Many electrical supply chain companies invest in training their own team, but for Ideal Industries, the specialist in electrical accessories, tools and equipment, training also forms part of a deeper commitment to the sector and the company’s business development strategy. General manager EMEA of Ideal Industries, Brett Smyth explains: “We know from experience that the products and brands electricians use when they are training are often the products and brands to which they remain loyal throughout their careers. That’s one of the reasons why we have developed a knowledge partnership programme with colleges and training providers, because it allows us to contribute to training the next generation of electricians and enables us to introduce them to the benefits of our products and the quality they can expect from our brand early in their careers. We are currently investing heavily in developing a virtual reality platform that will enhance the training support we can offer and enable more training electricians to experience our products using innovative technology.”
For Ideal Industries’ latest training provider partnership, early career does not necessarily mean school leaver trainees. In addition to working with a number of colleges, the company has developed a partnership with a not-for-profit training provider in Widnes, Cheshire. Trade Training UK specialises in upskilling electricians and enabling people to retrain for roles in the electrical sector. The training company was the brainchild of Greg Hoonahian, who has worked on the tools and in the vocational training sector and still combines delivering courses at Trade Training UK with work as an electrical tester.
“There is huge demand for electricians and, with the growth in green technologies, zero carbon and electric vehicle targets, and the appetite for smart buildings, that demand will continue to grow,” explains Greg. “Meanwhile, people who have lost their jobs or had time to consider their options on furlough over the past year are looking for opportunities to retrain. What we have done with Trade Training UK is to make electrical training affordable and accessible to people who need to continue earning while they retrain or upskill, with weekend and evening courses to fit around busy lives.”
Greg delivers much of the training at Trade Training UK himself and was already familiar with Ideal Industries’ products from working on site. After contacting the company for samples of Ideal Industries’ Insure Push-In, Lever and In-Line Connectors to demonstrate the ease, speed and consistency benefits they offer for wire terminations, he was able to develop a wider partnership with the company.
Brett continues: “We really admire what Trade Training UK does to make electrical training more accessible and encourage people of all ages to establish a career in the sector, so we were delighted to be able to support them with products for use in training sessions. It’s really important that people training for site roles have access to a variety of products so that they have experience of different installation methods and are ready for the diverse range of tasks that might be required of them on different projects.” Ideal Industries has provided both In-Sure Connectors and Safe Isolation kits for use by Trade Training UK students and has also visited the training centre to demo a range of other products to help introduce electricians to the range.
“We see this as a relationship that will continue to develop over time,” Brett continues. “Providing products for training in this way is an investment in the future of the sector and helps us develop our customers of the future. “The benefits for us are much wider. Our partnership with training providers like Trade Training UK allows us to gain first hand understanding of installation challenges, which helps guide our product development, and it also gives us access to feedback on new products prior to launch. It’s an ideal way for us to tap into technical knowledge and legislative insights too. All of this ensures we continue to innovate and give the electrical marketplace what it really needs: quality, affordable products that are faster and easier to install, while driving standards of quality and safety.”
The knowledge sharing partnership will continue to develop this year as lockdown restrictions ease and face-to-face training is permitted once again. In the meantime, both Ideal Industries and Trade Training UK can already see the benefits it’s had for both organisations.
Greg adds: “We’ve had great feedback from the students on the Ideal Industries products they’ve used and the relationship helps us enable students to use high quality products without increasing our overheads or the cost of courses. I’m looking forward to seeing how else we can work with Ideal Industries.”