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GQA INTERVIEWS NEW NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

GQA Qualifications has appointed Chris Beedel, Head of Government Advocacy & Stakeholder Relations at the GGF as a non-executive board director. Here the fenestration industry’s leading awarding and qualifications-writing organisation chats to Chris about his new role.

What does being a Director of GQA mean to you?

It’s an absolute privilege to have become a director of GQA. I’ve worked in the fenestration industry since 2017, but been very involved in compliance all my working life. I’m therefore well steeped in competent persons schemes, and one of my goals is to try to ensure that qualifications remain high on the agenda of the GGF and FENSA. I’m confident that together we can make decisions that positively affect the industry’s future workforce.

What do you think are the strengths of GQA?

One of GQA’s key strengths is its longevity: this year the organisation is 21 years old. Over its lifetime, GQA has seen many changes in the industries in which it operates, none more so than in construction and fenestration. However, it has successfully adapted in order to remain relevant and useful. Today, GQA helps to ensure that the attainment of qualifications is meaningful in securing professional development and long-term careers. It’s wonderful to see GQA front and centre in fenestration, and playing a key role in the frameworks that shape and manage the industry’s future.

What does your experience bring to the table?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had a varied and international career, whilst focusing mainly on quality assurance. From the world of polymer science to that of electronics, I have seen a good range of management cultures. Hopefully I can therefore bring to the table a breadth of knowledge not only of fenestration but also of the manufacturing processes and good governance of other sectors. Having been a director at FENSA for many years I learnt that corporate independence and impartiality are vital to good governance. These are certainly approaches I’ll be bringing with me to GQA.

What changes have you seen in GQA over the past twenty years you’d like to highlight?

Modifications to the building regulations form a key backdrop to the changes I’ve seen GQA have to accommodate. In addition, the organisation has diversified successfully and now operates in multiple sectors, not just fenestration and construction. Diversification into new markets and adaptation to new regulations have both required a nimble and flexible approach from GQA. This ability to evolve has helped it become the impressive organisation it is today.

How important do you feel qualifications and training are?

They’re very important. In this post-Grenfell world, proving competency is going to be more vital than ever. Qualifications will be under the spotlight, and we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose and genuinely providing opportunities for the future. There’s a driving test analogy that I believe is apt here: knowing the theory is fine, but putting knowledge into practice is equally important. Behaviours on site are going to be under scrutiny and that’s no bad thing.

Where do you see GQA heading in the future?

Changes in the regulatory system and the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) are likely to bring about a step change in skills, knowledge, education and behaviours, and the competence framework will have to reflect this. The good news is that standards in the industry will be driven upwards as a consequence. In addition, consumer confidence in the fenestration industry is bound to rise. The industry is currently facing some of its biggest challenges yet in retraining and reskilling, and I see GQA playing an important role in addressing them. I also expect GQA’s activities will help to answer the needs of the Future Homes Standard, which will have a positive impact on improving standards in residential construction. All in all, I am very optimistic about the future of the fenestration industry and therefore that of GQA.

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