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Industry News

Published on September 9th, 2020 | by The GC Team


Skilled labour shortage risks “future catastrophe”, says BiKBBI

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) is calling on the industry to unite now or “risk future catastrophe” as part of plans released to tackle what it believes to be “one of the most significant challenges faced by the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom sector ever” – the national shortage of professional installers.

The organisation is appealing for action from suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers to actively support much-needed change by pledging intent at www.supportchange.org.uk. The plan is to approach the challenge in a “three-pronged attack” including apprenticeships, professional development and re-training.

BiKBBI cites a 2016 review (“Modernise or Die”), published by The Construction Leadership Council and written by Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy, which identified an impending crisis relating to a growing shortage of skilled labour. The report identified UK government ambitions to build national infrastructure but warned a lack of tradespeople in both construction and refurbishment would prevent these ambitions being realised.

Since the publication of this review in 2016, two major events have added to the crisis, which BiKBBI believes negatively change the landscape significantly. The events referred to are the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, which affects the free movement of EU labour, and the Coronavirus pandemic.

BiKBBI says both of these events would present real problems for the industry on their own, but CEO Damian Walters (pictured) said: “The skills gap was already a crisis before we faced these latest challenges.” He added: “This problem will not correct itself, nor is anyone else focused on fixing it. The challenge is ours and one we must all face if we want to avoid a disaster like none faced by our industry before.

“Without support there will be no solution. No one else is leading a robust and achievable plan focused on installation, but without support and funding, this will not happen.”


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