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The Big Learning Lunch

29 May 2019

Our Managing Director Russell Yates was one of the panellists invited to speak at the FIT Show’s popular Big Learning Lunch held on the final day of the show at the NEC.

In an industry which has acknowledged that it needs to attract a new generation of talent, the lunch aimed to illustrate the varied routes into fenestration and showcase the vast range of opportunities on offer.

Compared with Central RPL’s Amy Jansen who sang under the departure board at New Street Station handing out copies of her CV and Craig Bryant who joined Maco more than 30 years ago as one of the original YTS trainees, Russell’s route into the industry seemed fairly conventional. With a degree in computer aided product design, he joined his father in the business short term to earn some money to go travelling and enjoyed it so much that he simply never left.

Chaired by FIT for Trade’s Joanne Taylor, the lunch demonstrated perfectly then that there’s no such thing as a typical fenestration industry success story, but it did try to identify what it is about the industry which makes people join and then stay.

Russell used the phrase from the FIT Show Gala dinner the night before that this is a ‘village of an industry’ where individuals and businesses are friendly and supportive. Debbie Willets from Howells Patent Glazing remarked on the unusual level of collaboration, while Joshua Thompson from Endeavour Windows & Home Improvements made the ears of the business studies students in the audience prick up when he said that it is an industry which will pay you will if you are good at what you do.

All of the panellists agreed though that there has been a mind shift over recent years in terms of investing in skills and training and backed the industry’s #BuildingyourSkills campaign which aims to formalise training routes at all levels.

The lunch was the ideal platform for Russell to confirm that AluK will be launching its very own apprenticeship scheme later this year, aimed at school leavers who want an alternative to university. More details on the scheme and how to apply will be available on the website soon.

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