Can’t find installers? Do something about it…

Damian Walters, chief executive, British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) on the lack of fitters holding back industry recovery…

Installation will be one of the biggest challenges our industry faces over the next few years. The global skills gap is widening and the lack of support for a solution is simply staggering. Our industry has got this wrong, but it’s not too late to do something about it.

Retailers finding it ‘hard to find installers’ is not new news, but will be exacerbated by this situation, perhaps even speeding up the inevitable. The reason it’s tough to find good fitters is not because they’re hiding, it’s because they’re simply a species that is heading toward extinction and unless we take a collaborative approach and intervene, we can expect the problem to simply worsen.

But it’s worse than that…

Imagine our situation is a polo mint. The circumference of the polo is the consumer demand. The hole in the middle represents the resource (professional installers), the mint ring represents the shortfall between the demand and the available resource.

The supply and demand rule makes the resource more valuable, the prices rise (the consumer loses), the resource think that it’s payday.

However the mint ring (the shortfall) attracts opportunists, driven by the perceived payday. Standards fall, reputation damaged, consumer confidence destroyed. The good fitters in the middle, affected, it becomes a price war and a race to the bottom.

The industry damaged, the opportunists move on to the next infestation and what’s left is an industry carcass that wonders why it’s in this position.

Do I know this because I have a crystal ball?

No, we’ve seen it already in the double glazing and more recently in the renewable energy industry. This is very real and very relative.

How do you fix it?

There’s no magic pill and there’s no government department working on a strategy. The only people that will fix this is our industry – so, you either carry on spectating on the problem, or you do something about it.

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation is the only organisation in this country that is focused on fixing this installation problem specifically within the KBB installation sector.

  • We’re pooling resource to help retailers (and their customers) source installers
  • We’re developing Fitted Interiors Apprenticeships to home grow our future resource
  • We’re defining standards to demonstrate what good looks like
  • We’re separating the professionals from the opportunists via accreditation
  • We’re improving skills via training and development
  • We’re engaging thousands of school children, making them aware of the industry opportunity
  • We’re working with The Ministry of Defence in retraining opportunities to sustainably quick fill the gap
  • We’re reaching out to females to encourage their uptake on vocational careers via strategic partnerships
  • We’re working with other countries to collaboratively target this global crisis

We’re doing it. No one else is. And we’re only able to do this work with the support of the industry.

Installers need to join.

Retailers need to partner us.

Manufacturers need to support us.

If they don’t, we can’t help and more importantly, there is no one else out there that can/will,  or is best positioned to fix this problem.

If you really want to help – don’t visit our website, like or tweet your support. Email me [email protected] and let’s talk.

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