The definitive resource for the latest information about training opportunities in the UK including apprenticeships, qualifications, training courses, funding, and recruitment signposting, is once again upon us. Shaun Wadsworth reviews the Training Guide…

AS we enter 2022 and my fourth year as training manager, I’m delighted to announce that the latest version of the CFA’s Contract Flooring Industry Training Guide is included in this month’s copy of the Contract Flooring Journal.

The guide aims to be the definitive resource for the latest information about training opportunities in the UK including apprenticeships, qualifications, training courses, funding, and recruitment signposting.

While the effects of the pandemic have changed all parameters of normal life as we know it, the contract flooring sector very quickly adapted, ensuring large proportions of flooring work continue to be delivered, even with all the additional headaches and challenges.

This is obviously reflected in the skills and labour market, which has direct correlation with training for the industry. The CFA estimates through information provided by its members that the gap in skills and labour for floorlayers has increased to 16% over the past 12 months. There’s also been an increase in the demand for training throughout the industry including from FITA – one of the most recognised training bodies in the industry and the training arm of the CFA.

FITA has measured record numbers of attendees at its Loughborough training centre over the past 12 months, as well as the addition of apprenticeship delivery at the training centre that started at the beginning of 2021.

It’s clear that as an industry we need to do more collectively to increase skills and labour as there is clearly the demand for more floorlayers. There have been some great initiatives developed over the past 12 months alongside more established activity that we should be capitalising on.

This year’s guide reflects on this and attempts to make careers and recruitment just as big a part of the guide as other areas. It’s clear the whole industry will have to work together if it’s to make a considerable change to the skills and labour shortage. But rest assured the CFA is committed to help drive that change through conversations with (and commitment from) contractors, manufacturers, and training providers to identify the best routes.

As in previous years this Training Guide includes various training opportunities ranging from short training course, qualifications, recruitment tools and funding to help pay for business training needs. It’s important employers have access to this kind of information to make calculated and informed decisions on a wide range of topics – training being one of them.

The CFA provides advice on training as one of the many membership benefits available and is fairly unique in co-founding its own training organisation, FITA, to deliver formal training to the industry.

Highlights and notable events from the training year for me (many referenced in this guide) include the addition of FITA as a provider offering the Apprenticeship Standard.

The CFA has long wanted to be able to support members by offering apprenticeships through its training arm and with the help of Webs Training, an external training provider, this has now become a reality.

The CFA has also achieved a notable success in lobbying CITB to reinstate funding for apprenticeships in our sector, after this funding had been under threat following an earlier review. We’re very pleased we’ve secured this for the 30% of CFA members who pay the CITB levy and of course the wider industry.

The CFA actively supports our members in Scotland and the rest of the UK with training needs and apprenticeships. This guide delves deeper into opportunities for training in the rest of the UK and in Scotland in particular, where we’ve seen a rise in guidance being needed for employers on training opportunities.

The CFA continues to proactively represent members’ views on training and related funding to regulatory bodies and CITB, while at the same time investing in its own training organisation, FITA, which was specifically set up to deliver some of the training required by the flooring sector.

This type of venture is relatively unusual for a trade association to undertake and demonstrates the level of our commitment.

Finally, the combination of short duration courses, qualification support (including NVQ assessment and on-site assessment), industry specific accreditations and clear focus on apprenticeships, means that through both FITA and other supported activities, the CFA is extremely active in delivering much of the training the industry needs.
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