Sime’s National Sales Manager, John Moran, comments on how the heating industry could help to address the much-debated skills shortage.

The current skills shortage has caused huge concerns throughout the heating industry about how manufacturers, professional bodies, and installers can plan for the future.  We need school leavers to come into the industry and we need newly qualified installers to continue to invest in their training.  Manufacturers have a role to play and here at Sime, we are keen to contribute to that debate and suggest some of our own solutions too.

Skills shortages among industry professionals is also an issue that needs addressing.  While many of us can install a boiler to a satisfactory and Gas Safe standard, how many of us are competent in maintaining that boiler?  When it comes to repairs, replacing parts or even servicing a boiler properly, there is a noticeable drop in the number of installers available that can deliver these services.

How can we improve things for installers and our customers?

The industry as a whole has a responsibility to address the skills shortages we are facing, I’d like to see the following changes take place:

  1. Increased availability of easy-access mobile training for installers. Mobile training units are already a popular option for many manufacturers including Sime, we’ve invested in our demo vans and are touring merchants with them throughout the year.  Taking the training to the installer works, if we want to further enhance the skillsets of our industry professionals we need to continue to invest in making training convenient and appealing.
  2. Small business becoming more willing to take on school leavers as apprentices – there are great schemes available, attractive to employers and apprentices alike. Invest the time to train and help apprentices achieve your high levels of customer service and quality of work and your business as well as the industry as a whole will reap the rewards in the future.
  3. My big picture idea is to see industry-wide on-demand, online training that uses virtual reality technology whenever it’s needed; our industry thrives on technological developments and this would combine a flexible, exciting and practical solution in the years to come (and it’s not that far off!)