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Calls for support for the KBB installation industry

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has released its plans to tackle what it believes to be “one of the most significant challenges faced by the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom sector ever” – the national shortage of professional installers – calling upon the industry to unite now or “risk future catastrophe”.

BiKBBI is placing a call to action on the entire industry, including suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers, to actively support much needed change by pledging intent at www.supportchange.org.uk. The organisation plans on approaching the challenge in what it calls a three-pronged attack, including apprenticeships, professional development and re-training.

A 2016 review, published by The Construction Leadership Council, identified an impending crisis relating to a growing shortage of skilled labour, titling the publication “Modernise or Die”. The report identified UK government ambitions to build national infrastructure but warned a lack of tradespeople in both construction and refurbishment would prevent these ambitions being realised.

Since the publication of this review, the UK withdrew from the European Union (which affects the free movement of EU labour) and the Coronavirus pandemic took the country by surprise, which BiKBBI believes negatively changes the landscape significantly.

BiKBBI believes these present real problems for the industry on their own, but CEO, Damian Walters (pictured above), says “the skills gap was already a crisis before we faced these latest challenges”.

He added: “This problem will not correct itself, nor is anyone else focused on fixing it. The challenge is ours and one we must all face if we want to avoid a disaster like none faced by our industry before.”

Apprenticeships have formed a key part of BiKBBI’s plans in recent years, and it confirmed that it will be forming a national network of training providers to develop, promote and deliver the Level 2 Fitted Interiors Apprenticeship from the 2021 academic year.

Elsewhere, the institute launched its Learning & Development (L&D) platform ‘BiKBBI Campus’ earlier this year – an online training portal that works predominantly with suppliers and manufacturers to deliver technical training to members and the wider industry.

Lastly, and also earlier this year, BiKBBI confirmed that it had signed The Armed Forces Covenant – a pledge to work with the Armed Forces Community by utilising some of the easily transferable skills that some former servicemen and women can bring to the industry.

The strategic alliance has already included working with The Ministry of Defence as well as other organisations and charities, with an objective of plugging some of the skills gaps at pace with disciplined, professional trades.

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