‘Training helps retailers rise above their competitors’

Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, outlines why it considers training vital for the future of the bathroom industry and how its Bathroom Academy is offering a series of upgraded courses in addition to its series of downloadable bathroom guides

Well trained and knowledgeable staff are genuinely well motivated and a lot happier. They are an asset for any company and can have a major impact on the performance of the business. They get it right first time and, in consequence, we all take the benefit.

Training is for everybody. It enables retailers, designers and installers to rise above their competitors. It sets them apart, giving them competitive advantage. But it needs to be focused, continuous and, above all, used.

Interestingly the KBB NTG was a great training platform but, regrettably, it received limited support from the industry.

So, training makes sense. It’s a no-brainer. But training is not just “sitting with Nellie”. It is more important than that. Structured and well-delivered training in the modern bathroom industry is essential if it is to thrive in Brexit Britain.

Yvonne Orgill
Yvonne Orgill

Product training, sales training, and the principles of bathroom design – the holistic approach – are vital to its success. Every training session counts. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime affair.

Make it count

Dr Peter Bonfield, in his report Each Home Counts, published in December last year, agrees. The report was initially commissioned in 2015 by a number of government departments.

Among its many recommendations on consumer protection, quality and standards, and compliance and enforcement, it also includes the issue of skills and training.

The recommendations coming out of the report highlight the step change in knowledge that is needed to drive energy and water efficiency. The very issues currently at the top of the bathroom industry’s agenda.

Bonfield’s recommendations set out to ensure that knowledge and understanding of basic building physics, the holistic or whole property approach, and effective customer interactions are embedded in all relevant training and education, across all trades and professions in this sector.

He says: “If successful, this will lead to a better skilled workforce, higher home energy performance and greater consumer confidence.”

He goes on to recommend: “Training and education providers, employers, industry bodies and professional groups [should] work together to establish the best mechanism to translate the required core knowledge into mandatory requirements and learning outcomes for each job role. Training, qualifications and apprenticeships will need updating to include this core knowledge.”

Bathroom Academy

The BMA’s ground-breaking Bathroom Academy has seen remarkable success in producing the good, relevant, cost-effective and holistic bathroom product training recommended in the report.

Over the past 12 months, the Academy has seen a major upgrade, launched at kbb Birmingham in 2016. The popular Bathroom Guides have been refreshed with new graphics and information and, together with its partner Strategic Professionals, a series of classroom-style courses have been introduced.

Fundamental to the Academy are its downloadable industry guides, which are invaluable for complete novices, but are also useful for the more experienced who may need a refresher.

They are downloadable from the website and for those who want to progress further they form part of the complete eLearning course.

The Bathroom Academy plays a very important role in our industry.

It is open to all, not just the BMA membership. Last year’s upgrade will further embed the Academy into our industry’s culture.

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association and The Bathroom Academy are optimistic about the year ahead. Education and training is in the spotlight and the Academy is well placed to supply the needs of the industry.

  • For more on industry training and education, see the February issue of kbbreview
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