Trailblazer apprenticeship now being launched

Trailblazer apprenticeship now being launched

November 2018

Members of The Tiling Trailblazer Apprenticeship Working Group, steered by TTA, have worked for the last two years on the new Wall and Floor Tile Fixer Apprenticeship qualification.

Feedback from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills and the CITB has been very positive throughout - and The Tile Association is delighted to be able to say that the new apprenticeship is now in the process of being launched.

It will play a major role in providing opportunities for young people who are interested in joining the industry and it will also help drive up skill levels of new entrants to the industry for the benefit of companies and employers.

The final stage of the process has just been completed, with the approval of the End Point Assessment (EPA) by the Institute for Apprenticeships, the public body which oversees the development and management of apprenticeships in the UK.

Martin Lindsay, Director of Moderna Contracts Ltd, and Chairman of the Tiling Trailblazer Group, says: “This is a very big milestone for us.  It’s good news for the industry, and it supports Government and industry objectives to qualify the workforce.”

TTA urges awareness of changes to grout width requirements in BS 5385: Part 1: 20018

The requirements contained in the new British Standard BS 5385 Part 1: 2018 regarding the use of other backgrounds for direct wall tiling, rather than plywood, have been widely reported.

What may be less well-known are the new requirements on grout joint widths, which are also addressed in the new Standard.

These vary according to facial area of the tile concerned. Smaller tiles up to 0.1 sq. metre, and not greater than 600mm in length, should have a minimum joint width of 2mm, while larger tiles up to 1,200mm long should have at least a 3mm grout width.

In the case of ceramic panels (tiles with a surface area greater than 1 sq. metre, or any edge length greater than 1,200mm) and thin tiles (ceramic tiles and panels with a thickness less than 5.5mm) the grout width needs to be increased relative to the size of the panel. For instance a 3 metre panel will require a joint width of 5mm.

Thick natural stone slabs (in excess of 12mm thickness), agglomerate stone, metal, plastic resin, mirror, or glass tiles of a similar construction are not covered by the Standard.
Fixers should refer to the relevant manufacturer for further advice.

Bespoke business services from TTA: another great member benefit

The Tile Association’s insurance broker, Cobra, is offering £50 cashback on new policies. Members are also able to access guaranteed savings, compared to any existing premium.

Cobra are industry specialists and offer low interest payment facilities. The Cobra helpline number is 0203 004 2510.

Cobra offers cover on:

  • Public and products liability
  • Employer’s liability
  • Contractors; all risks
  • Many other types of risk

TTA Business Shield has also now been formally launched via TTA member Stallard Kane Associates, who are specialists in health and safety, training and HR issues. This features a dedicated unlimited helpline on 0345 674 0505.

By phoning this number TTA members can access:

  • Unlimited health and safety advice
  • Unlimited HR/employment law advice

There is no restriction on the length of call or the number of times that a member can contact the service.

The Business Shield also incorporates a free ‘Health Check’. Through this all TTA members can benefit from a two-hour compliance health check, completely free of charge. This includes:

  • Health and safety documentation review
  • Health and safety procedural audit and review
  • HR and employment law procedural review
  • HR and employment law audit including documentation review

Entries for TTA Awards 2019 are open until 31st December

The closing date for next year’s TTA Awards is looming. The Tile Association therefore urges companies and individuals in the industry to get their entries in.

The tiling industry’s big night will take place on Friday 12th April at The Hilton Birmingham Metropole at the NEC. The Awards night will have the theme of a Masquerade Ball, so everyone should get their masks ready and get prepared for what is bound to be a memorable visual spectacle!

Potential sponsors are also encouraged to get in touch with the TTA if they are interested in sponsoring the industry’s top Awards night and celebration.
This is an unbeatable opportunity to get your brand in front of key decision-makers from across the whole industry.

There are already six Gold sponsors signed up for 2019. If you’re ready to join them, The Tile Association would love to hear from you.

There are, as usual, excellent sponsorship packages available, as well as bespoke packages, tailored to meet sponsors’ individual needs. The 2018 Awards attracted more interest from sponsors than ever before, so if you wish to sponsor an individual category or support the event as a Gold sponsor, you should contact TTA now.

It is the quality of the entries that keeps this event right up there as one that every company in the industry should enter.

For many companies the TTA Awards are a key part of their annual marketing activities, while for individual fixers, an Award can be a very valuable boost for their careers.

There are 17 Award categories this year, ranging from Tile Fixer of the Year to Excellence in Marketing and Best Heritage Project. For the first time all Award categories will have input from the public vote this year, as well as expert scrutiny by a high calibre judging panel.

The one exception is the Award for Outstanding Contribution/Lifetime Achievement which, as usual, will be awarded by the TTA Board.

During the day The Tile Association will, once again, host The Tiling Show and a series of demonstrations by Gold sponsors. The Tiling Show will comprise a wide-ranging selection of stands from leading companies in the tiling industry.

All Awards Gold sponsors will get a complimentary stand at the Show, which will be opened up to the entire industry. Last year nearly 30 companies participated, and the TTA would be keen to hear from any companies who wish to exhibit.

So please think about your top projects, products and achievements: anything that you would like to put forward for recognition in 2019. Entries will be welcomed on the Awards microsite at, where you will find information about the event.

Tickets are available from the Awards website or by calling the TTA on the number below. This year’s costs are as follows:

  • £175+VAT per person
  • £1,575+VAT for table of 10
  • £1,400 for second table of 10

For further information on Awards sponsorship, entering or attending, please contact the TTA on 0300 365 8453 or by emailing

TTA market survey shows mixed results on the high street but strong performance by adhesive manufacturers

The first TTA member survey of retail tile sales and ‘factory gate’ tile adhesive sales - the first of what will be quarterly surveys going forward - shows a mixed picture.
Respondents to the retail survey were asked two questions:

1. For the period 1st April - 30th June 2018, are your total sales (ex VAT) across all product areas (tiles, adhesives, ancillaries etc) up or down compared to the same period in 2017?

Unsurprisingly to those familiar with recent developments on the high street, the overall picture was somewhat down, with sales some 2.56% lower than in the same period in 2017.

2. Are you anticipating a figure up or down on the above for the quarter 1st July - 30th September 2018?

When asked to anticipate future trading trends, the mood was cautious, with an average expectation of growth amounting to 0.83%.
In the tile adhesive survey, manufacturers were asked the following questions:

1. For the period 1st April - 30th June 2018, are your tile adhesive sales, in the UK only, up or down compared to the same period in 2017?

The overall market appraisal is positive, showing a sales increase of 2.9%, compared with the same period last year.

2. Are you anticipating a figure up or down on the above for the quarter 1st July - 30th September 2018?

An optimistic mood also prevailed when manufacturers were asked to look ahead to the coming months - a 4.38% sales increase was envisaged.

“This TTA survey is the first time that key sectors within the tiling market have been comprehensively analysed,” says Paul Luff, TTA Chairman. “It is a new initiative from TTA, which is intended to provide more information about the state of the industry. We hope that these ongoing surveys will provide valuable data for all those who want to understand key trends within our market.”

“I would like to thank those TTA members who took part in the focus groups which enabled us to put the surveys together, and I can advise that we intend to roll these out to other membership categories going forward.”

More detail on the headline data above is available to TTA members in the Newsletter and on the members’ area of the website. Access to incisive market information is one of the benefits of TTA membership, and this will become a growing resource as new sectors are surveyed in the coming months.

The Tile Association is currently gathering data for the second quarterly survey, covering the period from July to September, and these results will be released in due course.

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