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The virtues of virtual training

WITH Covid-19 causing companies to rethink product training and professional development, the Academy for Excellence in Flooring says it’s turned its classroom-based sessions into virtual events for one of the UK’s biggest kitchen suppliers.

More than 190 employees of Howdens Joinery from right across the UK joined in the Academy for Excellence in Flooring’s virtual product and technical training sessions, demonstrating the reach and worth of online training.

Says the academy: ‘Through its Manchester-based facility as well as on-site programmes, the Academy for Excellence in Flooring has been providing highly successful training sessions that have helped service and sales teams to gain knowledge, build confidence and improve customer experience.

‘With the business impacts of Covid-19, the academy has moved its on-site learning activity to digital platforms, delivering the same high-level of content within the confines of current working practices and accelerating its digital innovation.’

Lee Thompson, technical and procurement manager, the Academy for Excellence in Flooring, explains more: ‘The pandemic has forced everyone to adopt new working practices and discover ways of collaborating and it’s been no different here at the Academy. We’ve worked to translate our teams-based training programmes, which traditionally took place at our training facility or head offices, into effective digital sessions that can be rolled out nationwide to remote teams.’

The programme for Howdens involved a series of sessions across LVT and water-resistant laminate floors, delivering a mix of product and technical knowledge. Taking place in group sessions over two days, it allowed depots to involve different employees in-line with availability, reportedly boosting the effectiveness of centralised training.

Amy Major, Howdens, comments: ‘We had nearly 200 people attend which is amazing. I think the training is really going to help our teams Howdens depots with their product knowledge and in turn, increase sales. The confidence this extra product knowledge gives them really is valuable.’

Alongside its Foundation and Master Installer programmes for professional installers, the Academy for Excellence in Flooring develops flooring-related training for distributors, retailers, and merchants. Courses are built around key objectives, providing what’s described as an effective training solution that can be delivered nationwide, cost-effectively and within the constraints of business operation or restrictions.’

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