Dale Telling, commercial manager at Fassa Bortolo UK outlines Fassa’s aim to inspire the next generation of tradespeople, and how they are helping the experts diversify their skillsets in an ever-changing industry.
The skills shortage applies to all areas of the construction trade, with rendering no different. While many applicators are more than confident when it comes to applying a simple scratch render, there is uncertainty when it comes to the more advanced cycles, which include render only systems and external insulation solutions.
There has been a number of changes in building standards over the years, which have influenced how we build today. This is the key information we aim to communicate to customers, as well as how to apply the systems. Although there are a number of experienced, highly qualified applicators, many still require ongoing learning and information on new systems. It is important for applicators and contractors to be aware of the changes that are happening in construction to make sure they are upskilled and aware of anything which may affect them as the industry evolves.
We encourage as many people as possible to come along to our training days, predominantly attended by applicators, construction specialists, architects, suppliers and machine manufacturers. The age group is varied, which ensures a great exchange of information at the sessions, with all attendees sharing experience, techniques and learnings. Some of our delegates are advanced and have been working in the industry for years with the same products, but they each take away something valuable from these sessions, alongside learning the key skills required to use Fassa products to their full potential.
We’re still trying to encourage more women to get involved. We’re fully aware that more women are stepping into the trade, but the training days continue to be male dominated. We do have female attendees but they’re often from suppliers or interior designers, so we need to explore avenues to get more tradeswomen into the training centre.
We understand applicators have a hectic schedule. Unlike an intensive course, which many applicators just don’t have the time for, we promote our training days as a quick and effective way to help extend their skill set. There will always be something to learn about our existing systems, but we also have new systems which are open to explore, so it is valuable for those looking to expand their product knowledge with new and emerging systems. Attending a training day is one route to become Fassa approved, which helps you become vetted by the company with a certification of approved application.
Training has always been a part of the Fassa Bortolo service, starting in Italy and now spanning Europe. We built the Training School at our UK Head Office in 2017 as a means to offer a more comprehensive training package. Delegates can now trial the systems, learn about our products and their characteristics in greater detail.
The focus of each training day is decided by those who are attending. Some companies choose to work with us exclusively for the day, and other sessions host a mix of specialists. We are also able to customise a course if there is a particular project that requires a certain bespoke render system.
As an example, one of our most popular training days is held on Fassarend. The day starts with a theory overview of the system, followed by the practical focusing on base coats and substrates in the morning and top coats and finishes in the afternoon. The courses are generally based around system families, such as lime, thin coat render, and insulated systems.
As we’re based in Gloucestershire, we appreciate it’s not always easy to get to us, so we have set up a satellite training centre with JP Atkinson at its Hartlepool centre. We’re also in discussion with a southern location about opening a third training facility to make sure we’re available to renders and partners up and down the country.
The training days are in high demand, and last year we had over 140 people attend on various dates, not including those who come to understand the systems, rather than learn how to apply them. This year we’re working hard to push these numbers further, and bookings have already started to roll in for the first half of the year. We want to offer our customers something more than a superior product, as even the best product won’t achieve the ideal finished effect if it’s not properly applied. As Italian leaders, it’s essential we pass our knowledge onto our customers so they can get the most from our products and trust their performance for each project.
Hosted at the UK headquarters in Tewkesbury, all account holders are invited to book a space to extend their knowledge and get hands on with some of Fassa’s best selling products. An opportunity to learn more about various application processes, these informative training days are well attended by the trade and have become a highlight in the training calendar.
For information on Fassa Bartolo Training Courses visit fassabortolo.co.uk/en/training