Training remains the backbone of the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF).
Despite a year of unprecedented challenge and change, training and standards remain at the very heart of the Door & Hardware Federation’s (DHF) objectives and operations. The Tamworth-based trade association – also one of the UK’s oldest, having been formed in 1897 – represents all the key players in locks and building hardware, doorsets, industrial doors and shutters, domestic garage doors and automated gates sectors. It works tirelessly towards the maintaining and raising of quality and standards across the industry.
And, as an experienced organisation with significant longevity, it has certainly witnessed its fair share of economic uncertainty and societal shifts since its inception, never more so than during last year’s Covid-19 crisis. Yet, it remained a solid and steadfast beacon of hope and positivity for its members, adopting a ‘business as usual’ approach from the outset and a rapid ability to adapt to the unpredictable industry changes.
Fully committed to continuing to provide a first-rate level of training, by April 2020, just as the first lockdown had started to take effect, the organisation had already launched online courses for its members, regardless of their locality. Level 2 Award courses in Automated Gate & Traffic Barrier Safety and Industrial & Garage Door Safety, ideal for installers, were filmed and edited to enable DHF to successfully share knowledge with its learners. Classroom learning was re-instated at DHF’s Tamworth-based training academy in June (albeit limited to six delegates in total, and in the weeks that followed, a ‘Distance Learning Programme’ (DLP) was delivered via Zoom by DHF’s Training and Compliance Officer, Nick Perkins, with examinations taken via the online facility. This unique undertaking has enabled those at a distance to maintain their training obligations.
During 2020, the federation held a number of two-hour virtual seminars for members’ customers on the importance of safety – and their legal responsibilities – for owners of automated products. And the federation has also ensured its members have stayed up to date with industry changes regarding Brexit, which, together with Covid-19 has been described as ‘the perfect storm’. Virtual seminars and accompanying briefing papers were produced for its membership in relation to UKCA marking, in November, and again, in February.
“Providing training, learning opportunities and ensuring our members are putting safe and compliant products out into the market is what we do at DHF and we remain committed to that end,” explains Head of Commercial Operations, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens.
DHF moved to its new a state-of-the-art training academy in Tamworth in 2018, demonstrating its continued commitment to training, and reflecting an increase in its membership, which, since then, has swelled to more than 500. The site offers parking for more than 40 cars and is located just four miles from junction 11 of the M42. Since the move in September 2018, the organisation has trained nearly 2000 delegates, with the facilities offering a collaborative and positive experience for all.
In January 2021, DHF launched The Entrance Systems Alliance Limited (ESA), with the Automatic Door Suppliers Association (ADSA); the new venture has been founded as an assessment centre to offer NVQ (National Vocational) qualifications to the industries served by both organisations. These include door and gate systems, such as fire doors, automated gates and powered pedestrian doors.
The NVQ is a competence-based qualification centred on national occupational standards which are statements of performance that describe what competent people in an occupation are expected to be able to do. The NVQ is achieved through assessment and is required for those seeking a formal qualification.
“By anyone’s standards, 2020 was a year of extraordinary turbulence and uncertainty, but DHF has remained absolutely committed to standing side-by-side with its members throughout,” continues Patricia. “As early as March, the team was working extremely hard behind the scenes to put special measures in place to limit the potential disruption for learners and the feedback we have received on both face-to-face and distance learning has been superb. Whether on-site or online, we will always offer our members the flexibility they need. Indeed, we are prepped for adapting to whatever the coming year brings, and whether in person, or digitally, our training courses will continue a-pace. 2021 has, again, started on a positive note with our ability to offer NVQ qualifications to the industry.”
At the end of April 2021, DHF once again reinstated its classroom training at its Tamworth-based academy. For further information on training courses visit https://www.dhfonline.org.uk/
The ESA website is now live and further information about the NVQ’s offered can be found at www.esa.uk.com