Full throttle ahead

He may be juggling fatherhood again and record numbers of FloorSkills bookings but, as Matt Bourne explains, there’s always time to celebrate training successes

W ELL, what a very busy few months it’s been since the FloorSkills open day. I’m now a proud father to our second child, Amelia; courses have gone wild with no end to bookings which have now hit record figures for FloorSkills.

Meanwhile, there are new apprenticeship standards and funding requirements to get our heads around and we’ve introduced three staff members at FloorSkills to keep everything running efficiently while growth expands at an alarming rate.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to the supporting manufacturers which attended the FloorSkills open day. Without the support of these amazing companies the day would have never happened. We had more than 40 manufacturers attending and showcasing their products while more than 200 visitors attended. Next year will be bigger and better again!

I’d also like to proffer a massive thank you to those who, at the last minute, donated prizes to the raffle that wasn’t planned. The raffle was a last-minute idea, which led to only a few manufacturers having something they could physically donate on the day.

We know moving forward we’ll be having a raffle at the 2018 open day, giving all manufacturers time to prepare rather than me walking around on the day saying, ‘Can we have that to give away in the raffle please?’

So, who won the raffle? First place went to Lee Styles, second place went to Tony Newall and third placed was Jason Brook. There was a range of prizes that consisted of Wolf Mixing stations, Addex Extractor, Rewmar adhesives, Bona adhesives, Floorwise products, Tramex Moisture meters, three free FloorSkills course tickets and so on. Again, thanks to those who supported us when being put on the spot by myself.

First placed Lee Styles of Carpet Styles based in Telford was the first on the phone booking his free course. The course date arrived and I met Lee and his righthand man, Ryan Evans. What a pleasant and very enthusiastic pair! They had no end of questions and were very eager to learn. This is what it’s all about!

So, I spoke to Lee and Ryan and suggested Lee do a write-up about who he is and how he has progressed and why he attended the open day. He gladly accepted. He wrote:

At the tender age of 16 I found myself in a carpet retailers warehouse, broom in hand sweeping what seemed to be an endless floor. It’s fair to say my first insight to this trade wasn’t one of inspiration. A few months later one of the shop’s fitters came up to me and said: ‘It’s about time you did a proper day’s graft.’

I jumped at the chance of accompanying him and for some unknown reason I instantly knew this was the career for me. (Although I did again find myself broom-in-hand).

After around five years I decided to go it alone and spent the next 8-10 years contracting for various companies. It was on one of these days I first met Ryan Evans and who would’ve thought all these years later we’d run carpet styles together.

During my contracting years I believed myself to be a fairly competent fitter but always had a burning desire to be a more accomplished installer. I sat through four Carpetright assessment days which really opened my eyes to training and the benefits it offered.

From this point on myself and Ryan put ourselves through as much training and product knowledge days as possible. This led to us passing the NICF master fitter exam, an achievement we heavily promote in our business model.

Two years later, and still learning every day, we heard about an open day at the FloorSkills Training Centre in Solihull. A day full of products and people talking about this trade seemed like a good day out to us, so we attended and to be fair were impressed with the setup and had a great day meeting people we knew through the social media world but had yet to meet in person.

To add icing to the cake, on our journey home Matt Bourne, owner of FloorSkills, rang me to say I’d won first prize in the raffle. The list of prizes was endless and the generosity of all sponsors was gratefully received.

One prize was a free training course of our choice at FloorSkills.

The following week I rang the FloorSkills office to book us onto the LVT Level 2 course and also book us onto the FloorSkills master installer exam in Textile Floorcoverings, which I’m proud to say we passed.

The LVT course did hold a little concern to us as we don’t install a great deal of this product but it was excellent. The course comprised of a day of subfloor preparation which quickly made us aware of how little we knew, but now have the confidence to discuss and solve flooring issues with our clients in order to leave them with the floor they desire.

The next two days were LVT installation and we were lucky enough to have Dan Jones as an instructor; we learned so much during the two days, we no longer fear the world of LVT.

As a business, we cannot stress enough how important correct, up-to-date training is, and you really can learn a vast amount inside the often referred to ‘dog box’.

And if promoted correctly, it really can help your company profile and give your customer confidence in your ability. In short, training is and should be, for everyone.

01564 703900
Matt Bourne is head trainer, FloorSkills Training Centre