Most in the industry today are well aware of the high levels of training and certification that are now part of the landscape when it comes to the manufacture and installation of windows and doors. Long gone are the days when the industry worked to self-set standards.

Today’s industry is governed by stringent building regulations to which those manufacturing and installing windows and doors must adhere, and most companies are investing widely in their staff, ensuring they have the right skills to do their work to the highest standards.

For those carrying out key roles such as installation, there is the opportunity for them to be independently certified to demonstrate that they are qualified to carry out their role. The result is not only peace of mind for homeowners, but an on-going rise in standards in the industry, which benefits all parties.

Playing a key role in driving up these standards is GQA Qualifications, the fenestration industry’s leading awarding and qualifications writing body. 2021 sees the start of their 20th year of operation.

The ethos of GQA is that working towards qualifications and encouraging learning opportunities are vitally important if the fenestration industry is to continue to improve and to set the highest standards, and to make it appealing as an industry to young people looking for a career after education to help address the skills gap that has been prevalent in the construction industry for so long.

GQA is a major advocate of vocational careers and qualifications for the industry, and in the 20 years since it began operating has grown the network of approved centres delivering its qualifications from an initial 15 to over 200, and now employs 21 staff in total from an initial starting point of just seven.

“In the last 20 years GQA has issued a staggering 142,00 qualifications”

It is a sign of the progress made by the industry, that at its outset, GQA offered just 11 qualifications. Today it offers 238 and over the past 20 years, they have issued a staggering 142,000 qualification certificates.

Commenting on the milestones achieved, Mick Clayton, Chief Executive Officer of GQA says:

“As we enter our 20th operational year, I am very proud of what GQA has achieved and how it has grown. It is clear that the appetite for learning has never been greater amongst the tradespeople in our industry and despite the challenges of the pandemic I see significant growth in this during 2021. For GQA, as a leading awarding body, it is something we are delighted to see, and it is fantastic that that desire for self-improvement is leading people to think more about formal achievement in the form of qualifications or taking accredited courses.”

“We are committed to seeing our industry hone the skills of its tradespeople so that homeowners and commercial clients can always be confident of receiving the best quality of workmanship and service, and to making our industry a genuine career choice for youngsters leaving the education sector”.

Parents’ View of Fenestration Industry as Offspring’s Career Choice

Among many partnerships it is involved in GQA is a major supporter of the Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice campaign to attract new entrants to the market. On the subject of making fenestration a career of choice, homeowners may be very interested to learn of the results of a YouGov survey commissioned by GQA into the attitudes of over 1,000 parents with school-age children concerning university attendance and vocational training.

The survey results revealed that over 60% of respondents agreed that for decades we have been recruiting too many young people onto university courses that do nothing to improve their life chances or help with their career goals. In addition, over 75% agreed that vocational training, careers and/or vocational qualifications could be beneficial to young people as an alternative career path to going to university.

Heartening for GQA was the survey’s revelation regarding how the fenestration industry is perceived by the parents questioned. Over half of respondents were not averse to their children one day entering this industry. It is to be hoped that year on year more and more parents will encourage their children down this route when they are of employable age.

For more information about developing a qualified workforce


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