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Full Steam Ahead For Apprenticeships

Sid Bourne on the new wood industry scheme

CONGRATULATIONS to the British Wood Flooring Association for having successfully started its apprenticeship programme at the end of April.

It has been well received within the industry. This is a great step forward for the wood flooring industry – training young people to a standard that we think cannot be matched.

Anyone involved with apprenticeships knows that it is a long and arduous road you have to travel to get to where we are at now. Everyone at the BWFA has worked hard to help us getting there, including CSkills who we thank for having given the scheme 100% support all the way. We look forward to a great working relationship.

The apprenticeship scheme runs over two years with day releases from employers to spend time at the BWFA training academy, learning everything necessary in wood flooring to get them to the highest possible standard.
At the end of the two years the apprentices will be able to install wood floors to a very high standard, including designer work, sand & finish, subfloor preparation and all that is involved.

We feel that after two years of training the candidates will be a match for any European country and USA in their individual skill levels. I believe this will be the saviour of the UK wood flooring industry, opening doors for manufacturers, retailers and contract

companies to confidently approach the market, knowing that the required fitting skills will soon be available.
If there is one common question I hear from ever yone I meet in the industr y it is: Where do I get a good wood floor installer who knows about wood and not just about cutting it?

Well watch this space! We intend to get the lads out there into the marketplace once they are qualified with the NVQ level 2 Skill Award after successfully completing the two year apprenticeship.

Although it is called an apprenticeship, it is open to any age. If you are a levy payer, this apprenticeship comes free as you claim back all your money. There are also incentives for retailers who take on apprentices.

The trainers for the wood flooring apprenticeship are myself and my son Matt Bourne (always telling me off) and Dave Brown. We will also include forestry training as par t of apprenticeship. So the par ticipants fully understand how wood works along with wood science and most important the skill of correct installation.

I am very excited about this. It is a major move forward for the BWFA. The nice thing for me personally is being able to show those detractors and knockers out there that installation is a skill that you can learn, including how to bend wood and how to create jigs and design work. And no, this is not a sales course. Can you imagine having someone on your books who can install all types of floorcoverings and carry out subfloor preparation correctly, and design work. These skills will get retailers plenty of work that others will not attempt.

I would like to thank our sponsors for their support, including Mapei, Bona, Rewmar, Granwax, Taylor Maxwell, Primatec, Flooring Supplies and all the other companies who have supplied materials for the BWFA

training courses.

The other good news is the BWFA will shortly be moving into its brand new purpose built training academy, which is double the size of its present premises.

This is an exciting time for the BWFA and the industry as a whole and I ask both retailers and manufacturers who wish to be part of this great journey to contact me. What great PR this could be for you, supporting apprentices. Just give me a call or email me.

Anyone out there who wants to take on an apprentice or wishes to get people enrolled for the apprenticeship, then please make contact and I will sort it out for you. Remember it’s the British Wood Flooring Association which is the official provider of this apprenticeship.


T: 07841 500940

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