European installers prefer face-to-face training but expect that more training will be done online after the COVID-19 pandemic
Installers participating in Q1 2021 of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor, have shown a clear preference for face-to-face training instead of online training. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has exposed many plumbers and HVAC installers to online training. Consequently, most installers expect that more training will be done online in the future, although they do not find all topics equally suitable for this. Therefore, as part of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor Q1 2021 report, we focused on investigating the training needs of plumbers and HVAC installers. The European Mechanical Installation Monitor is conducted among installers in six countries and is conducted by USP Marketing Consultancy.
Over 90% of plumbers and HVAC installers in Europe have followed training over the past year. On average, installers followed between five and nine training courses, where new regulation and the installation of specific products were the most important topics. Training courses were mostly provided by manufacturers, but also by wholesalers.
About half of the training courses in 2020 were done online (vs. face-to-face) in the UK, Germany and Poland. In Belgium in the Netherlands, about 20% of courses were done online. The lowest rate of online training was in France, where only 1 in 20 courses was online. Nevertheless, installers indicate that the share of online training has increased compared to previous years, particularly in Germany, where 92% of installers have done more online training.
The current level of online training colours the expectations of future training. Half of the installers in the UK, Germany and Poland expect to do more online training in the future, whereas only a small number of installers in Belgium and France expect more. The more training they have online, the more online training is expected for the future.
Although some plumbers and HVAC installers expect more online training, very few prefer online training over face-to-face training. Installers in Germany are the most enthusiastic (although only one in ten prefers online training), the least enthusiastic are installers in the UK. One major explanation could be the training topic: new regulation and trends (e.g. sustainability) are more suitable to online training, whereas training about installation or troubleshooting is far more effective in-person. In other words, doing more online training does not necessarily make installers like online training.
European installers prefer face-to-face training over online-only training. Therefore, manufacturers and wholesalers need to keep offering these offline training as well. It can help them to build stronger relations with the electrical installer than offering online training only.
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