Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice
The Building our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice campaign was launched in June 2018. It is a campaign designed to raise awareness among those leaving the educational system, as well as others looking for a career change, about the vast array of career paths, practical training opportunities and qualifications within the Fenestration Industry.
GQA Qualifications Limited – the Fenestration Industry’s awarding body is supporting the campaign as a part of its wider commitment to underpinning Quality through Qualifications.
Mick Clayton, CEO of GQA Qualifications explains the thinking behind the campaign and the background to it
As the industry’s awarding body we register those people who take Fenestration Industry relevant qualifications, and it has become increasingly noticeable that there has been a downturn in the number of younger people signing up to the various programmes on offer.
There are many reasons for a lack of engagement with younger people across all industries, but specifically in relation to the Fenestration Industry it told us that it was not attracting the next generation of workers in sufficient numbers to take up the many roles within it, and that this was leading to a skills gap.
We started to talk about this in the industry press and at conferences and exhibitions, and it became clear that many employers in the industry felt the same way. We realised we needed to do something to start to address the issue, and so along with other industry partners we designed the Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice Campaign.
So, first things first – what is Fenestration?
Wikipedia describes Fenestration as the design, construction, or presence of openings in a building. Fenestration includes windows, doors, louvres, vents, wall panels, skylights, storefronts, curtain walls, and slope glazed systems.
Here’s a bit more
Fenestration in buildings dates back to medieval days, even the earliest castles had windows and doors, specifically built into their designs to allow light in, air to circulate, and to provide security.
Today’s fenestration products are designed with exactly the same principles in mind, nothing has changed in terms of the basic principles. But what has changed is the incredible technology that goes into the design, manufacture, supply and installation of windows and doors in the modern world – take a look at the Shard in London as just one example of Fenestration at work, providing light, ventilation, solar control – to keep the sun out or the warmth in – environmentally efficient and stunningly spectacular. This is what Fenestration means in today’s world.
But take away the visual appearance of how Fenestration looks in buildings like the Shard, all the technical features of the products on this project relate to every other kind of window and door, curtain wall or glazed screen designed, manufactured and installed throughout the country.
That might be on the windows and doors in your house, or it might be the Shard or something similar, the fact is that Fenestration is everywhere, it is a part of every building the world over, and has been almost since time began.
A truly vibrant industry
In the UK, the Fenestration Industry is worth 4.6billion pounds annually. It is innovative with new products being designed by the thousands of companies who operate within it every year, it employs hundreds of thousands of people, and it is an industry that never stands still. It is also a very rewarding industry to work in – financially, socially and from a career development point of view. Employer led learning, practical training and qualifications are at its heart.
More than anything else the Fenestration is a home for everybody and every skill level – whatever your passion, whatever your skill set, there is something here for you.
So now we know what Fenestration is, what is the aim of the new campaign?
At its simplest the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the Fenestration Industry and the many career paths it offers to those looking at their future careers. We see the Fenestration Industry as one where there is the opportunity to continue to grow and progress, and to move through the industry on a career journey which has no limits as to what a person can achieve.
We want school-leavers, parents, teachers and other interested parties to be made aware of the industry and the opportunities it offers and we want people to start to think about the Fenestration Industry as genuine career of choice, an industry they might aspire to join.
How can people who might be interested find out more about the Fenestration Industry and about qualifications?
We have dedicated this website to those who want to know more. It highlights the career opportunities within the Fenestration Industry. It shows the personal journeys of many who have previously joined the industry and been successful to show others who might be interested what can be achieved, and it showcases some of the fantastic things that go on in the industry each and every day.
It also allows interested parties to explore the individual career paths, practical training opportunities and qualifications which are available and are relevant to specific roles.
Qualifications can be achieved through engaging with any one of the 70 Approved Training and Assessment Centres which form the GQA network, and details can also be accessed directly via GQA’s own website www.gqaqualifications.com
How has the industry responded to the campaign?
The industry has responded really positively to the campaign, with dozens of employers committing their time and energy to helping to raise awareness of the campaign itself and the wider industry to those we are seeking to encourage to join it.
We believe this campaign will play a major part in addressing a very serious challenge facing the Fenestration Industry. For young people, and those already in work in other areas thinking about the career path they want to take, we would encourage them to look at the Fenestration Industry. It is a home for all skills and for people from all backgrounds; the opportunities for personal and career development are vast – make Fenestration a Career of Choice.
Mick Clayton, CEO GQA Qualifications Limited