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Seeing our plan in action

Floorlayer apprenticeship delivery is thriving in Scotland and northern England with CFA and member support, says Shaun Wadsworth.

ON a recent journey to Scotland to hold a CFA Scottish committee meeting, Richard Catt (CFA ceo) and I took the opportunity to first visit Derwentside College in Consett, County Durham. They’ve been delivering the floorlayer apprenticeship standard under the watchful eye of Flooring Tutor Michael Bell for the past three years.

Derwentside College joined the CFA as members last year and in that time, CFA have supported the college facilitating new links to industry, inviting representatives to be involved in a review of the apprenticeship standard, and promoting the college through the CFA’s annual training guide.

It was great to be able to visit the floorlaying department of the college and see their wonderful facilities. On our trip, we were delighted to see a full group of flooring apprentices all working hard on subfloor preparation skills and preparing training bays ready for sheet vinyl installation.

The floorlaying apprenticeship department is set within the wider construction section of the college, which also offers brickwork, plumbing, plastering and joinery.

This is the type of environment the CFA have been lobbying for in other areas of the UK to increase floorlaying delivery. It is very satisfying to see an example of this model in place, driven by opportunity through the college and appetite from local industry.

Speaking to the flooring tutor, Michael, it is clear he is enthusiastic about flooring and the next generation of floorlayer. Evident because not only does he tutor at the college, but he is also an End-Point Assessor for apprenticeships in England and supports quality assurance for Scottish apprenticeships too.

His critical support has included Derwentside College offering its training and assessment areas to Scottish apprentices when City of Glasgow College (CoGC) ceased delivery from their site, something I have written about before. Without this support there would have been many apprentices unable to continue their training while the transition from CoGC to CITB’s National Construction College (NCC) in Inchinnan was completed.

From Derwentside College, we continued our journey to CITB’s NCC in Inchinnan, to see the newly established Floorcovering Modern Apprenticeship department. I have written a few articles over the past year about the recent developments in Scotland; from the funding crisis to the floorcovering department closures at CoGC, and finally how CFA, its members and in particular its Scottish Committee lobbied and worked with CITB to save provision in Scotland.

I mentioned our journey was based around a Scottish committee meeting and it was really rewarding to be able to invite the CFA Scottish Committee to NCC in Inchinnan for their quarterly meeting. This included a tour of the new facilities and time with flooring tutor Mark Purdie and curriculum manager John Grubb discussing how CFA members and the wider industry can continue to support Floorlayer apprenticeship training in Scotland.

The training area is now fully operational, delivering to groups of apprentices from new starters to those nearing their skills test and overall completion. NCC have attracted experienced staff to help with delivery and addressed the waiting list of apprentices.

While the displacement and upheaval over the past 18 months has been difficult for apprentices and employers, it is fantastic to see that delivery has been saved and I am delighted with the support that the CFA and our members have facilitated and co-ordinated during this process.

As the trade association for the contract flooring sector, it’s imperative we continue to help drive new training opportunities for the sector, whether that be through our own training arm FITA, or with the wider flooring industry.

We continue to do this through various working groups and discussions with different industry stakeholders all with the target of ensuring no matter where you are based in the UK, there is easily accessible, quality driven and cost-effective training available.

For more information on all training opportunities in flooring, including apprenticeships and funding the Contract Flooring Training Guide 2024 is free to download from and for members the individual sections of the guide are available in the CFA members area of the website.
0115 9506836
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA and FITA
training manager

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