Architectural ironmongery has a responsibility to attract, train and retain the next generation

Simon Forrester, GAI chief executive, on the skills challenges

Simon Forrester
Simon Forrester

These are undoubtedly turbulent times. A challenging global environment, both politically and economically, is translating into uncertain domestic and international markets for many in the architectural ironmongery and wider construction sectors. For a lot of companies, these challenges are compounded by a growing concern about a shortage of the skills and staff they need to capitalise on those opportunities which remain. 

Our survey for this month’s cover story on architectural ironmongery skills and recruitment found that more than 70% of respondents had experienced a shortage of suitable candidates to fill roles over the past 12 months; a similar number say that, as a result, it is taking longer than usual to fill vacancies.

Encouragingly, respondents recognised that a significant part of the answer lies in our own hands. More than 60% report changing their criteria to ‘recruit for potential’ and then ‘train for skills’ and more still are looking to increase expenditure on training and education. 

As a sector, architectural ironmongery has a responsibility – as well as an economic imperative – to attract, train and retain the next generation. Guild members have long been in the vanguard of this effort, putting their employees through a GAI education programme. 

This year’s expanded education programme is our broadest ever. Alongside the familiar Foundation, Certificate and DipGAI courses we now offer specialist Stage 3 qualifications in door systems, electric hardware & access control, and standards and regulations. Enrolment is still open for the current education year, so there has never been a better time to tackle our growing skills shortage head on! 

Visit www.gai.org.uk/learning, or email [email protected] for more information.

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