Meet Andrew Curry – Schlüter’s Training Manager

What was your first job?

I was a fishmonger at our local Sainsbury’s during my university days.  I used to do a 10-hour shift on a Sunday as it was double pay (£12ph was a lot in the early 90s) but 7am starts did not mean a whale of a time though!  Being a student, Saturday nights often merged into Sunday mornings and setting up the fish counter display was the last thing on my mind back then.

After graduating in IT, I eventually became a Systems Administrator for a data management company in Derby.  Although I believed I always wanted to work in IT, I missed the social interaction of working with people. 

How long have you been at Schlüter-Systems?

17 years!  I started working for Schlüter on 1st April 2007 (April Fools’ day)! 

My initial role at Schlüter was Account Manager covering East England, or Area 2 as it was called back then.  Geographically, that included Sussex through to Newcastle and everything in between.  It was a varied role that meant looking after enquiries from direct account customers, contractors, and architects/designers.  Soon afterwards, I was promoted to Senior Account Manager, which was a team leader role responsible for the team of account managers.  I then became a Business Development Manager; there were two of us at this time and, between us, we were responsible for whole of the UK. 

In 2012, an opportunity became available in training. Schlüter UK was to develop a targeted approach to training at its facilities in Coalville, Leicestershire.  For many years, Schlüter had provided industry-leading training. However, this was mainly external working with distributors, colleges etc.  A suite of training programmes was created, a practical workshop was constructed, and our Innovation Workshops were launched!  The practical workshop areas could, originally, accommodate around 6 – 8 people and sessions were held once or twice a week.  Fast forward 10 years (and a couple of major facility refurbishments), we can now accommodate up to 50 people or more, twice a week! 

What are your responsibilities?

As Training Manager, my primary responsibility is the customer training experience and everything that represents; from being greeted on arrival, the training provided on the day, and all the way through to certification and departure. 

Ensuring that experience is first class doesn’t come easy.  I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great team who work with me.  Between us, we provide an experience we should all be proud of (I know I am).  We are regularly told “it’s the best training day we’ve ever had”, with many people coming back again and again (and again!).

What do you love most about Schlüter-Systems?

In my role, I’ve been lucky enough to have met thousands of people (many of whom have become friends).  I consider being able to represent a market-leading brand and innovative solutions provider such as Schlüter as a huge privilege.  What is also a privilege is to show all those installers, resellers, and designers our solutions for applications for tile, stone and other floor coverings. 

I also really enjoy working with the team around me, most of us having worked together now for many years.  We regularly meet outside of work for drinks and nibbles; even colleagues who have moved on to new pastures join us.

What makes Schlüter-Systems stand out from its competitors?

As well as providing truly innovative solutions, we also have an incredibly comprehensive range.  From tile edge protection, waterproofing, drainage, lighting, heating, and acoustics; the fact that these systems have all been tried, tested and designed to work together ensures a long-lasting installation.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Grey at the minute, I’m going grey, the skies are grey and its one of our main company’s colours!

Joking apart – I guess when I’m training there always is a degree of consistency.  The day typically starts with meet and greet, a presentation of some description (depending on the course type) followed by a tour of the facilities and, finally, practical training.  However, because I’m dealing with different people, from different ‘walks of life’, every day is different. 

Training sessions are typically twice a week and, in-between, it’s time to keep on top of the organisational side of things. 

I’d also like to think I have a thorough understanding of our business and, therefore, can provide a balanced opinion to assist other departments such as sales and marketing. I’m always keen to offer and show support where needed.  As a result, there are always projects I’m asked to help troubleshoot.

What has been a highlight since working with Schlüter-Systems?

Festive Friday!  When it first started over 15 years ago, Festive Friday was a charity breakfast for about 10-15 people.  Obviously, the company has grown now but so too has the day itself!

Typically held around the last working day of the year, it starts around 4:30 am (for me) as I arrive to prepare a full English breakfast for the whole company which is now around 50+ people!  Once breakfast is served, the table-tennis tournament typically follows, along with Secret Santa and then the Christmas party.

It’s obviously a lot of fun and a great way of finishing the year.  However, the most important aspect for me is the money raised for charity.  Over the years, we have raised thousands of pounds.  For many years now, the nominated charity has been Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, which is a fantastic organisation.

Do you have any particular goals for the rest of 2024 – career or personal?

Yorkshire Three Peaks!  Last year I got into this hiking malarky.  I’ve improved my step count from a lazy 4000 steps a day to between 10 and 12000 a day.  My son Alexander inspired me. Between us, we’ve enjoyed the best of South Derbyshire, Northwest Leicestershire, the Peak District, Malvern Hills and many more.  Later this year, we’re ready for a challenge and have decided it will be the Yorkshire Three Peaks and next year…. Well let’s see!  I will be doing this for charity so keep an eye on the socials!