I keep hearing the phrase “the UK has an ageing population” and it does make me think “do we have enough young people taking up jobs as installers” or is our industry in fact a reflection of the wider society?
The window and door industry has great longevity – there will always be windows to install – but we are seeing in other hands-on sectors such as construction that labour – and skills – shortages are genuinely beginning to bite. Is it too far a leap to think that the same might happen to us?
I am genuinely concerned that there is the lack of young people coming into the sector as the first step on their career path, and a lack of young people transferring into it from other industries.
Career path development
Why does our industry not automatically attract young people? Don’t school leavers see our industry as a viable career? Is it perhaps because as an industry there is insufficient employer backing for the structured qualifications and formal training initiatives which are available – with a preference instead to go for a less formal hands-on approach?
The truth is I don’t know, but increasingly I am leaning towards the view that we have a major issue to address. What I do know however is this; investment in people is proven to deliver long term benefits to the employer and the employee.
Better training leads to better motivated staff and staff who are better able and better qualified to carry out their roles. In the case of installers to provide the kind of professional installation standards and service that ever more informed customers demand.
Attracting young people
People development and qualifications, allied to the introduction of the MTCs – Minimum Technical Competencies – should be the perfect opportunity for the industry to attract young people who will then very much view it as a career rather than just a job – there is a distinction.
I firmly believe that if the industry invests in training it will get its rewards in terms of attracting enough new blood to sustain it over the long term, and will avoid the pitfalls being suffered by other hands-on industries.