Rebecca Mason and Andrew Pine.

Lessons learned

Published:  01 October, 2012

The Institute of Builders’ Merchants is setting out its activities for the rest of the year. Rebecca Mason, the organisation’s past-president, interviews current president Andrew Pine about educating merchants of the future.

Rebecca Mason: It has been another successful year for the Institute of Builders’ Merchants. Going forward, what is the plan for 2012 and beyond?

Andrew Pine: It has been a busy year. The 3rd Practical Building Skills event, a Past Presidents’ Lunch, the endorsement and certification of Travis Perkins’ apprenticeship and management qualifications and the ongoing development of the website means it has been all systems go, but this level of activity is helping to increase our membership numbers and that is really positive news.

Rebecca Mason: Will the Practical Building Skills events continue to be popular?

Andrew Pine: Yes. The level of interest has been greater than we anticipated, so we are now investigating the development of a Practical Skills Qualification. The Institute feels there is a gap in the market for this and from our attendee feedback, working hands-on with the products definitely helps the students’ understanding of how they work in practice.

Of course, we have to thank our supplier partners, the Institute Charity Fund, Builders’ Merchants Training Trust and the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants for supporting the event.

Rebecca Mason: What is happening with the Institute website?

Andrew Pine: We have introduced a ‘Members’ Forum’ and thanks to support from the Builders’ Merchants Federation we are now able to offer our members the Campus online learning facility free of charge.

On the exclusive-to-members section of the Institute’s website – – our members can now access all 100-plus industrystandard courses on everything from chipboard to solar heating at no additional cost.

This, we believe, will make membership subscription a great investment in personal development.

In addition, the Forum service, means members can post comments and take part in debates on industryrelevant subjects. This has generated keen interest from supplier partners seeking to engage in direct dialogue with individuals.

The website is viewed by the Institute as an important route to encouraging new membership as well as for directly re-engaging existing members. We are keen to hear our members' views on how they would like to see the website progress and what additional member benefits they would like us to develop on their behalf.

Rebecca Mason: Have you decided to stay for a second term of office?

Andrew Pine: I felt that a second term allowed a continued focus on completing key initiatives already under way such as the Practical Skills Qualification and further development of the membership benefits on the website. I’m grateful to my chief executive David Kilburn and MKM for continuing to support the Institute in this way.

Rebecca Mason: I understand that the IoBM has also strengthened the board of governors.

Andrew Pine: Abigail Briggs of Ridgeons has taken on the treasurer’s role and Chris Pateman has returned as a governor. Both have a lot to offer the Institute.

Rebecca Mason: This sounds promising. What about generating new membership?

Andrew Pine: Every step forward we make is generating new members keen to develop their professional competence in the merchant industry.

For more information about IoBM, contact Gill Sellick on 01767 650662, or email:

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