The commercial director at Swift Electrical, Malcolm Scott, proposes an industry accreditation scheme for KBB designers
I read with interest the various views on training and credibility within the kitchen industry in last month’s issue [kbbreview, February pgs 23-53].
I was pleased to see so many people giving Uwe Hanneck and Renée Mascari some well-deserved recognition for their efforts to promote education and improve professional standards within the industry.
Uwe was the force behind the Neff, Bosch and Siemens dealer training centres before diverting his energy to training at the KBSA. Renée worked solidly at the KBB NTG over the years. She also worked on the high-profile Bucks New University Foundation Degree in kitchen design.
The very varied and interesting ideas reported last month on training generated some common themes as well as some lone voices. I was pleased to see retailer Jim Geddes [Kitchens by JS Geddes] and BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters indicating that Uwe and the KBSA had a key part to play in training development. Damian noted a point, expounded by David Sanders of Blum UK, that independent retailers run diverse businesses and it can be difficult to get them to work together.
The challenge for the KBSA and KBB NTG is to ‘bring into the fold’ passionate voices like Trevor Scott [RFK] and Jim Geddes who could ‘add so much to the party’ by working with people like James Herriot [Callerton Kitchens] and Paul O’Brien [Kitchens International], bringing individual training ideas together to create a national voice.
At the other end of the spectrum, we had Jo Buckerfield [Your Space Living] making some valid observations, but with some wacky conclusions. Further education certainly develops individuals and broadens horizons, but there’s nothing taught in any educational establishment that cannot be learnt by good vocational training. A university education is not the only way to learn and it does not guarantee individual competence.
The logical conclusion of much of the discussion about professional qualifications is simply for the KBSA/NTG to implement a system similar to that devised by Vanessa Brady at SBID for interior designers, or indeed to ask SBID to issue a kitchen designer accreditation. SBID gives its members accreditation as professional interior designers, subject to applicants having four years of measured education with a degree in interior design or overlapping sectors, plus a year’s work experience.
I currently hold the accreditation of Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (FInstSMM) and a Certificate in Marketing, which are two of the most recognised qualifications for UK sales people. The FInstSMM qualification can only be obtained by demonstrating a minimum of 10 years’ experience in a position of sales or marketing management.
The KBSA is a member’s self-help organisation and not an industry umbrella group. However, the NTG was set up as, and has always been, an industry-wide organisation. Perhaps those who do not wish to be in a trade association, but want to see better standards, can be persuaded to work with Uwe and Renée for the benefit of KBSA members and the wider industry.
If we work together, many things are possible.