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Collaboration currently underway with a new trade association is demonstrating the practicality of GQA’s ‘Bespoke Qualification Service’. GQA, the awarding and qualifications-writing organisation is assisting The Balustrade and Balcony Suppliers and Installers Association (BABSI), a new body fully launched in May 2022.

GQA’s Bespoke Qualification Service is aimed at employers who wish to be able to offer those staff undertaking very specific roles the opportunity to work towards gaining a qualification where one does not already exist. The service is perfect for niche, specialist areas, which do not lend themselves to meeting the required content of a standard regulated qualification.

In close consultation with BABSI, GQA is developing three one-day essential knowledge courses leading to a GQA/BABSI skills card in addition to a new NVQ Level 2 in Balustrading and Railings. The three courses include:

* Essential Knowledge of Balustrading Installation

* Supervising Balustrading Installation Projects

* Designing & Specifying Balustrading Installation Projects

The Essential Knowledge of Balustrading Installation course will cover topics such as an overview of the industry; product range; quality standards; building regulations relating to the industry; installing the product; and identifying problems with installations.

Representing designers, manufacturers, installers, raw material suppliers, distributors, contractors, component and specialist product and service suppliers throughout the sector, BABSI’s mission is to be the recognised voice of the balustrade and balcony sector. The organisation aims to establish stringent standards of quality and service in order to set a professional benchmark for the industry.

Commenting on the collaboration with GQA, BABSI’s CEO, Justin Ratcliffe said:

“Qualifications are a standard against which everyone can be benchmarked equally. GQA’s Bespoke Qualification Service is helping us to prove competency not just through the development of specialist courses, but through the end-of-course testing procedure. We are anticipating that the new, bespoke qualifications will be available from quarter four this year.

“By joining BABSI and getting involved in the courses and the qualifications they offer, members are demonstrating their commitment to best practice, collaboration and improving the quality and understanding of the value of balustrades and balconies for their customers.”

Commenting on the Bespoke Qualification Service, GQA’s EQA/Technical Officer, Martin Sadler says:

“It is disappointing when people in specific, specialist job functions are not able to develop their careers by working towards achieving a qualification because a relevant regulated option is not available. This is where our Bespoke Qualification Service can help. Developing a qualification tailored specifically to them, which carries the approval of GQA, means that employees can fully prove their competency, and employers can put into place for them a career progression route. Once developed, the qualification is exclusive to the employers concerned.

Mick Clayton CEO of GQA Qualifications added “Both our Accredited Training and Bespoke Qualification services are proving extremely popular. They demonstrate the need for a flexible approach to training. Here at GQA we have close to 200 qualifications covering a broad variety of sectors. The balustrade and balcony industry, just like any other, needs training solutions tailored to its specific needs. I’m proud that we are helping to facilitate this and contributing to raising standards and assisting in shaping careers.”

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