Chairman, Certass Certification
Certass is keen to ensure the competence of all installers that work under the banner of our Competent Persons Scheme as we have a responsibility to all industry stakeholders.
Unfortunately our industry has proven to be a home to a number of differing standards as regards workmanship and it is our desire, and that of programmes such as Each Home Counts, to help ensure our industry is in its rightful position as a leading construction sector. Many people that work in glazing are skilled and competent offering a fantastic service, and we need to get away from blind acceptance of competence without clear evidence.
As GQA is well aware Government has recently launched Trailblazer apprenticeships. A key aspect of these Trailblazers is End Point Assessment, this is where an independent body does an assessment of the apprentice when the employer and training provider states the learner is at a suitable industry level. Certass fully supports this End Point Assessment aspect as a vital aspect of validating training and helping prove competence.
The existing NVQ is not fit for purpose with a large number of optional units and it is possible to hold an NVQ without meeting all the government approved requirements for self-certification. The output of learners from NVQs is highly variable, dependent on quality of training, qualification year and assessment received. The Certass position is that we do accept an NVQ, in the same manner as we accept the work experience of an experienced worker. We validate both in an equal manner to ensure our members are all competent. We believe this provides a suitable level of consumer protection and is in-keeping with market demands for better compliance levels.
As to the matter of being the only Certification Body to take this approach, this is in fact incorrect as others take the same route to validate and ensure both our brands and consumers are protected. Our (and other Certification Bodies) Mandatory Technical Competence Assessment is a positive thing for industry protecting all involved in our sector.
Certass is at the front end every day involved in consumer engagement and issues, we also carry out a large number of audits on installation work so we see first hand the issues. We then feed this back into our Mandatory Technical Competence assessments and build CPD to help improve industry knowledge and standards.
It is market issues such as this that has led us to launch a trade association that is free to any installation company that uses Certass CPS. The CTA will give on-going information and advice that will help secure the businesses of our members by ensuring they are up to date with all they need to know. Those who represent our industry simply need to do more than write letters.