Simon Acres, MD at KBB, merchant and construction services provider, Simon Acres Group (SAGL), has revealed he came away from Kitchen & Bath Industry Show 2023 (KBIS) with a fresh insight into the UK's current workforce issues. Acres, who travelled to KBIS in Las Vegas with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Global Connect Programme, says he found the trip invaluable.
“Visiting KBIS 2023 provided an amazing opportunity to learn more about the North American market, and on this visit I was particularly interested in how our American partners attract and process apprenticeships," he said.
“It is clear that there are similar issues, but you have to take into account how the KBB market operates when assessing how they deal with recruitment and training. The relationship between designers and showrooms is different as the majority of independent showrooms sell to ‘certified’ Interior Designers outside the multiples, such as Home Depot, who sell directly to the consumer. Interior designers will typically charge a design fee and then purchase directly or indirectly through a showroom, although this varies by state."
He added: “If a student wants to be a kitchen or bathroom installer, they would need to typically choose and complete either a plumbing, electrical or carpentry standard, with no specific kitchen furniture or fitted bathroom installation standard currently available.
“Links with education prove to be successful on the construction side of industry with the HBI Home Builders Institute (HBI), a national not for profit organisation that provides training, curriculum development and job placement services for the building industry, reaching out to young people and providing information to 16-21 year old students."
Pictured: The team at Simon Acres Group talked to Bonnie Forest from the Home Builders Institute to share further ideas that the UK could possibly adopt, to help reduce the skills gap.
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