Training the next generation

By Alexander Cook, technical co-ordinator for Nordic Installations.

I have recently placed all of our current staff on apprenticeships so that they can gain the correct industry recognised qualifications. During this process I contacted local colleges so that we might speak with their students to highlight the possibility of joining our workforce.

I was surprised to discover that there is no specific trade qualification for fenestration, not even a small syllabus touching on the subject.

Lately, I have read many articles detailing how the UK have an aging workforce, with fewer young people aspiring to achieve a career within the construction industry, let alone the fenestration sector. Recent research by a major home builder has concluded that career advisors are not relaying the information available in regards to entering the construction industry, and the potential to undertake an apprenticeship.

There seems to be even less recognition for the fenestration industry. Largely, the other aspects of house building are covered by a college recognised qualification, which means these students will likely continue along these paths into their careers, rather than diverting into a field not included in their qualification.

Businesses in our industry are relied upon and expected to recruit and train the next generation; if they fail to do so, we can expect the future workforce to only have basic knowledge at their disposal.

Recently, there has been a large campaign set up by the government called ‘Get In Go Far’ which features apprentices from 12 companies. Not one of these companies are from the construction building industry; the adverts focus on mainly corporate companies with no insight into skilled labour.

This type of advertising is great for changing the persona of apprenticeships, however, it enforces the same mentality as our current career advisors within schools. The construction industry should be encouraging this campaign to show a broader spectrum of apprenticeships, so that there will be an equal acceptance between corporate and trade companies.

Moving forward, we should be pushing for a fenestration course to be available within colleges, and careers advisors should be providing information on the possibilities available. It would be a simple task to draw up a syllabus for the course, as it has already been written by the GGF in ‘The Good Practice Guide for the Installation of Replacement Windows and Doors’. By following this guide, we would have a new generation of installers with the correct skill sets that are required for our industry to develop and thrive.

I would like to get involved with people in our industry that also see this as a growing problem, and want to make a difference by finding the right avenue to push this forward.

If you have any thoughts or would like to help please contact