join the industry and to develop their skills through qualifications and training.

Corgi Fenestration CEO Chris Mayne said: “We agree with GQA that it is vital for the fenestration industry to make itself an attractive employment option for school leavers and career changers. This starts to address the skills gap in our sector – and also strongly promotes qualifications and ongoing training – which we believe is vital.”

Interestingly, it covers some of the issues discussed in the round table event, such as the need for prominent career pathways and professional development.

While a scarcity of new entrants to the glass and glazing sector may never hit the headlines, the problems it can cause are numerous. We all need to do our bit to promote this industry as a positive career choice, including Glass Times – we’ll make sure that we continue to cover this topic in depth.