Vickie Mather, Dulux Academy and Dulux Select Decorators Lead explains how the most iconic name in decorating is supporting the trades during these difficult times
This has been a challenging year for those who work in the decorating industry, and at Dulux Academy and through our Dulux Select Decorators scheme we’ve devoted a lot of energy to supporting the industry through these obstacles in order to help them build back better.
We were quick to recognise the help we could provide in offering training to decorators in new ways while they were forced to down tools. That saw us launch a series of free online training workshops. Dulux Academy Live features our expert trainers sharing their knowledge in interactive, engaging sessions delivered via video conference – offering an invaluable opportunity for professionals to learn from home.
Sessions cover a full range of subjects from the use of waterborne paints and tips for wallpapering, to spray advice, business skills and colour confidence. Delivered by the same experienced trainers who run our face-to-face courses, they offer a combination of practical advice and general discussions.
The popularity of these sessions has shown us that there’s a real appetite for this blended learning where some is done virtually and other elements are done in our state-of-the-art facility in Slough. We’ve recently introduced more 6pm sessions to cater for professionals who are back at work but still want to take advantage of the workshops and we’ll be adapting our training further in 2021 to cater to these new ways of working.
The Dulux Academy Podcast: Life as a decorator
As well as going virtual, we’ve also recently launched a podcast – The Dulux Academy Podcast: Life as a decorator. It provides a voice for the nation’s professional painters and decorators.
Each half-hour episode, presented by Tony Pearson-Young from Dulux Academy, allows pros to share best practice, business tips and personal stories on subjects as diverse as mental health, the tools of the trade and how they are building their businesses up again.
Supporting Dulux Select members
Our Dulux Select scheme is a community of experienced decorators who have passed a comprehensive workmanship assessment, with Dulux guaranteeing their work for two years after completion and delivering a host of personal and business benefits.
The Dulux Select Decorators Facebook group has grown into a forum where scheme members can share their concerns and worries with other like-minded decorators. Many told how they struggled during lockdown with feeling isolated. With no work on and no social interaction with clients the group provided a lifeline.
As a result, we were quick to identify the increasing mental health challenges facing the industry. It prompted us to partner with The Rainy Day Trust to provide confidential professional support and services for our members.
It is the only charity which exists solely to help people who have worked in the UK’s home improvement and enhancement industry, offering grants and financial support alongside training, counselling and legal services.
We were also fortunate that early in 2020, we launched a Mental Health First Aid Course for members. Before lockdown,16 volunteers had taken up the call and completed the course – and they have been a vital support in the last six months by lending an ear to provide confidential help and advice to others.
The Facebook group is also a space where decorators can discuss the impact of changing restrictions and regulations on ways of working – and share practical advice and on-the-job experience.
It allowed us to quickly identify that we could support scheme members by providing them with practical guidance on how they could return to work safety, including risk assessment templates and physical workplace safety signage that prepared them to talk to customers and quickly answer queries decorators across the industry were facing.
We have also worked hard in the last two years to build the social element of the scheme, with new awards and family events. We’ve tried to ensure that having to go virtual this year didn’t stop this, with the Facebook group continuing to be a place of fun, light relief and banter, and the addition of online quizzes and virtual events.
And as lockdown began to ease in August, we supported members with an extensive homeowner advertising campaign, to encourage people to book in a Dulux Select decorator to complete their project.
Since March, the way we work has been transformed. We’re committed to continuing to support the industry by allowing decorators to improve their skills in new ways through the Dulux Academy and helping Select members adapt and be on the front foot to face any challenges that come their way. Together, we’ll emerge in better shape whatever the future may hold.
For more information and to book a Dulux Academy course visit duluxacademy.co.uk
For more information on the Dulux Select Decorators scheme, please visit duluxselectdecorators.co.uk
25 cans of Armstead Durable Matt to win!
Armstead is helping decorators bring their A-Game this year by giving away 25 cans of Armstead Durable Matt. Armstead Durable Matt is a professional quality matt emulsion that is scrubbable and offers good stain resistance. This tough matt finish will hide surface imperfections and the stain resistance will help your walls look great for longer. It’s the ideal product to deal with life as it happens in living rooms, hallways and even school corridors, perfect for a wide range of jobs.
For your chance to win, fill in the form below: