Retailer membership information

I thought I would write a more detailed info page for retailers who did not manage to speak to us at Slide or are just intersted. I spent a good deal of time at Slide explaining how BSBA membership is structured and everyone found this important in understanding how it works.

Firstly BSBA has been set up to primarily support individual boot fitters and retailers who employ them. We provide accredited training and help inform the public where these accredited boot fitters can be found.

First thing to do is request a membership form which asks a few specific questions about their boot fitting experience and enables us to recommend the appropriate course or exam to take. Retailers have a separate form which focuses on the shop as a whole,

Joining is firstly aimed at Individuals and is very straight forward. If you have never done a BSBA course, which of course in this first year is normal, you join as an associate member until you have attended a BSBA course or passed the EBF (experienced boot fitters) exam. (Remember if you have attended an “Anything technical” boot fitting course then you have attained Level 101 already and can join as a Full member).

After that you gain access to the appropriate course syllabus and can study this prior to the course you are attending. Once an Individual is a Full member they are listed on the website along with their location and will receive a membership card. After that you continue to be listed as a BSBA member and are able to do further courses when appropriate simply by paying your yearly subs.

Retailers: We have tried to encourage retailers to sponsor/support their boot fitters through the BSBA system by paying for all or part of the membership process. If they do this they receive associated membership and discounts on courses. If the shop would rather not pay for the association then it is still in their interests to encourage their staff to join BSBA as this will surely help motivate them, give them accreditation and raise their skill levels; which can only help them as well as the shop.

It is worth being a retail member, however, as the £100 membership fee includes 1 full membership and discounts of £25 per course taken ( for a minimum of 3 staff on any of the courses). ie It is therefore less expensive as a retail member than putting the staff through independently. You also are listed on the store locator and recieve a link from the BSBA and an annual logo as well as a host of other benefits listed on the website. Regarding the other staff membership, we would suggest that the staff should pay for their individual membership, though this is obviously at your discretion. You could always use it as a staff retainer?!

The courses syllabus is listed briefly on the website  so have a look what’s involved and  as member you will have private access to online detailed syllabus for each course. We have tried to be as inclusive as possible so have created the EBF exam for skilled boot fitters who would like to join but feel doing Level 201 would be treading water. So you can have obtain accreditation as level 201 if you pass the EBF exam.This will be available from the end of April. We hope that ski bootfitters will be honest when doing this and do not seek outside help, we will be asking the shop manager/owner to sign off that the student did this in a closed environment (ie no outside help via phone, internet and from other staff). We will remove this exam option if we feel it is abused.

The more retailers and individual members we have, the sooner we can reduce the subs, we are a non profit making association. We keep the training revenue separate and this will enable us to reduce BSBA membership when possible. BSBA revenue will pay for the website and promoting BSBA to the public. In future, if we have a stand, it will come out of the training budget not the association’s.

Just to confirm: We are not trying to undermine experienced boot fitters and specialist retailers in the slightest; on the contrary, we wish there were more of you!  If you feel our courses have nothing to offer you and being a member is of no benefit then that is unfortunate but we respect your opinion. However, if you see that we are trying to improve the perception of ski boot fitting as a trade and want more ski boots sold in the UK then hopefully you will support what we are doing.

In truth no one has said to my face that what we are doing is worthless to the Industry. In fact all I can go on is what people have said/written to me which is extremely supportive and positive. I must however assume that their must be some negativity out in the trade as not everyone came to see us which makes you think maybe it’s because they don’t want to? If so I wish they would tell me why as we have tried very hard to show that we are here for the benefit of the ski industry. We are an evolving association and we are open to any suggestions and advice. So if you have a point you wish to make, get in touch.

So hope this was of help to you and that if you have more questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Look forward to you coming on board!

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