Learning On The Job

Prior to joining CIB I had very little experience within the world of construction, I’d never fixed a shelf, I’d barely changed a lightbulb and seldom picked up a hammer. It seems I’m not the only one, a recent survey revealed that millennials are for the most part averse to a spot of DIY. In many ways, I am the personification of that trend, a clueless builder in desperate need of some tutelage.

Fortunately, I now work for the UK’s longest serving integrated construction marketing agency and have the opportunity to get hands-on training as part of my role. Given the severity of my building ignorance, it was important that I got guidance from the best in the business. That’s why I booked on to attend some of British Gypsum’s short-duration training courses at both its East Leake and Penrith Technical Academies.

The company has been providing industry-leading training for over 50 years through a network of national training academies. Since opening its first training academy in 1966 at Erith in Kent, over 500,000 days of training have been delivered through the network of Academies for Installers, Suppliers, Clients, Architects and Main Contractors. Now, it was my turn to discover more about the company’s range of products and systems.

Before attending one of British Gypsum’s training courses I didn’t really know what to expect. In my mind training normally has negative connotations, consisting of bland PowerPoints being presented in stuffy classrooms. This was far from my experience at the company’s Technical Academy. What I experienced were training courses that were both engaging and informative, whilst still being fun at their core.

One of the most impressive aspects of British Gypsum’s training offering is the large practical areas that are available to let attendees get hands-on with the company’s products and services. What’s so amazing about these areas is that they allow attendees to try things out without concern of making a mess. During my time on one of the courses, I was shown how to skim a wall, fix a drylining system and construct a ceiling system.

When we did go back to the classroom, it was centered around what we had just learnt. This helped keep things fresh and gave the day a real feeling of structure. When it comes to learning in the classrooms it’s obvious how hard the staff have worked to create a relaxed environment. The knowledgeable trainers presented the information in a clear and friendly manner, with a short test at the end of the day to recap what we had learnt.

It’s testament to the guys at the Technical Academy that I have been able to take the knowledge accrued over the few days and apply it to my role at CIB. Getting hands-on training has allowed me to write with more confidence about British Gypsum’s training offering. Since returning, I have drafted a number of training related blogs for the company, which move past simply reciting literature from a course handbook and provide a more vivid picture of what an installer can expect from the experience.
Before attending the Technical Academy, it had never occurred to me how fundamental training was to British Gypsum achieving its goal of raising standards across the construction industry. It’s one thing to manufacture high-quality products and services, but by giving tradespeople the knowledge to get the most from these goods British Gypsum also helps to guarantee results that go above and beyond normal expectations. Even for someone like me, it was really interesting. I’m not quite site-ready yet, but with a few more sessions who knows what the future might hold!

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