Well ain’t that a positive headline for a change! There’s plenty to be moody and frustrated about in our industry right now, but in my latest poll it does seem that there remains some pretty solid optimism about being able to turn around the skills gap.

Here’s the results of that week long poll, and what I think has to happen to be able to action a turn around.

Question and answer

This was the questions I posed to my Twitter followers over the past week, and the results that came back:

I know, there’s a spelling mistake in the final answer. But, the big take away here is that two thirds of those who voted believe that we do still have time to turn around the skills crisis.

To be frank, I’m amazed that it was that high in all honesty. The skills crisis has been in our industry for years now, and I have forgotten how many years I have been talking about it myself. We could all see it coming, and many installers have been living through it for far too long already. Yet it’s only been in the past year or so that the industry has actually tried to get a grip of the situation. I have said over and over again, many moons ago that we had to take hold of it at least five years back if we were to have a good chance of being able to address the situation.

But as is typical of the double glazing industry, it buried it’s head instead, and decided other things are more important. Now, we find ourselves in a position where within ten years 25% of all people in our industry are set to retire without any of those people being replaced. Madness. But, if the industry still believes we have time to sort it, then perhaps all is not lost.

I know I probably sound at odds with the poll results here, but I have been in this industry long enough to know that good intentions are not always followed by productive actions.

So, what I would say to the industry is this: with the FIT Show coming up next week, what are we as a sector going to actually do to try to turn things around?

DGB Brexit

Actions, not just words

If you look at the seminar list on the FIT Show site, you’ll see that quite a few are dedicated to this subject. Its good to see, and hopefully we can get more industry folk engaged with the subject.

But what I don’t want to see is just lip service being paid to those sitting down to listen to those who speak. We’re beyond the point of talking now. Actions have to be taken. That is why I believe the Building Our Skills scheme has to be backed. It’s the first joined up, coordinated push by various companies from around the supply chain to attempt to do something about it.

This is one step however, and this has to be built upon by others with the time, money and resources to invest in an industry that has provided them with success. What I mean by that, is CEOs, MDs, Directors etc using their influence and power, as well as their companies to help the effort to reach out to the general public.

I want to see swathes of medium and large fenestration companies reaching out to schools, colleges and academies and get in front of school kids to educate them about what fenestration is, what it means, the types of jobs involved and the money they could earn by working hard in our industry. I want to see a big rise in the number of apprenticeship places being offered specifically for our industry. I want to see an online campaign funded and organised by companies in our industry with the aim to reach out to 14-18 year old kids on social media platforms. I want to see pay rise for installers and those who work on factory floors to make those jobs look more inviting to new talent. There’s a ton of actionable ideas our industry could do and do quickly, what I hope not to see is the discussion of ideas, meetings to plan further meetings and more time wasting.

The time for talking about this has been and gone. Its time for action. Lets see what happens.

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