Following on from the debate sparked by my last post about a lack of youth in the industry, a few reasons have cropped up as to why we might be lacking in any obvious young energy on the whole as an industry. A theory of mine, which has come up in previous discussions many moons ago, is because we do not portray ourselves as an industry to carve a career out of. Or in other words, we don’t look good enough as an industry to attracts the 16+ year olds leaving education.

I don’t understand why really. If you look at the more senior members within the fenestration community, a lot of them have been in this industry for decades. They have had their career and made some pretty good money whilst doing so. So why can we not demonstrate this important quality to the younger generation?

If you strip away all the bad press and the negative image attributed to the minority of absolute cowboys, our industry is a decent place to work in. Apprenticeships now mean that 16 year olds can learn a true craft with us. We offer training and sales positions which allow for elevation within companies, often to the highest positions. Positions like surveyors and service engineers, highly skilled jobs, are often well paid with good hours. Big R&D departments allow young people to think up new ideas for products and expand them with company funding.

Our industry has some genuinely interesting and challenging positions with good pay. It isn’t just an industry full of cheesy double glazing salesmen. It is FAR more than that, and perhaps that’s the message we should be getting out to the general public. Perhaps we need to educate people and show them other parts of the industry that they previously wouldn’t have even spared a second to think about. Then, maybe they might start to understand our industry a bit better, but also consider taking a job in the industry if they are looking for one, or know of some one that is looking for work.

It all comes back to the issue of youth again. We’re not just going to be able to force a new generation into this industry to fill the skills gaps as they appear. We need young people to come on board because the WANT to come on board. We need new, fresh faces to bound into our industry full of energy, confidence and ideas. New blood is what keeps our industry moving forwards and pushing the boundaries of what we can all achieve.

To be fair to ourselves, I do believe that we are trying to change the perception of our industry. The bad reputation we garnered for ourselves is starting to lift due to the hard work we are all doing to try and show that we’re not all as bad as the cowboys make us look. If we continue to do this, then perhaps our industry will be a more attractive prospect to young job hunters.

Do you agree? Does our tarnished and dull image put people off from considering a career in fenestration? All comments welcome in the section below?