The appetite for learning in the industry is growing rapidly
After the most dramatic years any of us can remember I am delighted to have the opportunity to wish all those associated with GQA a very happy new year.
We have now entered a third lockdown in England, and the pressure on the other home countries has seen them face even more stringent restrictions to daily life.
But for all the challenges 2020 presented it also created opportunity and spurned innovation, and as an organisation, like many others in the fenestration industry, we have been proactive in adapting much of what we do to be accessible online and remotely so that people can continue to learn and develop their skills.
Often this is ‘live’ face to face through any one of the now widely recognised platforms; via video streaming; or through remote online learning allowing people to access the knowledge they want in their own time.
The appetite for learning has never been greater, driven in part by people wanting to improve their knowledge and skills whilst working from home, or being furloughed.
It is my view that 2021 will see further innovation to deliver learning and qualifications, and more uptake from all sectors of the industry, not just the installer or other hands-on sectors, which is often the perception.
For GQA as the Fenestration Industry’s leading awarding body, it is something we are delighted to see, and it is fantastic that that desire for self-improvement is also leading people to think about more formal achievement in the form of qualifications or taking accredited courses.
Our core ethos remains to enable people to raise their skills and attain qualifications in their chosen fields. It is only the methods that have changed.
We live in a country where the education system is and has always been geared towards qualifications, not simply attendance, and it is something we believe should naturally follow through to the world of work. Not just in our industry but across all industries, and of course many have been more adept at embracing this philosophy than we have been previously. But the desire for qualifications is clearly there and that is all the encouragement we need to bring further offering to market, and to partner with major organisations in the industry that have the same view.
It was great to work with CAB over recent months and to see them launch their own CSCS Card for installers working with Aluminium, and we are working with others now who have a desire to achieve the same. As the only issuer of CSCS Cards for the Fenestration and Glass Industries it is really encouraging to see the value that is being attached to accessing the relevant knowledge needed to achieve the health and safety qualification that underpins obtaining a CSCS card.
We are excited to see the Building Our Skills Academy launch its first practical training courses for window and door installation, with many more courses to be launched throughout the year, and to be the body accrediting these courses which can then lead to a full qualification later. We are also working with Building Our Skills on their ‘Inspiring Talent Academy’ programme for youngsters in the industry, and we know that that age group wants to ‘formally’ achieve something for their efforts which they can carry with them throughout their career.
Communicating online has perhaps helped us all to achieve more than by attending meetings in person, when you take travel into account, and it is no coincidence that we are working with a greater number of the industry’s other leading bodies to try to bring greater consistency to the standard of achievement for those undertaking learning and skills development.
We are expecting a busy year and as always, we are there to support our industry and the people within it.
Mick Clayton is CEO of GQA Qualifications