We’re really busy at the moment. Probably the busiest in the 11 years I have been working at our family run installations business. This is clearly a good thing. However the problem we are having is finding the right people to carry out that work.

Right now we’re bursting at the seams. Too many quotes to process. Fitting to last us plenty of time. Building work such as lintels, knock-thrus and small alterations, coming out of our ears. Yet, as we reach out to try and find the right people to help ease the workload, we reach dead ends. So we’re busy, but it’s actually becoming a problem!

Education system to blame

For me, the root of the problem that is the lack of quality trades people is the education system. For so long our education system has heavily promoted school leavers to continue through into college and University. To go an get degrees in almost anything. Whilst this has been going on, there has bee very little focus on the trades; electricians, plasterers, builders, plumbers, window fitters, joiners and so on.

We’re now reaping what the education system has sown. Years and years of neglect has left us with an economy trying to grow, but without the personnel to facilitate that business. So companies are left bursting and unable to grow in a controlled manner. I have seen on a few occasions recently where companies have said that they’re having to turn away work because they’re beyond full and aren’t in a position to take on more work. This is a sad situation and one that should not have been allowed to happen.

The education system has to become more balanced moving forwards. No matter how our economy evolves, we will always need trades to build and re-build the country’s infrastructure. Without a massive influx of new blood to the various trades, including our own, are going to continue to suffer.

Big boost for qualifications

There is an incentive in all of this. There is the obvious plus point of relieving the workload on overworked installation companies. But, if we can somehow manage to bring in a new brigade of window and door installers, it would be a chance to train a new age of installers that are all fully qualified, automatically meeting new regulations.

It would provide a unique opportunity for the industry to build up a fully qualified, reputable workforce that could help shun the negative reputation the industry still has.

Companies like GQA Qualifications, who are the industry’s leading qualifications board, would be able to facilitate the quals via their network of training centres. The infrastructure to make it happen is already there. We just need the influx of new blood. Easier said than done.

And of course, the remaining good ones are already stacked out with work that they can’t take on any more work. We have found that when ringing around potential contacts. All the good ones are fully booked beyond being able to take on extra work. Good for them, not so helpful for us.

But I am in no doubt that the education system in this country is to blame for the severe lack of trades people to call upon. If there is no change there, then we’ll find that our skills gap becomes more and more chronic.

Are you an installations business that is struggling to find skilled trades people? Are you growing but unable to facilitate that extra growth? Please leave your comments and experiences below.

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