Helping your association navigate the education and skills landscape

A skilled workforce is at the heart of every successful association and business, and attracting and developing the right workforce can be a challenge.

Getting involved with the education and skills system can be part of the solution, even for small associations. Recruitment for example, becomes streamlined because you’ve engaged early with the next generation of talent. And your existing workforce can gain from flexible upskilling or reskilling options revealing new opportunities for your association to grow.

That said, we know that education and skills in England has changed and can be complex to understand, which is where Education Landscape: A guide for Employers comes in.

Did you know:

  • Small and medium sized businesses make up 99% of registered businesses in the UK
  • TAFs 2023 benchmarking survey recorded 47% of associations as being either small or very small associations
  • 4 out of 5 small and medium sized businesses have recruitment concerns, and more than half fear there is a lack of candidates with the right knowledge and skills

A national commitment to small associations and small businesses

We’re committed to helping trade associations find the education and skills landscape easier to navigate. That’s why we’re sharing Education landscape: A Guide for Employers, which has been developed in partnership with organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, British Chamber of Commerce, and IoD to help associations across England. The Guide includes a clear, short overview of the education and landscape system, and concise information about the education and skills opportunities that associations and businesses can engage with, and the benefits these offer. There are links to further information for the options you want to prioritise.

Did you know?

‘Education Landscape: A Guide for Employers’ is adaptable and can be personalised for your own association – see below:

Download the Education Landscape: A Guide for Employers

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Bates Wells is a values-driven, full-service law firm committed to helping clients to achieve positive impact. Bates Wells has a dedicated team focused on meeting the needs of our trade association clients.

We’ll advise you on establishing a new body or introducing a structural or governance change. If something’s gone wrong, we’ll help with everything from early investigations to full disciplinary hearings.

We’ll advise on data privacy and GDPR. We’ll protect your IP and trademarks. If competition law is an issue, we’ll give you clear and practical advice. If you’re relocating, we’ll handle real estate transactions.

We provide full employment law support to HR teams. And if you’re in a dispute, we’ll help you resolve it swiftly and smoothly.

Bates Wells was the first UK law firm to certify as a B Corp, recognising the firm’s commitment to its environmental, social and people-focused priorities.  Bates Wells has been Net-Zero since 2019 across all Scope 1, Scope 2 and all measurable Scope 3 emissions.

Bates Wells is not only committed to sustainability across its own operations – it provides a range of services to help clients to do the same, whether that’s through climate-friendly clauses in contracts, advising on impact investment strategies, or working with partners to achieve legislative change through vehicles like the Better Business Act. Find out how they can assist you to drive your purpose and impact:

How to build a successful insurance scheme for your association

a case study

Over many years, but especially since the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on association’s traditional income streams, revenue diversification has been a huge topic for association leaders and one we get lots of questions on here at TAF.

Many associations have tried to launch new member services with the aim of providing greater value to members and also finding new ways to generate income, though with varying success.

Insurance has been one of the main services associations turn to – building a sector-specific offer for a product that is universally needed, but many have struggled to drive uptake or make their scheme a success.

To help members, we have developed this case study in alongside Partners& and TAF member NAPIT, about an insurance scheme they have built that has achieved impressive take up and delivered results for the association and its members. 

The case study

Background – Challenge

NAPIT is a membership organisation for the building service and fabric sectors – primarily electrical contractors, heating engineers and renewable energy installers. Like many trade organisations, NAPIT offers value added and inclusive support services to their members including training, technical support, legal & HR support – and insurance.

Retaining and growing the membership is a challenge in today’s competitive environment. The pandemic has impacted every business sector in different ways. For many, the world they inhabit has changed irrevocably.

As part of the process to design an insurance offering, Partners& and NAPIT focused on understanding the risks and issues facing members and the priorities for NAPIT. As a result, maximising value for existing members and, as a result, enhancing member retention was fundamental. 

What we do - Support

The NAPIT Insurance offering was designed to provide another valuable service that the membership needs. Aligning with a trusted partner was important in order to really understand the membership demographic and their specific needs.

The majority of NAPIT members are small businesses – either sole traders or involving one or two employees of a limited company. Insurance isn’t something they have the time to spend researching – they simply need to find the right covers for the specific type of work they carry out, for the right price.

Working with both NAPIT and their insurer partners, Partners& carefully developed a tailored package based on the insurance needs of members.

Technology underpins the offering, and the branded NAPIT Insurance website includes an efficient quote and buy online service supporting members’ preferred approach to buying insurance.

