Who is David May? We spoke to our Southern Technical Product Trainer at Aqualisa to find out more about his career, his training and why installers benefit from attending Aqualisa seminars.
David, can you tell us a bit about your career? What was your background prior to your current role as Technical Product Trainer?
Before joining Aqualisa in 2000, I had been in the plumbing and heating industry for about 15 years, working in a variety of roles including sales positions and as a plumber. I didn’t go into plumbing straight from school, it was about six years later, when I was working for a plumbers’ merchant, that I was encouraged to build a career in the industry. I now feel like I’ve covered all areas of the industry, which is ideal for my current role as installers can be sure they are being taught by someone who has been in their shoes. I originally joined Aqualisa as a service engineer before moving on to a technical product trainer, a role I have enjoyed for the last 17 years. You wouldn’t think I was that old, would you?
Your training role has taken you beyond the United Kingdom, can you tell me a bit about the training you have been involved with abroad?
During my time at Aqualisa I have been lucky enough to train qualified installers in both Belgium and Dubai as Aqualisa’s products have achieved success in both countries. These trips were a learning curve for me, as well as the installers, as they work with different systems to the UK so I had to adjust my training accordingly. It was certainly challenging but it’s great to expand my own knowledge, so I can pass that on in my training here.
As Product Trainer you meet and train new installers every day, what do you enjoy about sharing your expertise in Aqualisa’s product range?
The key for me is that I trust and like the products. Even before I started working for Aqualisa I liked the products and installed them myself. The training is about making sure our products are being installed correctly and efficiently and that is why installers attend, as they have pride in their work – which is great to see.
I enjoy the fact that I learn something new every day when training. I have to keep in touch with the industry as it shifts and changes and, unlike the installers, I’m not installing every day so I pick up stuff from them. I also enjoy constantly meeting new people who are all such different characters and have a variety of experience in the trade.
With regards to the free installer training available, why should installers come to learn about the products and what are the benefits of attending?
Installers need to know the products inside-out and understand what they offer to be able to talk to a customer about them. Demonstrating knowledge gives customers confidence in their installer and from our point of view, it makes such a difference if installers are able to iron out any queries ahead of their first installation.
It is also important that installers regularly update their knowledge, obviously not attending courses every week, but its advantageous to have a refresher - especially if we have released new products. In this industry, it is easy to lose track of what manufacturers are doing and not doing, so it’s worth attending purely for a catch up.
We really appreciate the installers who come to our training as they essentially become brand ambassadors and with the influence they have over what their customers chose, having their ear is crucial.
You hold separate training sessions on Aqualisa’s smart shower and mixer shower ranges, would you recommend installers attend both seminars?
I would say it depends what the individual installer works with, but everyone would find attending both sessions very helpful. Smart digital showers are gaining momentum on the market, so it’s important to be prepared in case a customer asks about them. On the other hand, there is still a big percentage of ordinary shower valves out there, so keeping up to speed with both is a good idea.
You also visit colleges and companies to train students and staff – do you think it’s important to support the next generation of installers and industry professionals?
From our point of view, they are the people who are going to be advising, installing and recommending the products in the future. What you learn in your early days stays with you and I enjoy passing on the knowledge that I’ve developed to inspire the youth that’s set to keep the industry going. Sometimes I see students I have trained come back for refresher training after starting businesses of their own. It’s lovely to be remembered and know that the training you’ve provided has stayed with them and that they’ve stuck with Aqualisa over the years.
For more information on Aqualisa’s free installer training, please visit www.aqualisa.co.uk/training.