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Why training is never a waste of time

Why training is never a waste of time

In this guest blog, Shaun Wadsworth, Training Manager at FITA, argues that training is vital for keeping ahead of the competition in an evolving industry.

‘How long?!’ When giving training, I often hear a version of this from a trainee who has just realised that something takes longer than they thought. Yes, many flooring processes aren’t quick, but the implication that they’re a waste of time couldn’t be further from the truth. Although creating a quality finish takes time, it leads to fewer mistakes, fewer snags from the client, and greater earning potential for the fitter and the flooring contractor.

In truth, it takes time to do anything well – and that’s why training is so valuable. I always advise flooring professionals to embrace opportunities to learn new things wherever they find them, whether manufacturer training, private courses, or formal qualifications. It’s simply the best way to stay ahead in a competitive and evolving market.

For flooring contractors, it’s also worth signing up with trade associations like the Contract Flooring Association (CFA) and the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers (NICF). In an unregulated sector like flooring, trade associations are a great way of being part of a bigger network, winning more work, and distinguishing yourself from the competition.

As we know, the construction sector is constantly facing a shortage of skills and labour. It’s a battle to attract new blood into the flooring industry, and once they’re trained, it’s a battle to keep them from moving on and taking those skills elsewhere.

“Even the best employers of trainees lose trainees from time to time, but they don’t give up.”

My main advice here is to prepare as best as you can for training new fitters. Set up a clear training plan, pay a wage that shows they are valued (and leave room for it to increase with experience), and set clear guidelines for progression. Above all, keep going and don’t be put off if, at first, it doesn’t work how you hoped. Even the best employers of trainees lose trainees from time to time, but they don’t give up.

The flooring industry is always changing. Recently, for example, we’ve seen a sharp rise in demand for training in domestic areas such as textile stair runners, herringbone LVT floors, and natural floor coverings. And, on the commercial side, areas such as linoleum, wetroom installation techniques, and repair work have all been increasing in popularity.

In the future, the focus on sustainability will no doubt lead to substantial changes. I also think there will be a significant rise in floor coverings designed to accompany underfloor heating (UFH) as we see big shifts in the way homes are heated. Through our apprenticeships, FITA are already preparing the future of the industry for these changes.

Education will help us meet most challenges as an industry. Thankfully, there are now more options than ever for installers looking to expand their skills and knowledge. Add to that the brilliant work of manufacturers like Bostik who offer training on-site or at their dedicated facility in Stafford, and I can see no reason why anyone wouldn’t sign up – whether with FITA or the Bostik Academy.

Yes, that training will take time, and so will many of the processes it teaches. But those who embrace it will reap the rewards for years to come.

You can find out more about the Bostik Academy here.

FITA offers more than 20 flooring training courses at various levels. Find out more: