BIKBBI calls industry to action to tackle skills gap crisis

Damian Walters, CEO, BiKBBI

Installations institute the BiKBBI has set out its agenda for the KBB industry to tackle the key issues that threaten the reputation and viability of the sector.

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has issued a landmark paper, titled BiKBBI 2023: Pathways to Support the KBB Installation Industry through Times of Challenge’.

The paper spells out the nature of the challenge. Namely, that there has been a significant growth in demand for skilled KBB installers over recent years, but that the KBB industry has an ageing and shrinking workforce and a shortfall of proficient and skilled new installers entering the KBB industry.

These, said the BiKBBI, have compounded the existing skills gap resulting in longer waits for retailers and consumers to find skilled installers to complete projects. It also exposes consumers to opportunistic, unskilled traders.

In its paper, the BiKBBI sets what it sees as three key pathways to tackle the issues and support and grow the industry beyond 2023.

These are:

Learning and development: The BiKBBI will build on the success it has already achieved in 2021 with its apprenticeship programme further by creating an Education Steering Committee to with the Government and the industry to directly tackle and communicate skills gap issues.

Sustainability: The BiKBBI will continue to develop further access to education and resources for KBB installers in partnership with the Government to support the growing need for a sustainable supply chain.

Raising standards: The BiKBBI has proposed two pathways to help ensure retailers and consumers have access to well-trained and skills installers, either by industry-managed self-regulation or by mandatory regulation by Government.

The BiKBBI plans to convene stakeholders and industry representatives to form a standards committee. Its primary goal will be to agree possible recommendations for regulation.

BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters said: ‘Our industry continues to face significant challenges as we start 2023, but the skills gap is, if anything, growing. We have made great strides with our modern apprenticeship programme, but we will continue to work in partnership with industry via our new Education Steering Committee to tackle this issue and grow the UK workforce.

“We want retailers and consumers to access professional, skilled installers with confidence; our pathways for education and sustainability have been introduced with this in mind. However, we feel in 2023 we must, as an industry, discuss regulation and how this pathway could both protect and grow the KBB industry.”

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