POLYFLOR has partnered with F Ball and Co to provide free training courses for flooring installation apprentices.
This series of four standalone training courses focuses on floor installation. Each four-day course is aimed primarily at first-year apprentices hired by Polyflor’s numerous flooring contractor customers, with numbers limited to 12 attendees per course.
All four apprentice courses are free-of-charge and run in partnership with F Ball and Co, known for its flooring adhesives and subfloor preparation products.
The skills-focused initiative was successfully launched this spring at the Centre of Excellence for F Ball and Co in Cheddleton, Staffordshire.
In June 2023, the second course ran at the Polyflor training academy, Whitefield, Greater Manchester. The third course returned to Whitefield in September 2023. The final course will return to Staffordshire in early 2024, with exact dates to be confirmed imminently.
Chris Landon, head of customer training and installations, Polyflor, leads the courses alongside Tim Green, head of training, F Ball and Co. The initiative seeks to help flooring contractors engage with additional construction sector apprentices.
Furthermore, attendees receive an early introduction to products from Polyflor and F Ball and Co, renowned as established market leaders in the UK. The training courses aim to address growing labour shortage concerns in the UK construction industry by engaging with future flooring installation professionals from a young age.
They also seek to replenish the post-Brexit deficit of contract flooring workers reported by the Contract Flooring Association (CFA).
According to recent data from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the current skills shortage across the UK construction sector suggests an extra 217,000 construction workers will be required by 2027.
To further problems, as the CITB classifies flooring as a furnishing trade rather than a construction trade, employers cannot receive funding from them. Consequentially, few technical colleges in the UK operate floorlaying courses as part of their standard curriculum.
Although prospective UK employers can take advantage of government’s apprenticeship levy, hiring apprentices remains a high cost and significant responsibility for flooring contractors.
Despite such difficulties, there remains a wealth of opportunities for industry-leading companies such as Polyflor to offer internal support, training, and investment, thus ensuring a bright future for all concerned.
‘Apprentices will become the lifeblood of our UK contract flooring industry,’ says John Buchanan, international technical manager, Polyflor.
‘The apprentices spend two days honing their subfloor preparation skills, followed by two days learning the correct methods of resilient sheet installation.
‘As market leaders in the UK flooring industry, Polyflor and F Ball and Co wanted to do something positive to help ease the current crisis by supporting those contract flooring customers willing to hire apprentices.’
At the most recent training course, feedback from the apprentices in attendance was positive.
‘I found the whole course amazing,’ said Luke Gillon, The Commercial Flooring Company. ‘(The) techniques used by Tim and Chris are definitely (ones that) I’ll use in the workplace. Thank you very much to Tim and Chris. I will take on board all (of the) techniques and product knowledge I have (gained).’
Kyle Elmer from Hicks Carpets added: ‘(The course) flowed through to each subject very well and showed every process (involved) on a real-life job.’
Below are the key facts:
- Polyflor has partnered with F Ball and Co to provide four free training courses for flooring installation apprentices.
- The training focuses on floor installation for first-year apprentices employed by Polyflor’s flooring contract customers.
- The third training course ran at Polyflor’s training academy in September 2023.
- Chris Landon, head of customer training and installations, Polyflor, leads the courses alongside Tim Green, head of training, F Ball and Co.
- The initiative strives to address growing concerns about labour shortages within the UK construction industry.
- Feedback from apprentices at the recent course in June 2023 has been positive.