By Steve Hardy
I started at 3V in October 2014 and by saying I didn’t have a clue about ironmongery apart from the very basics would have been an accurate description. As soon as I started in 2014 I was enrolled in to the GAI education program at level one.
The first academic year of the GAI program focused on the very basics of the industry standards and products. This along with my day to day work I soon picked up the general knowledge needed to operate in the office at 3v Architectural Hardware. My basic ironmongery knowledge base ascertained from the GAI helped me to understand the general enquiries coming from site and contractors without having to always go away and ask for help each and every time.
The second year went in to far more detail and gave me a good solid knowledge base on the products and industry standards. The second year really helped me to progress with my commercial ironmongery knowledge. Whilst the first year was focused on domestic/ basic ironmongery, the second year was focused more towards the commercial side of the industry in which 3v operate. At this point I had been with 3v for well over a year and the GAI education program was starting to pay off; it helped me to be able to suggest products with confidence, assist with product enquiries, give technical information and partake in conversations around the office regarding projects and products.
Then came the third year… I found this year to be the most beneficial but also the most challenging. The general knowledge needed to do the scheduling paper was not the issue; it was getting the amount of detail down on paper that was required to give a good specification within the time limit. We had only four hours to complete the paper that included specifying eighteen doors, Master key plan and the pre-amble.
This was the most beneficial year to me in the “learning” process of the GAI. Spending most of my time at work looking through schedules and organising the projects from the contracts side, it really did give me a good understanding on how to work through all the different items I would be looking at daily from architect’s drawings to rebate details.
Throughout my three years on the GAI education program I did find at times some of the material was irrelevant. What I mean by this is that the GAI is sponsored by companies within the industry and some of the material I was asked to do was focused on those company’s products which sponsored the program. I do understand however, that the GAI does need this support from the company within the industry to keep it going.
To balance it out though the GAI does have its qualities. The online education hub is very good! It has all the information required and the access to this information is very easy through the website. The online learning modules were structured well (albeit some of the questions could do with rewriting). All the information was provided in the module resources and if it wasn’t you could easily find what you were looking for online by following the hints/ pointers written in to the modules.
I would also like to mention Chris, John and Gary for enrolling & supporting myself and all the others also participating in the GAI education program. Also providing extra tuition with Clive Stephen who has been fantastic throughout.
Overall, I would recommend anyone who maybe starting out in the industry like myself with limited knowledge to enrol on the course. The GAI education program has been beneficial and given me a solid base moving forward to continue to learn and develop as an AI.