A ground-breaking new apprenticeship standard in the woodworking industry has been pioneered by Stairways Midlands.
The company was a “trailblazer” organisation which played a lead role in establishing Wood Products Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeship (WPMO) aimed at modernising training in the sector and properly equipping those coming into it with the skills they need to thrive and push the sector on. It is designed to cater for modern operating practices, with volume automated joinery manufacture at its core, as opposed to older standards focused on on-site carpentry and joinery standards.
The standard is a Level 2 NVQ, takes 24 months to complete and is predominantly workplace-based.
The innovation comes as Stairways Midlands implements a new programme of installation training for both fire doors and staircases. It is part of the company’s ongoing investment in developing staff, adding value for customers and further raising industry standards.
Director Karen Wood said: “Presently, we offer what we call toolbox talks. These can be booked and arranged for delivery on-site, or at our premises. The series discusses how to store, handle and install our products, as well as detailing key knowledge surrounding building regulations and British standards. This helps ensure a compliant install, giving both the customer and end-user peace of mind.
“Manufacturers like us have a duty of care under Section 38 of the Building Regulations, which we take very seriously. It is not acceptable to take an order, manufacture the product, deliver it and just walk away. We must demonstrate that we are responsible and are actively seeking to upskill knowledge, both on-site and within our own business.
“We also offer advice and guidance around achieving design and compliance at the same time. We actively work with the architect and client to achieve the desired look while adhering to building regulations.”
Stairways Midlands is also a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy payer, which helps develop skills and training in the industry.
British Woodworking Federation – BWF has recently updated its website to provide an education section which features many courses for industry. Stairways Midlands is actively engaged with the Employee Training Hub and will be enrolling several employees to help further develop their careers.