Gradually coming off the brakes


I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when Boris announced his plans to lift COVID restrictions. Sure, there are quite a few caveats, but we all need the hope that things will get better.

It was a bit of a double-edged sword: great news for some, frustrating for others. Why showrooms can’t open sooner – or even could have remained open throughout like everyone’s favourite garden centre – continues to baffle me. 

But they do now have a date, which is brilliant news. Come April when the doors are thrown open, it should help turbocharge the industry’s recovery.

Education, education, education

It’s been a tough time for learners trying to kickstart their careers, so it’s fantastic that colleges and training centres are opening on 8 March. The return of face-to-face learning means students can get back in the specialist facilities needed for practical course elements. 

I do expect lasting changes to the way apprentices learn post-pandemic.

At the IMI, for example, we’ve seen an explosion in eLearning. We’ve leaned into this, offering numerous online IMI resources – some of them free – and we’ve got big plans to expand our digital offering with our new VOCANTO platform

IMI Centres and training providers have also inspired eLearning success stories during unbelievably difficult times, making sure apprentices could keep going. Just look at Thatcham as it takes repair training online. There are many others, too. Bravo to all of you!

It’s great that the shackles are coming off, and I feel confident that our industry will be a pillar of the country’s recovery. We’ll need all sorts of new skills as we meet the dramatic changes coming down the road.

We’re still in uncertain times, so if you need us please get in touch. We’re available on +44 (0)1992 519025, or send emails to

Stay safe,