Exciting opportunities are in the works
My last column discussed the industry shortage of experienced and skilled flooring installers. It also discussed how the young people are not flocking to the industry. The reaction from the Coverings readers was both supportive and encouraging. The number of people who reached out to me from all over the country surprised me. I answered all the emails and had several conversations and found a qualified industry instructor who wanted to volunteer his time at the same time.
We reached out to The Carpenter’s Union and met up with their resilient-floor rep Dean Marsh. Dean gave us a tour of the facility they use to train flooring installers under the INSTALL program and gave us the lowdown. They have both beginner and expert flooring-installation educational tracks. They are both 300 hours long. This is a union so there is an emphasis on being union and joining the union, but you do not have to be a union member to take the classes.
After consulting with our industry partners, everybody agreed that a huge portion of the industry would not be able to let their staff attend class for 300 hours at a time. So we have decided to use our member instructors and industry partners to provide classes based on industry standards, manufacturers’ guidelines and hands-on instruction.
The classes we are preparing will be on substrate preparation, adhesives, wood and laminate, vinyl products and carpet installation. The classes will be structured so that the syllabus for each type of floorcovering will start with the basics for beginners and have subsequent days for intermediate and advanced training. We do not want to force students to study things they already know. At the same time we want to ensure that all students have the opportunity to know the basics and review the applicable industry standards.
The plan is to have Drew Kern and his associates teach the wood and laminate installation classes. We plan on having P.J. Arthur, Jack Pilcher and Mark Aydin teach the carpet installation classes. We plan on having having Tarkett’s technical services and Clayton Leckie of Ardex teach the substrate and vinyl installation classes. Truly this is an all-star line up.
Now for the good news. The CFCRA has applied to be a consortium with the Ontario government to provide training to the trades. Employers in Ontario will be eligible to obtain a grant to cover not only the costs of the class, but they will also cover the wages and expenses to send the employees to class.
We will be announcing dates for our install classes by the end of October. The classes will be held in February 2018 at the Ardex facility. We will also hold another IICRC Introductory to Substrate and Subfloor Inspection (ISSI) class at the same time.
Looking back over the last couple of months we want to thank Drew Kern for holding his measuring and estimating class. We also want to thank Beaulieu Canada and Len and Annette Hume of PCS Niagara for the tours of their facilities. To say that both of these organizations surpassed expectations would be an understatement. We want to also thank the 13th Street Winery for the wine tastings after the PCS tour.
I also want to thank the readers of this column for reaching out and offering feedback and encouragement. We are here to serve you after all. We hope that if you have ideas or comments that you will reach out to us with them so we can truly offer you what you want and need from a trade association.