Closing the skills gap

Are you an installer that’s struggling to find new fitters?

The skills shortage continues to be one of the most pressing issues for our industry – and for others – but there are solutions available for companies who are willing to invest in the next generation of talent.

A good example is Nationwide Windows, which I visited recently. Nationwide, which is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of products into new build and local authority projects, also runs its own fitting teams, and when it found itself facing a post Covid skills gap, created an installer trainee initiative that was designed to attract new people from other industries.

The initial pilot scheme brought in six candidates and a second phase has introduced a further three installation teams. It also provides ongoing training at a bespoke, inhouse training and R&D facility.

As a larger organisation, Nationwide was able to invest considerable resources into resolving a lack of fitters, but what about smaller companies who perhaps don’t have the time or money to find, fund and successfully train up new apprentices?

Well, help is at hand, thanks to dedicated, specialist training providers such as Glass & Fenestration Training Solutions (GFTS).

GFTS can do all the heavy lifting when it comes to finding suitable apprentices, from the initial advertising of the position, to vetting potential candidates, managing the funding and paperwork and all the training and assessment that follows.

For some installers, who have perhaps always operated as sole traders, GFTS can also advise on how to get set up with the correct insurance and PAYE processes.

Does it work?

Working with GFTS has proven to be a great success for Stroud based installation firm, Truhouse, which has just welcomed a new member to its team, Josh Flight.

Josh, who is still in his teens, passed his apprenticeship with a Distinction grade and is now well set for a long and potentially very fruitful career in the fenestration industry.

We’ll be talking more about Truhouse, Josh and GFTS in an upcoming issue of Glass Times – and there’s also a full article on Nationwide Windows in the December edition of the magazine…