Saint-Gobain unveiled its sixth Technical Academy at its facilities in Flitwick, Bedfordshire. The move is part of its commitment to train installers and ensure that customers are kept up to date about innovative building solutions.
Helping to address the current skills shortage in the construction industry, as well as aiding the understanding of how poorly installed products can impact on the overall performance of a building, the Saint-Gobain Technical Academy will run a comprehensive range of training and specialist up-skilling courses from across the Saint-Gobain brands.
With a successful network already operating in Ireland and throughout England, the multi-purpose centre within Saint-Gobain Weber has been developed to feature innovation and product demonstration areas, practical workshops, lecture rooms and meeting facilities, catering for up to 1,000 trainees per year.
The courses from Saint-Gobain companies, including Weber, British Gypsum, Isover, PAM and Pasquill, are designed for 10 to 15 candidates and cover a range of topics from drylining, External Wall Insulation (EWI), Internal Wall Insulation (IWI), renders and tiling to concrete repair, construction mortars, roofing, pipework and flooring.
Pádraig Barry, managing director for Weber, said: “The facility is aligned to the Saint-Gobain Technical Academy network and offers training on a wide range of products and systems from a number of Saint-Gobain brands. The decision to invest in the Flitwick site creates a more accessible location for installers and trade professionals operating in central and southern regions.
“The construction market is believed to need approximately 180,000 more workers to deliver the planned housing and infrastructure projects by 2018, part of the Saint-Gobain Technical Academy’s role is to facilitate this need but crucially it will also ensure that new and current trade professionals are of the highest calibre, trained on innovative and sustainable systems and have the opportunity to up-skill. Through our work with various partners, Saint-Gobain is currently conducting research into the efficiency lost through poorly installed products and believes training is a vital area when tackling this issue.”
Didier Roux, Saint-Gobain’s Vice-President for Research and Innovation, told the audience that innovation in construction is slower than in other sectors and added: “Construction products have a longer life and renewal is slower. They face a complex route to market with many people involved in decision making before new products are accepted. We need to train and constantly make sure (customers) are aware of and understand innovations. This facility will help to do this.”
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