BiKBBI CEO speaks out against ‘archaic’ views on apprenticeships

Damian Walters, CEO of BiKBBI

The industry needs to put aside ‘archaic’ preconceptions about apprenticeships and ‘come together to fix the problem’, says BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters.

Walters spoke out on LinkedIn following comments made by retailers about their hesitancy to embrace apprenticeships.

A straw poll held at the recent KBSA conference revealed that the majority of KBB retailers still refuse to accept apprenticeships in their current state. In his post, Walters sympathised with the frustrations of the retailers, agreeing that “it’s not working, but [I] urge retailers not to abandon the idea”.

He clarified that, in his opinion: “It is not the responsibility of any singular part of this industry to fix the problem and therefore the responsibility does not lie with retailers alone. We will only overcome this very real challenge if collaboration is had right across the industry.”

Walters then addressed those criticising apprenticeships without trying to address the problem themselves, explaining how individuals in the industry “can either sit cross armed and disillusioned by the current state of apprenticeships, or come together on fixing the problem.”

He also called upon the industry’s businesses and associations to “put aside misconception, embrace collaboration and engage,” to influence the future of apprenticeships.

“We need a new, fresh and positive leadership on the subject, not archaic, which will always stand in the way of progression, regardless of sector.

“There isn’t a shortage of young people wanting to join our industry and every individual and business operating within the KBB industry will benefit if we can evolve an apprenticeship strategy to harness the next generation of future installers.”

Walters has discussed the topic of apprenticeships for the KBB industry at great length in the past. At the annual BiKBBI conference in February of this year, he said, “we have hardly scratched the surface” of our responsibility to future generations and that the industry is “nowhere near” where it needs to be in terms of adopting apprentices.

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