The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has reported a “strong” start to its apprenticeship programme, but calls for more employers to take on apprentices.
It follows the launch of its Skills Plus apprenticeship package, which enables installers to take on apprentices without having to deal with recruitment and employment.
Training is also supplied by BiKBBI approved Centres of Excellence to teach the KBB Fitted Interiors Apprenticeship.
According to the BiKBBI, hundreds of employers and potential apprentices expressed an interest in becoming part of the programme.
Over 300 candidate interviews have taken place and the first cohort of KBB Installation apprentices have now started work.
BiKBBI developed the programme and the associated support service, BiKBBI Skills Plus, in partnership with leading Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) The Apprenticeship Management Group.
The BiKBBI reports there have been over 30 applications for every vacancy that has been advertised so far.
Director of the Apprenticeship Management Group John Henry commented: “We are delighted to be part of this really exciting time within the KBB industry and help the sector bridge the skills gap by bringing on specialist apprentices to be the workforce of the future.
“For each installation role that we are advertising, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of applicants wanting to learn real trades in a growth sector.
“This is bucking the trend in the overall recruitment market and shows the high level of interest in young people looking to acquire planning, fitting, electrical and plumbing skills and become installers.”
BiKBBI has been driving much of the interest with an outreach programme, backed by a six-figure investment by Quooker, promoting KBB installation as a career option to school-leavers.
Chief Executive of BiKBBI Damian Walters said “Seeing the interest that young people are showing in our industry has been incredibly exciting and I couldn’t be happier that a new generation of installers are now getting their careers off the ground.
“We established the BiKBBI apprenticeship programme to meet the urgent need to bring in new talent and head off the skills gap crisis. This is a great start.”
However, despite the levels of interest being shown by potential apprentices, BiKBBI calls for more employers to create job opportunities.
Damian Walters, added: “The entire industry now needs to help us kick the programme on by opening up more apprenticeship vacancies.
“We know that installers are crying out for talent to help meet unprecedented levels of demand for high quality KBB installation.
“Our apprenticeship programme provides all of the answers to this call with a fit-for-purpose apprenticeship in the Level 2 Fitted Interiors programme; a package of support to help with recruitment; and a growing pool of enthusiastic candidates.
“The job now is to spread the word about all that is on offer.”
In a rallying cry to encourage KBB companies to create vacancies, MD of Quooker Stephen Johnson commented: “High consumer demand for installation and after-sales care is increasingly unable to be met with any speed and, in many cases, without any guarantee of quality.
“No matter how many taps we sell or indeed any kitchens and bathrooms across the industry, if there are not enough installers to keep pace, there is an inevitable bottleneck. This is our collective problem.
“The BIKBBI has made it easier than ever to employ and train apprentices.
“This crisis requires drastic change and immediate support. We will all feel the effects keenly if we do not.”
To help the industry encourage more employers to take up the offer of the apprenticeship programme, BiKBBI has developed an ‘Apprenticeships Toolkit’, encouraging vacancies to be created among networks.