New look IOBM signals mission to promote ‘Profession of Merchanting’

New look IOBM signals mission to promote ‘Profession of Merchanting’

The Institute of Builders Merchants, which merged with the Builders Merchants Federation last year, has unveiled “a bold new identity to signal its mission to define and promote the profession of merchanting”.

Unveiling the new IOBM logo, which visually links the Institute with the BMF parent brand, is said to be just the start of a major re-launch programme that will be rolled out over the coming months with targeted communications for merchant employers, corporate supporters and the individuals working in merchants “who stand to gain the greatest benefit from IOBM membership”. The IOBM will also run its first Conference for members in October 2022.

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

The IOBM is also 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.

Furthermore, 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, and the body 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.”

Merchant businesses are already responding to this call to action. For example, Travis Perkins introduced its apprentices to IOBM, and hundreds have joined as student members giving them the opportunity to assess how active membership will support them as they continue 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.

To find out more about how the IOBM is supporting the professional advancement of those working in the merchanting industry, visit or contact Richard Ellithorne, Membership Services Director at, or call 02476 854980.

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