At a special online event held yesterday, The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) announced Quooker as the latest industry brand to support the organisation, with a specific focus on accelerating plans for work on the kitchen, bedroom & bathroom installation Apprenticeship initiative.
The six-figure investment from Quooker, the first instalment of a three-year package of support for BiKBBI, will drive the institute towards delivering the first phase of what it calls ‘Operation Next-Gen’ – the promotion of kbb Apprenticeship opportunities to the next generation – predominantly secondary school students in years 9-11.
Quooker (UK) Managing Director Stephen Johnson (pictured) spoke at today’s event and said, “We’ve undergone some of the toughest trading conditions our industry has ever faced. At Quooker we too have felt the strain of this crisis. We’ve seen first-hand how its affected smaller independent retailers and how changing consumer habits have dramatically impacted sales. However, during these difficult times, brands are faced with two choices – to shrivel up and remain inward focused, or to work together, sharing expertise, resources and help the industry rebuild, recover and thrive”.
In an emotional event that reviewed challenges faced by the industry and organisation over the last year, BiKBBI discussed its plans to open ten new Centres of Excellence regionally across England, ready for the delivery of KBB Fitted Interior Apprenticeships from September. The Institute will use the learnings and blueprint from their successful pilot of the scheme in the South East to roll the scheme out nationally.
CEO Damian Walters gave a heartfelt thanks to his team, members, retail partners and Corporate Sponsors, stating that “without them, we would not be in a position to support the industry as we are”. Walters went on to say: “No one else will fix the issue of building a future workforce on this scale and I call upon other brands to follow Quooker’s lead on this topic – We need more brands to get behind our efforts”.
The institute remains optimistic about the future of the industry, sharing news that membership increased overall in 2020, continuing an upward trend as the organisation enters its 15th year of incorporation.
Director of Operations at Protected, Chris Parry, provided an update that confirmed “impressive and diverse retailer uptake” and the scheme’s protection of “tens of thousands of pounds of consumer and installer money during BETA testing”. Parry confirmed that it would “welcome conversation from any retailer who wanted another installation option for their customers”.
BiKBBI confirmed that it would keep the industry updated over the next few weeks, to include new retail relationships and a Director of Education that will lead the organisations L&D strategy moving forward.
Exciting times at BiKBBI and much needed change now in full swing! For more details visit the BiKBBI website here.