January 2021 started with a positive bang as BiKBBI introduced a new COVID Status Checker to its website. A useful tool for website visitors to check Coronavirus social restrictions in their country and specifically how it affects tradespeople. The new service, available to all, is free, updated when new changes require and reviewed daily. Quooker was also announced as the latest Corporate Sponsor of the institute with a specific focus on accelerating plans for work on the KBB installation Apprenticeship initiative. The Installer Magazine (issue 24) was published, as the readership continues to grow year on year. The institute also welcomed Steve Gow as the Director of Learning & Development following on from Quookers exciting partnership with BiKBBI on the Apprenticeship initiative.

In February, Steve kicked off his role as Director of L&D by hosting a SOP training course for the industry providing them with the basic knowledge and processes when working in domestic homes. BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters warned Government not to ignore tradespeople and retailers as the UK opens up for business following an update from Government regarding Coronavirus and the current restrictions. Public relations strategist, Mark Fuller joined BiKBBI’s Advisory board to work closely alongside the Director of Public Relations once in post.

The institute called for urgent support at the beginning of March from the Government ahead of the 2021 budget. Scotland announced a roadmap out of the Covid restrictions with KBB showrooms and tradespeople planned for an April bounce-back. BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters gave thanks to the supporters and staff of the Institute one year on from the national lockdown. BiKBBI warned KBB retailers of the risk of being hit with a wave of employment tribunals following the Uber ruling.

In April BiKBBI published the results of a survey they conducted earlier on in the year, revealing the stark scale of the installer skills gap and the impact this will have on the KBB industry over the next ten years.

Components manufacturer,Titus, were announced as the newest Corporate Sponsor in May to show industry support to the institute and its objectives. The Institute also announced the Annual Conference & Awards that will take place in February 2022 at The Houses of Parliament.

In June, Graham The Plumbers Merchant was announced as the next Corporate Sponsor  after becoming a Retail Installation Standards Partner at the end of 2020. The Spring edition of the Installer Magazine was published focusing on the Apprenticeship Initiative and the support needed by BiKBBI members and the wider industry. In what was a busy month for BiKBBI, we also unveiled Mereway Group (Trend Interiors) as a Sponsor focusing on their bedroom & home office ranges.

BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters urged tradespeople in July to remain cautious following the easing of restrictions from Monday 19th July in England and Scotland. As the ‘pingdemic’ caused chaos for tradespeople, evidence gathered from an installer survey by BiKBBI showed that thousands of home improvement jobs had been cancelled because of the increase in self-isolation notifications sent by the NHS Covid app. KBB recruitment firm, Foyne Jones, showed support for BiKBBI by becoming a corporate sponsor.

In August BiKBBI welcomed International surfacing solution brand Formica Group as a Corporate Sponsor. CEO Damian Walters also joined Andrew Davies on the KBB Review Podcast. The Summer Edition of the Installer Magazine was released and re-enforced the severity of the skills gap crisis. The Installation Awards were announced for BiKBBI’s annual conference in 2022.

In September BiKBBI issued a stark warning that the current shortage of workers being faced by many industries could be the long term reality for the home improvement industry if action is not taken to develop a new generation of skilled tradespeople. New reforms in the home improvement industry also looks set to make ADR a mandatory requirement.

Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony in London on 1 February 2022, following the BiKBBI Annual Conference at the Houses of Parliament.

In October BiKBBI announced the arrival of Michelle Daniels, in her new role as Director of Marketing and Communications. A highly experienced Marketing & Communication executive, Michelle will be responsible for sharing the organisation’s messaging with external stakeholders.

BiKBBI published an industry survey on the subject of environmental impact. The survey results indicated that many installers were unclear as to the responsibility of safe disposal of waste.

BiKBBI unveiled a ground-breaking apprenticeship support package, set to provide hundreds of youngsters with career opportunities within the KBB sector. BiKBBI welcomed the increased funding for Apprenticeships in recent news, but urged the Government to support those trades facing the UK’s biggest skills gap.

The Institute confirmed the introduction of contactless registration cards – new technology designed to support the professionalisation of its members, helping them to win more business, demonstrate compliance and promote their accredited status.

One of the biggest developments of the month was that BiKBBI confirmed that it was working with government and other industry organisations on the prospect of mandatory registration for those businesses operating in the home improvement sector, to include kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installers.

Issue 27 (Autumn Edition) of the Installer Magazine was published – a whopping 120 page bumper edition packed with news, views and industry updates. In this edition, BiKBBI’s work on Apprenticeships were showcased, with further news on the exciting Annual Conference & Awards, set to take place in February.

In November BiKBBI formally announced details of their Annual Conference & Awards – a milestone event which will take place at The Houses of Parliament in February next year. BiKBBI call for industry support to support the industry’s first ever KBB Installation Awards, opening up both the opportunity to nominate and buy tickets to attend.

As if November wasn’t busy enough, Omega PLC were unveiled as the latest corporate sponsor to support the aims and objectives of BiKBBI in a long-term partnership.

BiKBBI started the festive season with a bang in December, announcing the arrival of Benchmarx Kitchens & Joinery (part of the Travis Perkins group) as the latest Corporate Sponsor. Corporate sponsorship is a critical income stream and one that funds the many key institute initiatives, including our work on Apprenticeships.

BiKBBI also announced the shortlist of finalists for its very first Installation Awards, dedicated to recognising and awarding excellence in the KBB sector. Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony in London on 1 February 2022, following the BiKBBI Annual Conference at the Houses of Parliament.

CEO Damian Walters contributed to The Times in a feature on how the skills crisis is affecting the overall global supply chain.

2021 ended on an incredibly sad note, as BiKBBI announced the passing of Advisory Board Member, Vince Linnane.

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