Academy for Excellence in Flooring: A trainer’s perspective

DAVID Bacchus has been a trainer and assessor at the Academy for Excellence in Flooring since 2015, but his history with the centre goes back to the very beginning, being one of the first installers to undergo the Master Installer programme in 2012.

Quickly recognising the benefits the Master Installer programme could bring his business, including peace of mind and a workmanship warranty for homeowners, David Bacchus attended a training course back in the summer of 2012.

Despite being an experienced installer, David found the course tested his skill base and took him out of his comfort zone, leaving a lasting impression of what he could achieve:
‘With three days of installing in a six-metre bay with every obstacle imaginable, the course tested my skills to the limit, attempting perfection in expansion gaps and cutting laminate to within two-millimetres around toilet pans,’ says David Bacchus.

‘The course really demonstrated what I could achieve with focus and clarity, even taking onboard the importance of setting-out to discover where all my cuts would be proved invaluable.’
Having qualified as a Master Installer in Wood and Laminate and LVT, and after continued dialogue in developing course content, David was approached by the Academy for Excellence in Flooring to become a trainer and assessor.

With first-hand experience of stepping into the training bays, David has a unique perspective, being able to understand just how intimidating it can be stepping into one of the centre’s training bays.

David continues: ‘People of all ages come to take part in the Master Installer programme at the Academy, our youngest 20 and the oldest 71, with the criteria being that they must have been installing floors for at least two-years. We see two main types of installer; sole traders or small companies with one or two staff and larger subcontractors that have contracts with local retailers or DIY chains.

‘The courses are constantly updated to take onboard the needs of these different groups. For example, if we’re training contractors, we’ll focus on time and how to meet the tight timescales without compromising the standard of the install.

‘Candidates are often surprised by the level demanded and pushing them outside of their comfort zone sometimes yields interesting scenarios. Older candidates occasionally falter in the courses due to the accumulation of bad habits, even though their experience is apparent.

‘For these individuals, we like to think of the course as a ‘reboot’; at one time or another, everyone has been guilty of opting for the shortcut when a clearer option will give a better end result.

‘Naturally, the younger attendees take on methods and practices more easily and it is incredibly satisfying when one of them achieves the Master Installer status and progress to further training courses in other disciplines.

‘That said, all candidates are left in no doubt that this is a pass or fail course and our role as trainers and assessors is not just monitoring fitting standards, but also problem-solving capability and an awareness of methodology. A constant remark is ‘that was the most intimidating installing I’ve ever done’, and the sense of relief in passing the course tangible.

‘Once completed, we discuss the course with the candidate on a one-to-one basis and the feedback goes into developing future courses. I enjoy my role immensely but never forget my origins at the Academy some six-years ago, when I was certainly put through my paces.

‘Even with my role as a trainer and assessor, I strive to keep up my levels and still wear the Master Installer badge with pride. I now also have the privilege to call many Master Installers friends and we keep in contact regularly through the Quick-Step Master Installer Facebook page.