Professional development – the ultimate tool to success

The kitchen and bathroom design industry are relatively unregulated. This means that kitchen and bathroom designers do not need to be certified to work in the industry, resulting in many very successful designers building careers from pure experience and in-house mentoring alone. In recent years however, the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association has introduced new measures to increase the level of certification across the industry.

Rachael Kwok, Executive Officer of NKBA, says reform was needed and welcomed by the industry.

“Just because an industry is unregulated, doesn’t mean that the industry itself doesn’t strive for high standards of consistency and delivery. The design industry is naturally particular, with designers working many hours to achieve excellent results for their clients. The job of a designer is complex, they need to understand all aspects of design, from spatial design, to colour theory and materials, best practice, and budget management. For this reason, the NKBA and most of our members have made education and professional development a priority. This can be demonstrated through the rise in popularity of our New Zealand Diploma in Kitchen Design, the introduction of tiering for designers and the multitude of education opportunities that the NKBA presents.”

Only two years ago, the NKBA introduced the tiering of designers. Based on qualifications and experience, tiering ranges from Elite to Bronze and assesses designers on their years of experience in the industry, qualifications, and membership with NKBA. The tier is then made public to consumers looking for designers and to industry.

“Our tiering system provides designers with something to aspire to, it shows a clear direction from the NKBA to value professional development, and it makes it easy for consumers to understand a designer’s level of industry experience. In a way, the tiering system is very much a regulation of the industry, by industry, for industry. In addition, we offer CPD points for members attending events, both online and in person, and we try to provide a range of education opportunities throughout the year.”

One such opportunity is the annual NKBA Conference. An intensive two-day event, the NKBA Conference provides designers, joiners, and manufacturers the space to explore different aspects of the design industry from business management, through to design trends and innovative practices. It also offers designers an opportunity to connect with likeminded practitioners and suppliers.

“We are very proud of our conference, and we always receive a phenomenal amount of feedback from members about how it keeps them passionate and driven to succeed. This year our conference is at Christchurch’s Town Hall from 4-5 July. We will hear from the inspirational Karen Walker, Jason Gunn, Simon Devitt, and Cam Calkoen. We can’t wait to inspire designers for another year to come.”

In addition to learning and networking, there are many other reasons to attend conference and education events. Career advancement is another obvious justification.

“Beyond networking and staying abreast of latest industry news and learnings, we also recommend professional development for career advancement, skill diversification, increased earning potential, renewed job excitement and to gain greater confidence. Professional development also reduces stagnation and increases creativity.  At the very least, professional development ensures you are moving in the right direction and that your methods and practices are sound and on par with your peers. As an unregulated industry, it is vital that we take responsibility for our own development and prioritise professional development as a tool to success.”

To take your professional development into your own hands, attend the NKBA Conference.