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Back to basics as entry level training increases at FITA

If you have labour that you want to turn into skilled labour or are looking to add a new flooring type to your skill set then FITA is the perfect place to go, says Shaun Wadsworth.

In the flooring industry, FITA is among a wealth of private training providers and manufacturers offering high quality training courses that sit outside the traditional government funding qualifications like apprenticeships and NVQ’s. Simply put, there have never been more options to engage with training than there are currently in the sector.

Looking inwards at our own training centres in Loughborough and Kirkcaldy, FITA has seen a huge increase in training across the board, including in areas such as natural floorcoverings and wood fitting courses. But the biggest increase by far, has been specifically in our entry level courses covering carpet fitting, LVT installation, subfloor preparation and commercial vinyl and laminate installation.

These flooring courses have progression routes to more advanced courses, but it’s the basics that the administration team and I are continually being contacted about, whether it be from employers or new fitters themselves. This has to be seen as a positive sign, and I would be interested to know if other private training providers are seeing the same engagement with new fitters, who may not take the more formal route into the industry such as an apprenticeship.

The sheer increase in additional entry level courses being delivered at FITA, in comparison to previous years, has to be encouraging for the industry. Most of the fitters that walk through the door are so engaged and eager to soak up all the skills and knowledge available, it makes the teaching process easy, that in turn improves the delivery and the cycle continues.

The feedback from the FITA instructors reflect this, with tales of earlier starts to courses and late finishes due to delegates being so engrossed in the subjects being covered. And why wouldn’t they be so invested? It’s a big step to engage with private training; financing the training isn’t just the cost of the course, there is the surrounding costs and the loss of earnings to consider too. What delegates take away from courses has to provide an instant impact to their working life and begin to not only repay the costs but provide the confidence to put all that was taught into practice.

Regardless of how that changes the working day of the fitter going forward, it’s all about trusting the process.

The FITA courses are meticulously designed based on constant feedback from delegates and instructors. An example of this is that entry level courses are set up to allow plenty of time to learn and not to rush the delegates. In some cases, this could be the first time a delegate has tried particular skills and the time within a controlled environment where mistakes can be made and learnt from is key.

The FITA carpet basic course is four days of best practice installation techniques. It covers a range of different tools and equipment so a delegate can really settle into the fitting techniques and try a range of methods. It ends in a recap on the last day where all the skills learnt are put into a final task.

The LVT Installation basic course is three days of hands-on activity, starting with subfloor preparation including fabricated underlayments and smoothing compounds. Then the delegates cover the ins-and-outs of straight lay fitting in a range of LVT types and most importantly, fitting confidently based on skill alone and essential tools only as that will always be the best point to build from.

The FITA commercial sheet vinyl four-day course is a great introduction into commercial fitting, teaching key methods in back marking, scribing, coving and joining that can be transferred from the small training bays to large commercial areas with ease, allowing fitters to be of even greater value to contractors following the course.

FITA truly is for industry by industry, developed and co-founded by both trade associations CFA and NICF covering all textile, resilient and wood flooring. As a not-for-profit organisation, the key driver is industry skills primarily and has been for over 20 years.

So, if you have labour that you want to turn into skilled labour or are looking to add a new flooring type to your skill set then FITA is the perfect place to go. For our full course list visit www.fita.co.uk to find out more or call 0115 9506836.
0115 9506836
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA and FITA training manager

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