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We headed down to FloorSkills to find out what makes it the industry’s favourite training centre, as voted by you.

FloorSkills in Solihull is Europe’s largest independent floorcoverings training centre with over 8000ft² of dedicated training area. Having opened in May 2012, the centre has built up a world- class reputation in just over three years.

As well has having a solid Ofsted rating of outstanding, FloorSkills is the only floorcoverings training centre in the UK to have had all of the courses accredited by CITB. Not to mention the fact that you made it winner of our Tomorrow’s Flooring Awards 2015.

The centre is run by Matt and Sid Bourne who are well known in the industry and between them have won British Champion Installer and represented the UK in the European championships. FloorSkills only uses trainers that are proven in the trade and all are fully qualified, which the hundreds of certificates on display proudly demonstrate.

Divided into dedicated training zones, the centre is equipped with over 50 bays of various shapes and sizes and equipped with a range of moveable obstacles including skirting boards, doorways, stairs and shower trays. There are specialist training areas for subfloor preparation, clean rooms including walls and ceilings and underfloor heating bays.

The UFH bays are the largest size and also accommodate courses on diamond grinding with FloorSkills the only training provider to run courses on anhydrite


grinding. There are always more bays available than numbers on the course, meaning that each student will have their own area and there’s no waiting around.

Dedicated zones are positioned around a raised trainer’s platform so that learners are able to watch exactly how installations should be done. However, this isn’t to say that they can purely copy what the instructor does as the training bays are different sizes with doorways on opposite sides. This means that they’re not simply a mirror image so trainees must understand what they’re doing.

FloorSkills is able to offer funded apprenticeships that are open to all ages and levels and run over a period of 18 months. The apprentice will work alongside their employer to gain on-the- job training and attend the centre on block release for up to five days every other month. This means that they will have the time to complete a full installation, including preparing the area.

The two apprenticeships available are on Textile and Impervious Flooring and Wood Flooring with both schedules including everything from subfloor preparation to estimating and quotes. An apprentice will finish the course with all the skills they’ll need to hit the floor running when they qualify. In fact, Matt says that many students go back to their employers with more advanced skills than the experienced fitters.

For fitters who already have experience under their belts and don’t need

any additional training Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) is available in resilient flooring. This assessment method combines the use of witness testimonies, employer endorsement and practical evaluation. Full funding can be arranged for both employed and self-employed layers wishing to take this route.

Private training courses are also run for every level on all types of flooring. Floorskills is recognised as a high quality training provider and as such has the backing of many manufacturers. Companies not only provide quality products for trainees to use at the centre but also trust the facility to provide courses on their use and deliver training to their own staff.

Next year there will be a host of new courses added to the programme and these will include ceramic tiling, professional cleaning and maintenance including carpet dying. All courses are fully hands-on with all equipment provided. In fact, Matt has even designed a range of tools for the professional fitter and these can be purchased at the end of the course.

With so many satisfied trainees having passed through the doors over the last three years and such an extensive range of courses and options, it’s no wonder that FloorSkills has gained such a winning status!

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