The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has unveiled an employer package to allow installation companies easier access to apprentices and address the current skills gap.
It has established a national network of BiKBBI approved Centres of Excellence to teach the KBB Fitted Interiors Apprenticeship and unveiled a package of support to enable installers to take on apprentices.
The Skills Plus apprenticeship package addresses advertising vacancies, vetting applicants and carrying out eligibility checks, as well as employment administration including contacts and running payroll for the apprenticeship.
In addition, the programme provides the training requirements, including placing the apprentice with an accredited training provider (BiKBBI Centre of Excellence), monitoring progress and arranging for end-point assessment.
According to the BiKBBI, it means apprentices can be taken on and have all wages and other costs covered for as little as £210 a week.
Chief executive of BiKBBI Damian Walters said: “This is a real game changer for our industry and it’s going to make a real difference for hundreds of installation businesses.
“In the last couple of years we’ve had over 700 of our members get in touch to express an interest in taking on an apprentice, but until now many have found it difficult to deal with the cost and bureaucracy of doing so.
“That’s why we’ve worked so hard to put this package of support together. It means that for the first time, installers of all sizes can afford to take on an apprentice and grow their businesses, without the complication sometimes associated with apprenticeships.”
The launch of the apprenticeship package follows a BiKBBI survey that found a third of sole trader installers plan on retiring from the industry within the next 10 years and less than 10% of employers believe there is a good supply of qualified installers.
Chief executive of the BiKBBI Damian Walters has also warned the current shortage of installers could be a long-term reality if action isn’t taken to develop the next generation of tradespeople.
The BiKBBI is set to start a nationwide programme of outreach in schools and communities across the UK to promote the apprenticeship and the opportunities that a career in kitchen and bathroom installation offers young people.
Backed by a three-year funding pledge from Quooker, BiKBBI expects this to lead to over 500 apprentices a year entering the industry.
Campaign activity will include working with college recruitment departments and visiting schools to generate interest in kitchen and bathroom installation careers.
BiKBBI is also in discussions with charities and community groups to recruit in underrepresented communities, helping to ensure people from all backgrounds can take up the opportunities of a kbb installation apprenticeship.
Damian Walters added: “All of the pieces are in place to provide youngsters a route into our industry, our job now is to help them recognise the opportunity that’s on offer.
“We’re going to spread the word of how a career in kbb installation offers young people from all backgrounds a way to quickly make a very good living in a trade that’s constantly in demand.”