Glass and glazing – the next generation

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell looks at our dwindling workforce.

When discussing the future of the glass and glazing industry with suppliers, fabricators and installers, the conversation often turns to training. Indeed, no amount of deskilling – whether that be with cleverly designed products or with advanced machinery – can replace the need for people who know what they are doing.

Therefore, focusing on the provision of a skilled workforce has become something of a national pastime, and it is certainly something that Glass Times has reported on, and will continue to cover in the magazine.

However, the problem may be more fundamental than that.

At a recent round table event hosted by Bohle in Manchester, the concerns aired by delegates centred on simply attracting people to the industry, not necessarily skilled workers per se. People like Tina Moorhouse (Oakland Glass) and Martin Clarke (Bootle Glass) said that if young people were given the chance to view the glass and glazing industry as a viable career option, then training could be provided.

“If we can get the right people with the right attitude, we can train them,” Tina said. “It’s attracting those people in the first place that we find difficult because those people aren’t thinking about a career in glass.”

There were some great ideas aired at the round table, and it is up to all of us to engage with schools and colleges to fly the flag for our industry. There’s no point in providing tailored training if people don’t sign up to the courses.

Finally, Glass Times has a new member of the team.

It is very likely that many of you will have met Rebecca Clegg at some point, having worked at companies like Ultraframe and Veka. Her wide-reaching experience will be valuable to the ongoing development of the magazine, and she will be working alongside me to continue to provide industry-leading news stories and articles.