KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
28th January 2021
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I attended an interesting online press event last week, during which the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation announced Quooker as the latest brand to support the growing organisation, with a specific focus on accelerating plans for work on the KBB installation Apprenticeship initiative. Quooker's six-figure investment - the first instalment of a three-year package of support, will drive the Institute towards delivering the first phase of 'Operation Next-Gen' - the promotion of KBB Apprenticeship opportunities to the next generation - predominantly secondary school senior students. With the dearth of professional fitters the UK currently faces, it was just the news I wanted to hear.
Quooker (UK) managing director Stephen Johnson told us: "We've undergone some of the toughest trading conditions our industry has ever faced. We've seen first-hand how it's affected smaller independent retailers and how changing consumer habits have dramatically impacted sales. Brands are faced with two choices - shrivel up and remain inward focused, or work together, sharing expertise, resources and help the industry rebuild, recover and thrive." It's good to see that he's putting his resources into supporting the second choice...
In an emotional event that reviewed challenges faced by the industry and organisation over the last year, BiKBBI discussed its plans to open 10 new Centres of Excellence across England, ready for the delivery of KBB Fitted Interior Apprenticeships from September. The National rollout will follow the recent successful pilot in the South East. CEO Damian Walters gave a heartfelt thanks to his team, members, retail partners and corporate sponsors, saying: "Without them, we wouldn't be in a position to support the industry as we are. No one else will fix the issue of building a future workforce on this scale and I call upon other brands to follow Quooker's lead - we need more brands to get behind our efforts."
The momentum's growing - and as Chris Parry, director of operations at BiKBBI's 'Protected', confirmed, there has been "impressive and diverse retailer uptake" and the scheme's protection of "tens of thousands of pounds of consumer and installer money during BETA testing."
Exciting times at BiKBBI then... some much needed change now in full swing and the entire industry ready to benefit. With news that we've lost a multitude of fitters as a result of both Brexit and Covid - and knowing that without worthy replacements, our industry will struggle even more, this latest initiative hasn't come a moment too soon.
28th January 2021