Training is an investment

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By Yvonne Orgill, CEO at The Bathroom Manufacturers Association:

Training is always a hot topic in the KBB sector and there is much debate in our fragmented industry on how best to work together to improve the provision and take up of training.

It’s fair to say that we don’t always help ourselves by focusing on our own agendas but the market that we operate in is changing faster than ever and consumers are often faced with a confusing array of choices when trying to identify credible, reliable tradespeople that have invested in recognisable training.

We all have a vested interest in working together to give more attention to how to upskill the workforce, raise industry standards and help consumers make more informed choices.

As the voice of the bathroom industry, the BMA actively supports education within the sector and offers learning opportunities and skills development for individuals and organisations via the Bathroom Academy.

Whilst the Academy offers a means of gaining accredited training we believe that we have an even more important role in promoting the message that training is not an added cost that has to be funded but is an opportunity to invest in a person or a company, a chance to add value to a business or advance a career.

There can be a negative perception around training, especially from installers and retailers that are time poor. We understand that it is difficult for them to be away from their business but that is why the Academy offers both web-based and on-site based training, providing more flexibility to study outside of working hours.

It’s well known that many of the leading entrepreneurs in the world of business attribute their success to a never ending quest for knowledge and a commitment to life-long learning. They believe that training opens your mind, makes you more receptive to ideas and innovation and is essential to achieve success.

The Academy is open to all and there is something for everyone, whatever time or training budget they have available. There are a series of essential guides, which are mostly free to download. These cover all the basics; products such as baths, water systems, showers, shower controls, everything that an installer or retailer will encounter.

They provide an invaluable overview that covers the right choice of product for end user needs, generic industry design, industry installation, frequently asked questions and industry terminology.

They should be considered essential reading for all new entrants and are also relevant to more experienced professionals.

The guides form the basis of the Certificate in Bathroom Studies; this is awarded on completion of a workbook, an on-line test and a written submission.

Business courses are held at the BMA headquarters in Stoke or at the company’s own base and run in conjunction with our training partner Strategic Professionals. Content is wide ranging and covers sales, marketing, management, leadership, customer service and IT.

Manufacturer’s product training is also available via the Bathroom Academy website.
We must all work together to raise awareness and promote the tangible benefits for those that engage in training. It can improve processes and customer service, add value to an organisation and, above all, raise industry standards. The more we as an industry can do to improve customer experience, the better it will be for businesses and the wider market.

Training also allows installers and retailers to keep abreast of the latest developments. For example water efficiency is very much in the news with significant water shortages predicted and hosepipe bans coming into force this summer. It is necessary to have the knowledge of water usage of products in order to recommend the most appropriate solutions for different lifestyles and situations.

The BMA will continue to raise awareness and hopes to continue to encourage individuals, organisations, industry bodies and associations to pull together, to spread the word about the importance of training, in order to develop skills and expertise across the entire industry.

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