IOBM promotes ‘Profession of Merchanting’

IOBM logoThe Institute of Builders Merchants, which merged with the Builders Merchants Federation in 2021, has a bold new identity to signal its mission to define and promote the profession of merchanting.

The new IOBM logo, which visually links the Institute with the BMF parent brand, will help to advance the profession of merchanting and gain national awareness of the professional institute for the builders merchants’ industry.

Unveiling the logo is just the start of a major re-launch programme. It will be rolled out over the coming months with targeted communications for merchant employers, corporate supporters and individuals working in merchants who stand to gain the greatest benefit from IOBM membership. The IOBM will run its first Conference for members in October 2022.

The Institute’s prime focus is to help its members build careers in merchanting by creating a framework of accredited qualifications recognised by employers in the sector. The accredited qualification framework will have clear entry criteria and pathways to progressive membership grades.

The IOBM is reviewing available apprenticeship and diploma programmes with a plan to accredit the established LEAP BMF apprenticeships by the end of the year.  This will be followed by the accreditation of the BMF Diploma in Merchant Management by 2024. The IOBM’s ultimate pathway is to achieve Chartered status by 2030, and establish merchanting as an exciting and valued profession, and a career of choice.

Jeremy Daniel, IOBM management committee member and director at John A. Stephens, said: “We have been working hard since the merger last year to redefine the Institute’s purpose and develop an attractive package suitable for the modern merchant. This re-launch marks a new beginning for the IOBM with some exciting programs to follow.”

With ambitious plans for the profession, member growth is a key element of the IOBM’s strategy.  The Institute will be partnering with BMF members to encourage them to offer their employees career development opportunities via the IOBM. The IOBM is keen to involve the whole building materials community in supporting the development of the professional status of merchanting, with corporate membership extended to supplier members.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Through a reinvigorated IOBM we have a real opportunity to advance the profession of merchanting and make it a sought-after desirable career. We have already seen IOBM membership numbers increase to 1,000 since the Institute merged with the BMF last year. We are now calling on merchants to actively encourage their colleagues to find out more about the benefits offered by their professional Institute and have developed a suite of on and off-line materials to help them spread the message.”

Merchants are already responding to this call to action.  For example, Travis Perkins has introduced its apprentices to IOBM, and hundreds have joined as student members to develop their careers. The category of corporate supporter membership has also gained traction with major building suppliers and buying societies, with 13 organisations joining to date.

About Anjali Sooknanan

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