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An alliance designed to tackle the skills crisis

Manufacturers are partnering with FITA to develop customised training courses.
Shaun has the details…

FITA has delivered high quality training courses at its Loughborough site for over 20 years and is considered by industry to be the blueprint for privately funded floorlayer training in the UK. Co-founded by the Contract Flooring Association (CFA) and the National Institute of Carpet & Floorlayers (NICF) to provide specialist training for the floorcovering industry, FITA is an independent, not-for-profit organisation – by industry, for industry.

We have two specialist training centres at Loughborough and Kirkcaldy with fully equipped practical and lecture areas.

Our training consultants have extensive knowledge of the flooring industry. They teach delegates the skills needed to increase knowledge and abilities, maximising potential to increase earning power. FITA also enjoys the support of a considerable number of manufacturers through a robust sponsorship agreement and can boast over 30 sponsors who freely donate materials, accessories, tools and equipment to support our vision.

With the support of Webs Training Ltd, a leading training provider based in Nottingham, FITA’s training and delivery options at the Loughborough centre also include apprenticeship delivery in the East Midlands for prospective employers. FITA works with Webs to ensure that this delivery is at the highest standard possible and sits alongside the best in the country.

We’re extremely proud to promote the fact we also work with manufacturers to develop and deliver brand specific training to the sector too. Offering a service to those that do not have access to their own academies or training schools, or those that want to add additional quality assurance to any training delivered by aligning with FITA.

These brand specific courses sit alongside our vast range of universal training courses and are very much separate. Driven by the manufacturer and their aims, these courses are quite clearly designed and advertised with manufacturer presence at their heart but with the training quality stamp from FITA attached too.

One example of how well this works is with our manufacturer partner Alternative Flooring and their Natural Floorcovering range. In 2022 FITA and Alternative Flooring began working together to develop a specific course for their Natural carpet range and the optimum ways to install them. The course is designed to broaden an installer’s skill set to include natural fibre materials breaking down the myths associated with installing natural floorcoverings such as sisal, seagrass, coir and jute. Training includes various stair installation techniques, flat areas and joins using Alternative Flooring products.

In 2023 we delivered training to over 60 installers in England and Scotland, all of which were supported on the cost of the training through Alternative Flooring and their retailers. This will continue in 2024 and provides the manufacturer with a safeguard that products sold are being installed to the correct guidelines to protect warranty and ensure the fitters are fully confident in approaching installations.

It also increases their fitting network to maximise the sales opportunity. As we all know, a skills and labour shortage are currently burdening our industry and I applaud companies such as Alternative for taking control and proactively addressing the issue.

Another example of how FITA can work in conjunction with industry is with our latest addition to manufacturer specific courses with Forbo Flooring UK – Marmoleum installation at both basic and intermediate level. Ideal for both the newcomer and those looking to improve their knowledge and skill with Marmoleum, Forbo’s main linoleum brand.

Courses cover the basics of how to install sheet and tile correctly, including straight lay and welding. But then move on to more complex installations and fitting techniques such as cove forming internal/external corners, picture framing, repairs and working around complex obstacles.

Forbo Flooring UK have been longstanding FITA sponsors since 2012 supporting in the delivery of a range of training courses, this expanded in recent years to helping FITA establish training in Scotland within their manufacturing plant in Kirkcaldy. It is great to add these manufacturer led courses to the relationship in 2024 on specific Marmoleum training at Loughborough and Kirkcaldy sites.

Both courses are run several times throughout the year and are designed to improve the industry standard of Marmoleum fitting and give confidence to flooring contractors in correctly installing linoleum floorcoverings. Supported by a leading manufacturer.

Training within the flooring industry has expanded exponentially over the past few years and FITA in particular has developed and grown areas of its training activity based on industry demand. Manufacturer-led courses supported by FITA are just one of several main objectives for FITA and CFA in 2024. We have some more really exciting projects and developments that we will share with the sector very soon.

For more information on manufacturer-led courses visit our website or for more information on training opportunities as a whole including standard FITA courses, apprenticeships and much more contact me directly via email.
0115 9506836
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA and FITA training manager

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