GAI Education Awards show an industry facing a confident future

The door and window hardware industry’s rising stars were celebrated this month at the 40th annual Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ (GAI) Education Awards.

Held at the Royal Lancaster hotel, London, on November 7 2019, the awards celebrated the architectural ironmongery professionals who have achieved their GAI Diploma and recognised the highest achieving students. The awards were sponsored this year by ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK and Ireland.

This year, exams were sat by 390 learners across all three stages of the GAI education programme. Students came from 26 different countries, with just under half of them based outside the UK. There has been a particularly high number of learners from United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and India.

At the awards, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded to the highest achieving students at the GAI Diploma level and there were also prize awards for the top three students from the Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH) level.

This year, the Diplomas and awards were given to students by former Top Gear Stig, Ben Collins.                

The full list of Education Awards winners in 2019 is:

The Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Eurobond Doors:

  • Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East

GAI Diploma:

  • Gold – Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East
  • Silver – Craig Birch, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions
  • Bronze – Bernadeth Prometidos, Consort Middle East LLC

CiAH Prize Winners: 

  • First place – Andrew Marshall, ASSA ABLOY New Zealand
  • Second place – Ian Tisdale, Carlisle Brass
  • Third place – Michael Hunt, More Handles

Dave Timson, technical sales director at Eurobond Doors, presented this year’s Pinnacle Award to Bala Vignesh, specification consultant at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East.

Bala Vignesh said of his career and Diploma success:

“I had been working in the door and ironmongery industry for eight years and wanted to get to grips with all the essentials of architectural ironmongery. I wanted to be able to walk into meetings with customers with confidence, knowing that everything I’m specifying is up to code and is the best choice of product.

“At the moment there are technical and regulatory changes everywhere. Locks are changing from mechanical to electrical, 2D drawings are becoming 3D models, and the way that we specify is also evolving. It is important that we stay up to date, and the GAI Diploma programme has prepared me for this.”

Julian Newman, president of the GAI, said:

“The scrutiny of the skills, qualifications and competence of everyone in the building industry has never been higher, and each part of the supply chain needs to prove its worth. The GAI Diploma makes this possible in our sector. It is the only recognised programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards.”

The awards recognised the industry’s rising stars at each stage in the GAI education programme.

While the Diploma is the primary qualification for professional architectural ironmongers, the Certificate in Architectural Hardware is particularly useful for those working in related warehouse and trade counter roles, procurement, scheduling and estimating, customer service, technical support, sales and administration. Comprising two stages with 24 online education modules, the Certificate covers the product knowledge required by these roles.

Following completion of the Certificate in Architectural Hardware, students can progress to the GAI Diploma. The Diploma builds on product knowledge and enables the writing of accurate hardware specifications and quotations. This qualification is particularly suited to those in customer service, contract management, scheduling and estimating, technical and sales. To become a full GAI member, a company must have at least one employee who has passed the GAI Diploma.

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions sponsored the GAI Education Awards.

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