The IoBM TT Challenge in 2008 brought young merchants together to experience products in performance.

First lady 2/2

Published:  28 July, 2010

Mrs Mason left Waste Recycling and entered the builders’ merchant industry, making full use of her training knowledge. Family firm Ridgeons supported her move into an HR management role and she has stayed there ever since.

Heading the IoBM is a further progression of her career, melding knowledge and experience of the market with a concerted drive to create a professional network to be able to meet and talk with like-minded people.

“It enables people to have see how each other works from a career point-of-view, to transfer good practice and also for potential job opportunities,” she says.

“Our big priority has got to be to build our membership and increasing our value for our members. A key objective is to encourage new and developing merchants to see the benefits of belonging to this organisation to further develop their careers – in the way that I saw the benefit of belonging to other institutes.

“We need to increase our profile – many people don’t understand what the Institute stands for. We need to be more up-to-date with our website, with coverage through the trade press, so that the things we are doing are put in front of people.

“We have strong links with the Builders’ Merchants Federation and we need to make sure people understand that link by IoBM accrediting BMF’s qualifications.

“We need people to understand that if they achieve a certain qualification, they are eligible to attain a certain level of membership with the IoBM,” she explains. The BMF is about ‘companies’, whereas the Institute is about ‘individuals’.

Another idea that is being pursued is a practical building skills challenge day. Young people at the start of their career can struggle to understand what a product does or how it is used within the wider framework of a construction project. Ridgeons, in partnership with Cambridge Regional College, developed a course that is based around modern methods of construction and practical building skills.

“On this course, people have to build a wall, plumb in a bathrooms or build a timber frame. By doing this they learn where the products go and touch and feel some of the products they have to sell,” she explains.

“Because this course has been so successful at Ridgeons, we are no looking at whether we can expand the course for others with a practical building skills day,” she comments. IoBM members and prospective members would be encouraged to attend these hands-on events. “During these skills days we will also be able to introduce the Institute and its aims,” she adds.

Joining Rebecca as president are Andrew Pine of MKM as vice president and governors Dawn Wilkinson; Phil White from Parker Building Supplies; Steve Sellick, Ridgeons’ training manager and Chris Pateman, managing director of the Builders’ Merchants Federation. Newly co-opted to Iobm are Jeremy Daniel, a director from John A Stephens; Mark Faulkner of EH Smith and Brent Ganley from Thompson Building Supplies.

This feature first appeared in the May 2010 edition of Builders' Merchants News.


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