Knauf Drywall is actively plugging the drylining skills gap through ongoing practical support for building colleges. The leading drywall systems manufacturer has pledged further assistance for key training establishments, to future-proof the industry by ensuring a reliable supply of skilled tradespeople.

With good overall prospects for the building industry, demand for competent drylining installers and plasterers will increase significantly in residential building as well as in commercial and government sectors, says James Leaning, Knauf Drywall Technical Services Manager. “Increased building activity will create strong new demand for drywall and finishing skills, potentially outstripping supply. Our contribution to training is a conscious effort to provide adequate growth in the skills base, and prevent an industry bottleneck.”

In the past year Knauf Drywall supplied wallboard, plaster and related products free of charge to 16 building colleges around the UK. It plans to continue support at similar levels into the future.

James Leaning says: “Our investment of about £300,000 enabled 1,300 students to gain hands-on experience of drywall products and techniques. On average, each student worked with nine sheets of plasterboard, 350 metres of jointing tape and nearly half a ton of bagged products.”

This has made a real difference, says Paul Jenkinson, Training Manager at Mortimore Enterprises, a Merseyside building college. “Knauf Drywall supplied us with a significant amount of material at no cost. Access to this material has seen a positive impact on both our learners and our training centre.

“In addition to being used in training sessions and providing learners with a true reflection of products used in the industry, the material supplied has recently aided the development of a mezzanine level. This development has enabled an improved specialist training provision that can now offer fitted interiors (kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms) in the new section of the centre.

“We are pleased to be working with Knauf Drywall and are sure that its support will continue to benefit existing and future learners.”

Knauf Drywall’s support for the building colleges complements other training initiatives, for example with the Federation of Plastering and Drylining Contractors – and at the Knauf Drywall Training Centre at Sittingbourne, Kent.

James Leaning says: “These initiatives mean that plastering and drylining contractors can draw from a wider pool of skilled people, who are reliably able to deliver the high standards of finish that specifiers demand.”

Knauf Drywall manufactures a full range of plasters, plasterboards, insulating laminates, drywall accessories, metal sections and steel building systems, for domestic and commercial applications, from factories at Sittingbourne in Kent and Immingham on Humberside.

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