Dulux Says UK Facing Decorating Skills Shortage

08th Sep 2016

The parent company of the established paint brand Dulux, the Netherlends-based AkzoNobel, has spoken out about their view that Great Britain is facing a skills crunch in the field of craftsmen and women with the necessary skills to paint properly

Skills shortage

The situation is so serious, the paint manufacturer claims, that it could even exacerbate the housing shortage in the country.

AkzoNobel is among the largest industrial companies in Europe, so its view on the potential painting skills shortage in the UK carries some weight. The firm has recently announced the launch of their own academy in Berkshire. This, they claim, is designed to train painters and decorators with the skills necessary to overcome the drop in the number of skilled tradespeople in the country. But is AkzoNobel’s view one that is really the case? According to a number of recent surveys, it has been claimed that there is a shortage of over 30,000 tradesmen – including skilled painters and decorators – in the capital and the rest of the south-east region. Elsewhere, it has been reported that two thirds of construction firms say that they have declined to bid on some projects, due to the lack of resources.

It has been suggested by Dulux’s owners that their academy will train in the region of 3,000 to 4,000 people each year, once it is up and running. Part of this set up process will mean that it needs to gain the necessary accreditation from the City and Guilds Institute. The chief of AkzoNobel’s UK operation, Matt Pullen, said that he regarded the situation as being one where demand is increasing but where supply is constrained. “It is a something of a crunch,” he said, speaking in London. He continued to add that this could lead to a situation where house building declines simply down to the fact there are no longer enough skilled people to complete building works, including paintwork.

Mr Pullen was speaking at an event that was also attended by Ton Büchner, AkzoNobel’s chief executive. He called for the UK to remain inside the European Union at the event. AkzoNobel has forged close links with Britain since it bought ICI, Dulux’s former parent company. AkzoNobel purchased the chemicals group for £8 billion in 2008. The company employs in excess of 3,600 people in the UK. With a strong UK brand among its offerings, Büchner urged the country to remain part of the single market of Europe. “From a business perspective we would prefer for the UK to stay inside,” he said. He went on to add that from his personal opinion, he would much rather have Great Britain to help to improve the union from within, as opposed to commenting from the sidelines.

Given that Dulux is such as well-known brand in the UK, famous for its Old English Sheepdog advertisements, its views on the state of the country’s skills and its status within the EU are likely be listened to carefully. The company is the latest in a line of organisations to warn about the need for more skilled craftsmen in the construction and renovation industries.


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