ACO: how training has adapted over the past year

ACO: how training has adapted over the past year

Oliver Collins, Product Marketing Manager – Building + Landscape at ACO Water Management explores how training has adapted to the unique circumstances of the past 12 months, and why it is vital that professional builders continue to engage with upskilling opportunities.

The construction industry has been facing a skills shortage for a number of years, which is something that has been compounded by an aging workforce and the effects of Covid-19. It is an issue particularly relevant when it comes to water management, as unpredictable weather places more importance than ever on effective drainage. The skills shortage within the construction industry is widely acknowledged, and the challenges associated with providing Covid-secure training over the last year has further exacerbated the issue. Less well documented, however, has been the growing urgency of water management training – specifically ensuring that contractors are equipped with the skills and expertise to mitigate against climate change.

Getting to grips with drainage

Increasingly unpredictable weather in the UK has renewed focus on the critical role of effective water management. Previously 1 in 50-year storm-level events are occurring more frequently and mitigating the effects of flooding is becoming a core element of any project.

Consider, for example, the fact that one in ten of all new houses in England have been built on flood-prone land since 2013. The National Trust has also recently claimed that a fifth of its properties are at risk from coastal erosion, extreme heat, and flooding, which further highlights the extent of the problem.

Drainage solutions, therefore, are more important than ever, and those tasked with implementing them should get to grips with the optimum solutions. This includes an understanding of the products available, as well as an awareness of the varying factors that inform water attenuation across different projects.

A flood of opportunities

Previously, developing knowledge would have taken place face-to-face in facilities such as ACO Water Management’s training academy. This allowed for in-depth, hands-on learning across applications and products, but in light of ongoing social-distancing protocols, it has become less viable.

While there is scope to return to this form of training in the not-too-distant future, the move to more remote processes has highlighted a number of advantages. First and foremost, not having to physically travel to a centre ensures that more professional builders than ever can take advantage of upskilling opportunities.

Taking time to undertake in-person training means being away from site. This is a constant balancing act for builders and could often mean facing a difficult choice over whether learning and building on existing knowledge was possible within a busy work schedule. However, the ability to log on to webinars and other e-learning platforms from home or on-site, maybe even during a lunchbreak, has widely expanded the possibilities for upskilling.

Targeted learning

The other advantage of the enforced shift to remote training has been the ability to offer more targeted and bespoke sessions. ACO Water Management’s 2021 webinar series, for example, covers a variety of different topics – from highways and rail stations, through to key considerations when installing geocellular storage tanks.

Crucially, these CPD webinars are available on demand for anyone who can’t make the live session. For those that do attend, there is the option of asking questions to specialists in that particular field. More in-depth follow-up training is also available, and in terms of providing a general awareness of the wide range of water management issues, online webinars have proven invaluable.

By working in conjunction with manufacturers such as ACO Water Management, there is even the possibility to tailor CPDs to a particular audience and topic. This level of targeted learning is best highlighted by the product and training videos on ACO’s YouTube channel. These serve as a handy tool for quick reference and ad hog learning, and there is still the possibility to receive certification for completing this content.

Building skills

Whether it’s through online learning or in-person training, building professionals should continue to enhance their skillset wherever possible. Keeping up with emerging trends and new technology will help tradespeople to stay at the cutting edge of their trade, and as we’ve outlined throughout, this is especially important in water management.

Flooding events are likely to happen more frequently, and there are a number of sustainability focused initiatives and pieces of legislation that it is important to keep abreast of. For those tasked with delivering drainage, ongoing training and CPDs are vital in achieving effective water management solutions.

For more information and to view ACO Water Management’s range of CPDs visit

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