What you earn depends on what you learn.

The complete quote from former US president Bill Clinton is: ‘In today’s knowledge-based economy, what you earn depends on what you learn. Jobs in the information technology sector, for example, pay 85 percent more than the private sector average.’ Basically, to have a more financially secure future, you’ve got to keep acquiring knowledge and experience, developing expertise and a competitive edge. This might sound like this isn’t advice the heating industry needs, but the figures don’t bear this out. The UK is already experiencing a chronic skills shortage, but by 2030 it will be a lot worse. The Government’s Industrial Strategy Council estimates the shortage will be so bad that 20% of the labour market will not have the necessary skills to undertake their jobs.

What can we do about it? It may sound too simplistic, but we need to carry on training and learning. We can’t assume knowledge and, given the fossil-fuel-free challenge we’re facing, we all need to be as genned up about energy efficiency and sustainability as we can. Increasingly customers are incredibly well informed and will expect the same and more from their installers. The majority of manufacturers provide free training and, now that so much is on Zoom, these sessions are easier to attend. You don’t only learn from the sessions, but from talking through issues with other installers. You’re never too old to learn either, and the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, is a great example of that. We all know just how successful McDonald’s is, but did you know that Kroc first met the McDonald brothers when they were running a fast-food restaurant and he was 51. He went into partnership with them and, at 59, he bought the company and transformed it into one of the most successful fast food operations in the world. By the time he died in 1984, the chain had 7,500 outlets across the world with gross sales of $8 billion. Sales now stand at $19 billion.