That is a bold statement I know, and to be clear, I am not saying that fenestration in this country IS the best sector in the economy. What I am saying however is that it has the ingredients to become one of the best, if not the best sector in the country.
Let me explain why.
Fenestration is a varied industry
I have spent all my working life in this sector, and through the various vocations I have forged for myself in that time, I have come to understand that the fenestration sector has such a wide and varied career map.
When you look at all the different aspects within fenestration, you understand that there is literally something here for everyone, no matter their interests and tastes. That is why I believe that if we took the time to professionalise across the sector, we can make fenestration one of the very best sectors in this country.
If a person has that creative flare and wants to explore how to put that to good use, there are a ton of opportunities within fenestration to hone those skills. It could be as part of a systems company designing a new profile, or a composite door company trying out new door designs and glass layouts.
A creative person might want to work as part of a marketing team where they can put their talents to good use on social media, video creation, artwork for point-of-sale materials or writing such as PR or blog content.
Someone who is good at photography could lend themselves to a fenestration business that is looking to produce more of their own photography and images to then use in their own marketing content.
Fenestration has endless possibilities for those who are creative and will get to see their hard work used in the public domain.
The obvious one for me is that fenestration is a sector that provides people with a chance to learn a very useful trade. The country is always going to need to use of highly skilled window and door installers. These past couple of years have highlighted the acute demand we have for these skilled people.
Every building, new or old, will need products fitting that our industry produces. That means there will always be a need for fenestration installers. For those looking to learn a trade and craft a career in what is a well-paid part of the sector, this is the absolute perfect time in which to get stuck into some hard work and learning in our industry.
What’s more, learning a trade in window and door installation can open doors into other sectors and other skills. For example, because of our links with construction, installers could find themselves transferring those skills to other areas. This is an aspect of our work that I think has been under-appreciated for a while.
There are certain parts of our sector that are very well paid right now. This is thanks to certain circumstances falling into place at the right time. I am primarily thinking of careers in installation, service engineers, surveyors. These are careers that are in very high demand, and with a shortage of workers to fill these roles, pay has increased dramatically in an effort to attract talent.
In any job in any sector, how much you can earn, and potentially earn in the future, is a major factor when someone is deciding what direction to go in. The practical side of our industry, which involves installation, is seeing very good rates of pay right now which should make fenestration a very attractive prospect to anyone looking for a new career.
Good career progression
One aspect our industry has always had is good career progression. With hard work and commitment to the job, it is quite simple to work your way up the ladder at the fenestration company you’re working at.
In my time in this sector, I have witnessed people go from quite mid-level roles in their business, right to the very top. I have found this industry a very progressive one where someone is able to work their way up the levels, allowing them to improve their pay and expand their ambitions in life.
Failing that, it is also very simple to set up a new business in this sector as there are a number of growing niches within fenestration that show very positive growth trends. A good example of that for me is Vitrine Aluminium. This is a new fabrication business based in Manchester and has seen quick growth since its inception. Residential aluminium is a good growth sector and I am sure they will do very well over the coming years.
Growing tech scene
Technology is one of the biggest growth markets in the world and is certainly one of the largest employment sectors around the world. UK fenestration has its own burgeoning tech scene, with a plethora of different tech companies all racing to improve how the industry manufactures, prices, sells, creates leads and manages businesses.
For someone who is interested in pursuing a career in technology and also wants to make a difference in business, the tech sector within fenestration is a really good place to start. It’s also worth saying that over the next 5-10 years the tech scene within fenestration is going to grow exponentially and will be huge within the next decade.
Although some may see this industry as just a job to them, I have always seen this sector as one that is quite rewarding.
Rewarding in one sense that you’re able to build a career for yourself. But rewarding because you know that the products we install, new energy-efficient windows and doors, can make a huge difference to the living standards of hard-working people and their homes. When you look at it from that point of view and know that keeping a house warmer and more secure will make a tangible difference to how someone feels in their home is a really positive way to think about our sector.
Often, our industry gets painted as one that is shady, unprofessional and sleazy. White Gold comes to mind. But the reality is very different in a lot of cases and it’s only a minority of bad people and bad companies that tarnish the reputation of our sector. Fenestration can be a very polished and professional sector, depending on who you work for.
Another factor to consider is the level of demand for new windows and doors over the next 5-10 years. Some believe that we’re at the start of a cycle of much higher demand for home improvements in the residential part of the market. And the Government has set lofty targets for the creation of new homes in the next few years, which of course means plenty more new windows and doors fitted into these newly constructed homes.
It means the products, skills and services of our industry are going to be in very high demand in the short, medium and long term. This makes fenestration a pretty stable sector to work in, which considering the problems other sectors have had is a very attractive trait to have.
Much work to do
These are just a sample of some of the ingredients that I think could make the fenestration sector one of the best to work in. There are plenty more too.
We have creative options, practical options, all sorts of job roles for all sorts of people. Good rates of pay, great career progression prospects and jobs that can be really rewarding. But as an industry, we have a lot of work to do so we can tie all of that up in a neat package and make it attractive to potential new talent.
As a sector, we’re incredibly fractured. We do not speak as one voice on single issues. There is an air of arrogance in some parts, and some troubling tribal tendencies in other parts. The politics in the sector and the divisions are what is keeping this industry held back from making progress on a number of really important issues. This industry has the potential to be so much bigger, vastly more progressive and highly skilled and professional. But until the sector can set aside what I have said above, that potential is going to be wasted and the industry will remain behind others when it comes to attracting the right people.
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