Product manufacturers and training companies – the ideal partnership? | Ideal Industries
Brett Smyth, General Manager EMEA of Ideal Industries, looks at why supplier/training partnerships are crucial to harnessing product loyalty and innovation in the future.
Many electrical supply chain companies invest in training their own team, but for Ideal Industries, training also forms part of a deeper commitment to the sector and our company’s business development strategy.
We know from experience that the products and brands electricians use when they’re training are often the products and brands to which they remain loyal throughout their careers.
That’s one of the reasons why we’ve developed a knowledge partnership programme with colleges and training providers. It allows us to contribute to training the next generation of electricians and enables us to introduce them to the benefits of our products early in their careers.
We’re 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.
When looking at our latest training provider partnership, early career doesn’tt necessarily mean school leaver trainees. In addition to working with a number of colleges, we’ve 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’s currently 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, those who have lost their jobs or had time to consider their options over the past year are looking for opportunities to retrain. What we’ve 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.
At Ideal Industries, 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’re delighted to be able to support them with products for use in training sessions. It’s really important that those training for site roles have access to a variety of products so 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.
So far, we’ve provided both In-Sure Connectors and Safe Isolation kits for use by Trade Training UK students and have also visited the training centre to demo a range of other products to help introduce electricians to the range.
The benefits of this type of partnership for us are much wider-reaching. It 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.
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 ourselves and Trade Training UK can already see the benefits it’s had for each organisation.
Greg concludes: “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.”