I hear so much from people in the industry who never intended to get into the industry in the first place. The line “I sort of fell into it” I must have heard fifty times. I get it, some people end up in windows and doors by accident, but most always seem happy to be in their line of work. But why should our industry be one of those industries people end up in by mistake?
Good careers in glazing at all levels
I think one major fact forgotten in all the negativity and hype around the window industry is that quite a few of us making a decent living out of the work we do. At all levels, providing you make a real effort and dedicate yourself to the job, the rewards should come your way. I know that our own fitters make a very decent living out of their work. The manual side of our industry isn’t always for everyone, but if it is, then it’s very possible to make a good living out of it.
I also know of salesmen, both B2B and B2C that make a good living too. Reps tend to have a less than amazing reputation, but they do make a good living from their roles – again providing that they put the effort in. Then there are the positions above and in between. Managers, MD’s and CEOs you would expect to make a decent whack. So whilst people are tripping into the industry by accident, a lot do make a good living, and importantly, a career from it. Something I think we should bear in mind.
Education system not helping
When I left sixth form at the age of 17 to join the family business, the focus on trades was disappearing. There was very little focus on the manual subjects, building, plastering, plumbing, electrician for example. In fact I remember plenty of assemblies and talks which encouraged all of us to aim to go to University and aim for the type of jobs which required a desk, a computer and nothing to do with the sorts of manual studies which power some of our most important trades. And whilst Uni and higher end jobs were alright for some, I knew that there were many in my year who simply did not want to go down that route, including myself. Unfortunately, there was very little opportunity for those in our college to take up a trade to study.
And herein lies the problem, if our education system is actively ignoring these vital trades that are in critically short supply as we speak, what chance have we got of building the level of new homes the UK desperately needs? Yes we have an apprenticeship system, but that is only a few years old and nowhere near large enough to start filling the skills gaps all over the construction sector. Ever since the rise of IT and the internet, the education systems has slowly slipped into a world where teaching our kids to be totally tech savvy has overtaken the need to also provide young people ready to help bolster the construction sector.
While I’m on the matter, glazing should also be a classed as a trade. Fitting windows, doors, conservatories etc isn’t just something that can be learned over a weekend. Like an electrician or a builder, those skills need to be taught properly, both in the classroom and on site so that kids get both a practical and mental understanding of the trade. We need to encourage a little more respect for the industry as a trade, I think it is often seen as the poorer cousin to some of the other more established trades.
Simply, the glazing industry should not be one people fall into. It’s a big task, but I would like to see the industry transformed into one people would like to actually forge a career in. See it for it’s opportunities rather than it’s typical negative stigma and poor reputation.