UPVC Installers Commence Strata-gy to Combat Skills Shortage
Established in 1986, Strata supplies and installs windows, doors, and conservatories made with UPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride, a material used as a substitute for painted wood). Based in Stoke-On-Trent’s Festival Park, they have both domestic and commercial clients throughout Staffordshire, Cheshire and the surrounding areas.
Sharon Parkes, CMIOSH Director of Health, Safety and Compliance at Strata, said: “You may or may not be aware that throughout the country there is a shortage of skilled, trained and qualified UPVC window and door installation teams who are able to install products to a good, certified standard. This is due to ageing skilled tradesmen leaving the industry due to retirement and fewer young people taking up UPVC installation roles.
Due to this lack of qualified installation teams, providers like us are struggling to meet demand for the installation of windows, doors etc, both for domestic clients amid a boom in home improvement, and also for commercial clients; this can have an impact on fulfilling contracts with local authorities and domestic customers, for example schools and public buildings.
Strata are passionate about investing in employees to secure their future, and the future of the business, but the lack of trained Installation Fitters is one of the biggest risks to both the company and the wider industry. To resolve this, we searched for a course that would allow us to upskill some of our employees into trained Installation Fitters. This would combat the skill shortage in our industry and support our aim to increase and maintain the number of skilled tradesmen within this field. If we could secure funding for a course, we could continue to invest in our employees, support social value and sustainability within the industry, and hopefully encourage others to come into the trade. Training providers in this industry are few and far between, but we found a UPVC installation course by Pro Fitter, who are highly recommended by GQA Qualifications, industry professionals and course candidates.
I learned about the Stoke and Staffordshire Skills Hub from the LinkedIn website. I then contacted the Skills Hub, who assisted me with all the necessary documentation to support our Training Grant application; the application was easy to complete, with the support throughout from the team at the Skills Hub. Strata was awarded a grant to enable us to send two of our employees – Lewis Atherton and Jordan Simpson-Dono – on a beginners’ installation course.
The course took place over five days and saw our two employees complete training on the removal and installation of UPVC Casement windows, UPVC doors and UPVC French doors. Having trained Installation Fitters enables us to produce qualifications to work on sites, which is a requirement in commercial settings – particularly within local authority buildings – thereby assisting in obtaining new business. By upskilling our employees we’ve enabled the business to fulfil current and future orders with clients, maintained the quality of our installation standards, and secured opportunities for future generations.
The Training Grant benefited Strata in a number of ways: financially enabling us to access training; giving an opportunity to two of our employed Installers; and improving our fitting team’s standards with recognised qualifications. I would definitely recommend that businesses and individuals consider any opportunity to develop employees’ skills and apply for grants available from the Skills Hub.”
You can find out more about Strata on their website: Strata Windows | Strata Group, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire