Editor Philippa Turrell says the kitchen and bathroom industry need to play their part in making designing a career path for school leavers
It’s that time of year, when a combination of four letters – pass or fail -could seal your future fate. At least that’s what it feels like when you’re waiting for exam results, with success or ruination upon the opening of an email (or envelope back in my day). What you probably weren’t prepared for was the ‘what if’…what was the alternative? What about changing A Level options, going through university clearing or not going to university at all? It’s the time when you need options to clearly demonstrate there’s another career path you can take.
And this should be where the kitchen and bathroom industry could step in – a career path, picking up school leavers and introducing them to this design-rich industry. Let’s face it, we’ve got a long way to go before kitchen and bathroom design becomes a first-choice. But are we as an industry, even speaking to them? And where is the red carpet into this specialised spatial design? What these students will want is a career path, an alternative route not a lesser option. And what have they got?
Although there have been huge strides in kitchen design qualifications, it’s still against an audible hum of dissent – questioning the value of training for those in the industry. Those with basic skills are hardly going to highlight their faults but even the ‘I’m doing very well, thank you’ designers don’t feel the need for qualifications and training. They’ve got the experience, local recognition, heck maybe the bank balance to show their work meets consumer demands and standards. They don’t need to prove themselves to anyone, including their peers. And put quite simply, they don’t want to share their skills to upgrade competitors.
Well wise-up…It’s not all about you. What about the next generation? If you want your job to be recognised as a profession, then there needs to be an appropriate career route. Formal qualifications, on the job training, continuing development – maybe even apprenticeships must all play their part. But you can help influence what is demanded in these qualifications. You can help drive the professionalism, increase the skill levels, gain recognition for your own job and make it a first-choice career for the future. So here’s another four letter word for you, put yourself to that test!