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Training Assessor Applauds Editor’s View

Brian Enderwitz, Internal Quality Assurer at Floorskills Training Centre, supports the CFJ editor’s comment (April 2014) on the urgent need for training:

NOWADAYS everything seems to be available as an APP, so why don’t employers make more use of the APPs already available in our own trade? Of course, they are: APPrenticeships!
I wholeheartedly agree with the editor’s comments in CFJ (April 2014) about the lack of investment, support and commitment towards training in the UK compared to some other countries.
More manufacturers and employers do seem to be getting involved with, and supporting, employee training. But we still have a long way to go though, before our training gains the financial, material and co-operative support evident in countries where training, skill levels and accreditation in flooring are seen as comparable to any other specialist trade.
Training and apprenticeships have featured frequently in these pages over the last few months and there are many more floorcovering apprentices in training than there were even only a few years ago.
Why then, are so many employers not accessing this readily available source of training and certification?
Could it be that current floorcovering apprenticeships are not really well suited to fit within flooring trade requirements?
Is an 18 month, or two year, commitment too long for many companies?
Do we need more focus on retail flooring, rather than commercial? Do we need both?
Should training be reviewed by employers and manufacturers to replace the existing Level 2 and create new Level 3 accreditation?
For years I tried to convince the college where I worked that our training needed to change to suit what employers needed, not what the college saw as the most lucrative means of generating income.
I tried to seek more co-operation with manufacturers and develop more meaningful communication with employers. The education establishment however, does not respond very well, or quickly, to change and eventually I realised that bums on seats and completion numbers would always be more important than providing effective training.

There is good news for the flooring trade, as we are heading into a new era! Apprenticeships are changing over the coming years and months. Already some apprenticeships in other fields are trailblazing employer led apprenticeships, where employers select separate, stand-alone training modules which their apprentices attend before an end NVQ assessment.
This training can be chosen by the employer, without commitment to regular and lengthy college attendance.
Many training centres, such as Floorskills, in Birmingham, and many manufacturers already provide courses which can fit neatly into the focussed skill training that will need to be accessible. Floorskills has been working towards this now for some time, refining and honing unit-based training.
It is important that employers, manufacturers and other stakeholders become involved in the creation of specialist floorcovering apprenticeships and that these are not created by ‘specialists’ from other trade areas, who believe they know what is involved in the floorcovering trade.
To this end we have set up a networking group ‘Floorskills Network’ on Linkedin, where we can gather opinions from within the trade and provide developmental updates on the changing apprenticeships.

E: brian@floorskills.co.uk

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.