For some considerable time now National Windscreens has been actively involved in all of its fitting technicians achieving NVQ qualifications. With customers becoming more demanding of their suppliers and in particular with the advent of BS10125 (formerly PAS125) for insurance approved body shops, National Windscreens has had to take steps to ensure technicians maintain the highest levels of competency.
Denis Reed, Internal Verifier with National Windscreens (South West region), says, “Our involvement with the NVQ process since the mid-nineties means that we have become acutely aware of the need to ensure technicians are equipped with the necessary skills required to install glass in the wide variety of vehicles on the UK’s roads.
“Having initially been focussed on ensuring that each technician gains a minimum NVQ Level 2 qualification, the need to refresh and update the qualifications was certainly helped by GQA’s introduction of the Level 3 Award in Continued Competence in Automotive Glazing. This was a new approach for us involving the need to reassess experienced technicians in new techniques, as well as reaffirm their knowledge of the industry.
“To achieve a Level 3 NVQ each technician is required to sit a written test under exam conditions which some initially found a little daunting; however we feel that our approach of issuing revision materials and then working closely with the technician helps to ensure the best possible chance of success. On successful completion of the knowledge tests, the technicians are then assessed while carrying out some of the more technically challenging jobs. This approach, coupled with the support we get from GQA and in particular Sean Hayes our External Verifier, has worked very well for us.”
National Windscreens employs over 800 technicians operating from 108 fitting centres located throughout the UK. Peter Allan & Rob Roberts, both based in the South West, are two of National Windscreens’ most experienced Regional Assessors and are certainly kept busy ensuring that qualifications are kept up to date.
Peter who has in excess of 30 years’ experience in the industry says, “...it can be challenging at times, especially with technicians that have been in the industry for many years and may be a little stuck in their ways. Ours is a dynamic industry and we require that all of our technicians are able to demonstrate the variety of removal techniques needed to work on modern vehicles and that includes the use of various wire removal equipment as well as screen installation equipment.
“The Level 3 continued competence qualification does just that for us i.e. it enables us to continually assess and ensure that we keep abreast of competency levels ensuring we satisfy the requirements of our customers and offer a high quality service.”
Sean Hayes from GQA said, “My background is in Automotive Glazing so I have first-hand understanding of the need for a robust, but also cost effective and efficient means of proving current competence. This resulted in GQA developing the Continued Competence qualification.
“It is great to see Denis and the team have found the qualification beneficial to the organisation and at the same time challenging for their technicians. National Windscreens has consistently increased its reputation and customer base and I like to think that GQA’s qualifications have played a part in this. I look forward to continuing the great working relationship between National Windscreens and GQA.”
During a recent Quality Assurance visit, Sean met James Green a Technician at the Coventry fitting centre who had recently completed his GQA Level 3 Award in Continued Competence in Automotive Glazing. James told Sean, “I am really pleased to have completed this updated qualification. Although I have many years’ experience in the Industry I took the time to go over the useful technical information provided by the assessment team to prepare for the tests.
“Having to prove I had the right knowledge and practical skills could have been stressful, but my Assessor Pete Allen took the time to settle any nerves and this helped me. I look forward to getting my new Certificate and Q-Card.”
And on a separate note - congratulations to Matt Hughes, manager of our Wolverhampton fitting centre, on achieving his Level 3 NVQ Assessor qualification. Matt has worked in the industry for over 25 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role of Assessor.
National Windscreens maintains its own Authorised Centre at Tamworth, where a wide range of qualifications are delivered to technical staff, managers and administration staff to meet the company’s commitment to training and skills development.
Pictured L-R: Denis Reed (Regional Compliance Manager and Internal Verifier), James Green (Technician) and Sean Hayes (GQA)