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European HVAC installers did more online training in 2020, but still prefer face-to-face training

The global pandemic has a lot of influence on our day-to-day lives but is also affecting the construction and installation market in many ways. Besides the more obvious effects (supply chain shortage, online order behaviour, changes in orientation behaviour etc), the corona crisis also impacts the training needs of installers. Or more specifically, the way the training is consumed. ​To have a clear view of any potential changes due to corona, and perhaps more importantly their future behavior, we focus on the topic of training needs in the new Q1 2021 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor.

One of the key outcomes, already theorized but now confirmed, is the fact that the vast majority of European installers have been following more online training. This is partly due to necessity and the increased availability of online training. For example, in Germany 9 out of 10 installers participated in more online training than before the corona crisis. And 60% expects to participate in even more online training in the future.

European HVAC installers did more online training in 2020, but still prefer face-to-face training
European Mechanical Installation Monitor Q1 2021 - USP Marketing Consultancy

Face-to-face training favorite

That being said, there is also a counter-movement, as the vast majority of installers still prefer to have face-to-face training. In Germany, only 10% of the installers prefer online training over face-to-face training, in the other countries this is even lower. The is clearly a yearning towards physical contact and face-to-face training, even though participation in online training is at an all-time high.

One other thing to consider is the fact that not all types of training can be conducted (or are not preferred to be) online. Topics like new laws & regulations and trends are more suited to online training than for example installation training.

One thing almost all installers agree on is that the manufacturer is the most important source for training.

Back to normal?

One of the key questions that remain is what will happen after the corona pandemic truly ended. Will the share of online training remain on a high level or perhaps even continue to grow? Or will installers revert to their old ways and upon their preference for F2F training?

It's still difficult to say. On the one hand, installers have more experience with online training and will utilize this type of training more often. On the other hand, the data clearly suggest that installers will also revert to more F2F training as soon as this is possible. Now you would think that both scenarios cannot happen simultaneously, but I think this is exactly what will happen. The key difference is that installers will be more selective in the types of training they will follow F2F and online. Furthermore, the need for training will only increase (more complex products, laws & regulations, digitalization, and so on). Utilizing both online training and F2F will be necessary to accommodate this.

In the new full Q1 2021 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, we cover the full scope of training needs of installers.