The British Institute of KBB Installation – BiKBBI – has announced that the latest manufacturer to come on board as a corporate member, Quooker, has made a six-figure investment in the institute, as the first instalment of a three-year package of support, which the BiKBBI says it intends to use as a 'springboard' towards the next phase of its development. BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters added that 100% of the boiling water tap producer's investment will be spent on the apprenticeship programme, and the launch of Operation Next-Gen – its latest campaign to address the skills shortage and lack of diversity currently being faced by the industry, by promoting KBB apprenticeship opportunities.
Walters explained that its priorities were to appoint a director of education, as well as open 10 regional 'centres of excellence' in England, which will deliver the Level 2 Apprenticeship opportunity to hundreds of students. It also intends engage all secondary schools within a 50-mile catchment area of the centres of excellence, and deliver a programme of digital engagement. He added that by June 2021 the BiKBBI aims to engage over 500,000 students, and that work will continue through 2022 to develop the model in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Overall he envisaged the programme would take 10 years.
"It is in everybody's interests that the next generation is encouraged into our industry," said Walters, calling on other brands to follow's Quooker's lead. "Growing our own workforce is the only sustainable model available."
Quooker UK MD Stephen Johnson said: "We've undergone some of the toughest trading conditions our industry has ever faced. During these difficult times, brands are faced with two choices – to shrivel up and remain inward focussed, or to work together, sharing expertise, resources and help the industry rebuild, recover and thrive."