‘Local benefits from nationally recognised qualification’

THE Quick-Step Master Installer programme is at the heart of the Academy for Excellence in Flooring’s efforts to boost standards in the industry. Providing experienced installers with a manufacturer-backed lifetime workmanship guarantee, it’s increasingly recognised by industry professionals as a way to secure work.

Having been in the flooring industry for more than 30 years, Steve Whitburn is one such installer who’s now enjoying the benefits of Master Installer status for wood and laminate and LVT flooring. Working in almost every part of the trade, from his start as a YTS domestic fitter at Allied Carpets in Birmingham to national contract firms, nationwide companies that furnish show homes and private domestic work; Steve is certainly among one of the industry’s most experienced installers.

Recently relocating from Birmingham to a new home in Torquay, Devon, Steve saw the Master Installer badge as an opportunity to promote the wood and laminate side of his fitting work to secure work with local companies:

‘I knew that I had to be able to back-up my experience with a qualification that would be recognised by local companies,’ says Steve Whitburn. ‘The Quick-Step brand is well-established and trusted, so the Master Installer programme looked like the right choice. In fact, it proved so successful in establishing the business in my new locality that I returned to the Academy six months later to complete the LVT Master Installer course.

‘To be honest, I was quite surprised by all the technical and background information – you don’t realise how much actually goes in to product development. We were shown a range of core practical skills, such as how to fit stairs properly, but it was the tweaks, tips and tricks to make things easier and quicker that have made a real difference.’

Taking forward his newly-found skills into domestic work throughout the Torquay region, Steve has also seen further benefits to being a holder of the Master Installer badge:

‘The recognition of the Quick-Step brand among consumers, combined with the lifetime guarantee, gives you an edge on closing work. It’s certainly helped to establish me in the area. I also get a regular flow of enquiries from the Quick-Step website, where I’m listed as Master Installer operating in the Torquay area. Support from the Academy has also been flawless, with the social media platforms connected to the Academy really helpful when you’re on-site and in a bit of a pickle!

‘Training is definitely the way forward in the trade. It’s great that the Academy covers things such as subfloor preparation in-depth and highlights that this crucial element is often a reason for failing floors. It should be at the top of the agenda for all courses. I’d recommend the Master Installer programme for anyone looking to improve their skills and enhance their reputation in their local community.’

The Academy for Excellence in Flooring currently has availability for the three-day training and certification scheme. The programme includes a mixture of discussions, presentations, one-to-one mentoring throughout the course and up to five practical installations in dedicated training bays. At the end of the course, there will be a pass or fail assessment for the Master Installer status.