It’s then about getting the offer out their and building awareness. Using Partners& marketing expertise and working in partnership with the NAPIT team, they then introduced the NAPIT Insurance brand to NAPIT members. By engaging with the NAPIT marketing team and Partners&’s in-house Insurance advisers, they were able to develop communications and initiatives that are relevant and worthwhile for members – helping them to understand more about the insurance they have and why they need it.

As well as the digital side of things, Partners& supported NAPIT and its members with attendance at industry EXPOs, and by producing newsletter articles which demonstrate thought leadership and highlighted the solutions offered to support them. This helps to truly connect the offer with the membership and understand the challenges both they and NAPIT face.

The results – Perform

Partners& aims to deliver the best traditions of broking – those based on relationship and sound technical advice. By combining this approach with modern thinking and intelligent use of technology, we’ve delivered a quote and buy system that NAPIT members can use at a time that suits them. It’s available 24/7, 365 days a year – not just during office hours.


But it’s not just about click and buy. NAPIT members are advised and supported by a personable team of qualified, professional advisers based in our specialist centre near Reading. As a result, NAPIT Insurance is on hand to answer questions and provide advice, resulting in better outcomes for the members. The offering is underwritten by Hiscox who provide a superior claims service – support when it is needed most.

Since October 2020, NAPIT Insurance has:

  • Transacted over 5,000 policies, representing almost a third of membership
  • Achieved a total premium spend of approximately £1.7m GWP
  • Generated more than £250k revenue for NAPIT since launch
  • Anticipated annual revenue after three years expected of £175k p.a.
  • Embedded the insurance offering as a fundamental benefit of joining NAPIT
  • Achieved gold standard Investor in Customers Award, demonstrating our commitment to deliver a positive experience for members

In summary, we have established a proposition that provides NAPIT members with the insurance cover they need – enhancing confidence in their member organisation and delivering outstanding results.


Find out more

You can find out more about Partners& on the TAF website, or get in touch with their team to find out about how to launch your own association insurance scheme:

The next-generation insurance advisory business.

Partnership is the core belief that drives who we are and what we believe… for our clients and our people.

specialists in working with associations

Through our collective experience, we’ve observed many of the best and worst practices in the insurance advisory market. We’re here to challenge the status quo and aim to establish a new level of service. We’re combining the best traditions of technical advice and client centricity, with modern thinking and smart use of systems and technology to enhance the client experience and create a dynamic workplace for our team.

See our case study - NAPIT Insurance

We have built a successful partnership with TAF member NAPIT to develop their own-label insurance product, adding value to members and generating a new income for the association. Read the case study on the TAF website below:


The Trade Association Forum in partnership with the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) are delighted to launch a new networking group for PR and PA professionals working in Trade Associations.

The TAF PR and Public Affairs Best Practice Forum (TAF PUBCOM) held its first meeting on 22nd September and agreed a remit to:

  • Provide a professional network for PR and PA staff working in trade associations
  • Support trade association PR and public affairs staff to develop their skills and professional careers, including through the provision of tailored training and development and CPD learning opportunities
  • Share best practice, discuss challenges and initiate benchmarking and research into the challenges faced by PR and public affairs in trade associations
  • Provide mentoring and support to those looking to grow and develop their career in PR and public affairs within trade associations
This is a fantastic initiative, which I am delighted to be part of. I am looking forward to developing a community of professionals and delivering a useful and engaging programme which supports our professional and personal development
Tom Reynolds
CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and Chair of the new TAF PUBCOM
We are delighted to collaborate with TAF to launch this new network to help support public relations and public affairs professionals to meet their peers working in similar organisations and learn from each other.

In times of turbulence and change, the role of trade associations to communicate with and on behalf of their members is crucial. This new initiative will help us develop and build collectively and undoubtedly be a valuable resource.
Alastair McCapra
Alastair McCapra
CIPR Chief Executive

For more information about the network please contact TAF CEO, Emily Wallace, or register for updates below:

The world's only Royal Chartered body for PR pros

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of public relations, it is the largest body of its type in Europe

Advancing the UK public relations Industry

Our vision is the establishment of a chartered public relations profession serving clients and society with creative, technically expert and ethical practice.

Our members are recognised PR professionals. We work with and for them to set, maintain and advance standards. We do this through our industry respected qualifications; our Continuing Professional Development scheme, Accreditation and Chartership programmes; our open, in-house and bespoke training; our industry awards and conferences; and the production of research, best practice and skills guidance.

Moreover, through our ethical Code of Conduct and searchable PR registers, we make our members accountable to their employers, clients and the wider public.


As part of our partnership with TAF, together we have launched a Public Affairs & Communications Best Practice Forum (PUBCOM) for staff in trade associations who are responsible for member engagement, PR and public affairs activity. Find out more and join the group below:

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