Renee Mascari, creative director of kitchen design studio Mascari, has been contributing to the development of training and education in the KBB industry since 2004 – here she explains why she believes CPD (Continuous Professional Development) learning is vital to every industry – especially ours.
"I have spent the past 20 years promoting training and education, one way or another, to the KBB industry. One of the best ways I have discovered to develop and maintain our skills is to engage in CPD learning.
"I started my design career a long, long time ago and the kitchens I was designing then bear no relation to those that I design today. Style, trends, technology, materials, and compliance were all completely different to what they are now! Most professions have a duty to complete a set amount of CPD learning each year to maintain their institute/association code of practice. Why should this be any different in our industry?
"Styles and trends change continually. Technology is moving at a very fast pace, and it is for us as industry professionals to make sure we keep up. Our customers and clients perceive that we are the experts, so we have a duty of care to make sure that we are current and on the ball.
"Equally, as individuals we owe it to ourselves to undertake regular CPD learning. It has many benefits, not least the confidence it gives us to present our design schemes in the knowledge that we are on top of what is new in terms of consumer aspirations namely, style, technology, materials and – of course – current building regulations and compliance.
"Running a retail business requires constant updating, whether it be marketing, accounting, taxation or understanding how to use social media. Making sure we have a completely up-to-date website – one that reflects the current market and consumer demands. As all formats of social media change, we have to learn how to change with it…
"A prime example in how kitchen design has changed over the past decade is the huge trend for open living spaces, which means we have had to change our mindsets. We are now morphing into the world of interior design because it is no longer just the kitchen we are designing, but the dining and living space as well. We are being asked about lighting, colours, textures, media centres, which bi-folds would suit the space, flooring and lanterns to let in more light.
"Our skill sets are being stretched daily, therefore keeping knowledge and skills up to date is important. Regular CPD learning is one way we can ensure this is being done, and provides a professional sense of direction.
"I have recently picked up my love of painting abstract art, and as such, recognise the value art brings to an open living space. Understanding how art, colour, lighting and textures affect our wellbeing – not least all our five senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste – is pivotal to good design.
"We need to set time aside to learn and understand how to add as much value as we can, to not only designs, but to our retail showrooms. We need to instil confidence in our clients that we are the professionals. This learning changes all the time, and we must change with it.
"To quote Albert Einstein 'Education is not the learning of facts, it's rather the training of the mind to think'.
The next dates for Renee Mascari's Principles of Kitchen Design courses are:
For 2021 – 12th - 13th October; 16th - 17th November; 7th - 8th December.
For 2022 – 18th - 19th January; 15th - 16th February.
For further details email: email@example.com.