Picture above: Craig Hanson – Winner of MFC 2016

After an impressive win at last year’s Master Fitter Challenge – the intense two-day installer competition managed by GQA Qualifications Limited and hosted at the FIT Show, winner Craig Hanson tells why he encourages others to take up the challenge pitting their skills against each other to help highlight the professionalism of installers.

“I didn’t enter myself for the 2016 Master Fitter Challenge,” Craig advised: “so, it was a total surprise when I received a telephone call from the GQA assessor conducting the initial interview stage.” A member of staff at the company Craig worked for had completed the application online on his behalf. Craig continues: “At the time, it did come as a little bit of a shock because I would never have thought myself good enough to enter.

“After the initial interview, a GQA qualified assessor came out to site to review my working methods – this was quite nervy! By now, I was getting used to the idea of being in the competition and really wanted to get through to the final stage – a full two days showcasing my skills at FIT Show 2016.

“Telford International Centre was a great venue for the competition and the MFC event was held in an area very close to the entrance of the exhibition, adding pressure to all the entrants. We were the first thing visitors saw as they entered the show. There was no let-up either from the other entrants, with the calibre of skills being shown it made the challenge extremely tough.

“Since winning Master Fitter Challenge 2016, my life has change. I left the company I was working with and brought Pennine Windows, a small wholesale business providing frames manufactured from Linear profile to trade and domestic customers. The company was underperforming when I took it over, but is now looking good as it continues to grow. I still stay loyal to fitting windows – it’s where I feel more comfortable, allowing me to keep my hand in.

“Last year’s challenge, highlighted for me just how important it is to the future of our industry, that fitters/installer are qualified and competent, and I will continue to support initiatives which showcase good practice and eliminate cowboys!

“I do intend entering again this year and look forward to working with GQA Qualifications, who do a splendid job of managing the event, along with all the events sponsors. I also, look forward to competing with both new and previous entrants, urging anyone who may think they aren’t good enough to step up and prove just how good us guys really are!” Craig adds.

To enter visit www.fitshow.co.uk/master-fitter-challenge, closing date 31st March 2017