Calling the lack of KBB apprentice uptake “a travesty”, CEO of the British Institute of KBB Installation (BiKBBI) Damian Walters implored industry to act.
Speaking at the 10th annual BiKBBI annual conference themed upon collaboration, at the QEII Conference Centre in London, he urged to the industry to come together.
Stating education is the most prominent area of work by the BiKBBI, of which its Education Steering Committee plays a key role, Walters said the institute had made “significant” progress.
This has included collaborative work to deliver the Level 2 Fitted Furniture Installer Apprenticeship, to create a career path, a standalone Apprenticeship Standard for Fitted Interiors, and creation of an apprenticeship help desk.
However, he stated the initiative has “generally lacked industry uptake”, which he called “an absolute tragedy”.
“Less than 100 new apprentices joining our industry is nothing short of a travesty. It’s not good enough and there’s no point in us pretending otherwise.
“Our industry coming together and creating a fit for purpose solution to our long-term skills gap challenge is the equivalent of us building a life raft for people stranded at sea, but no-one is getting on board because they are taking selfies with circling sharks.”
He continued: “I know we’re all busy and business must prioritise focus on a number of challenges, internally as well as externally, but we have a robust vehicle for futureproofing the problem, but we’re not using it.”
Walters recognised there was a need for Government to do more to support SMEs and feedback from independent retailers who had critiqued the scheme,
He said: “We know apprenticeships need work…but we’re at the forefront of development and driving change in representation of you.”