The Guild Training Programme: Including On-site Training and Mentoring and the pathway to NVQ qualification
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps was founded over 25 years ago with training, standards and co-operation at the core of its activity. The Guild is a “not for profit” trade association with no shareholders. It is legally owned by its members. It exists to benefit its members, their customers and the wider industry.
There are several organizations offering chimney sweep training. How should you choose? If you are serious about being a professional sweep you need to look closely at what you are being offered, making sure you compare like for like.
Many things in life involve more than meets the eye and chimney sweeping is no different. Becoming a good sweep will take a few years; becoming an expert takes longer and requires ongoing learning, attention to detail and perseverance. The Guild Training Programme is designed to get you off to the very best start and then provide you with the tools and support to keep you on the right track.
There’s a lot to think about and good training is just the start. Not only will you be learning new skills and a stack of new knowledge but you may be working for yourself for the first time.
As you begin working, how will you be supported, how will your business be promoted, how will your interests represented? What will you do when you have problems?
The Guild supplies ongoing technical, business and educational support. Member’s business services are promoted to a wide audience in many different ways. Additional educational, networking and business opportunities will prove invaluable as you move forward with your sweeping business.
The Training course is run from various leading training centres and is delivered by qualified trainers. It’s a fairly intense mixture of theory and practical but with plenty of time for questions and discussion. There will be lots of different equipment to see and try out. There’s an open book theory assessment at the end of the fourth day.
There is no substitute for on the job training so following the course, new sweeps will accompany experienced on-site trainers for a minimum of four days as they visit their regular customers. Our experienced on-site trainers can give invaluable help and guidance which will benefit you for the rest of your sweeping career.
Once you have completed initial training and are up and running you have the opportunity to opt in to the “Pathway to NVQ Chimney Sweep qualification”. The NVQ Chimney Sweep Programme is run independently of the Guild and involves Profiling Interviews and OSAT Assessment and is CITB accredited. Qualification is not a requirement of Guild membership but it will become more common as our industry continues to professionalize.
We have two websites. One targets consumers, the other is industry focused. Have a good look over them. How would you like these sites as your association “shop window”?
- The powerful Findachimneysweep website gives members a valuable local profile. It’s also a great consumer information resource as well as a great resource for members seeking articles and information for their own use. Please look at the extensive list of Latest updates in Tips and Advice on our Find a chimney sweep website and see some of the ways we engage your potential customers.
- Look over the last 12 months or so of posts in the Latest News on the “News for Sweeps” section on the Guild trade website to get a snapshot of the work we do on behalf of members.
Even if you don’t use social media, many of your customers do so we work hard to engage them on your behalf.
- If you use Facebook then please look over the last 12 months of posts to our consumer page – Find a Sweep UK and our industry page – The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps. There are regular posts to engage the strong group of followers of the consumer page and for you to use in your own business. Good quality target articles send consumers to the findachimneysweep website and on to ….. you? The posts to our industry page help spread useful and important information about the Guild culture and ethos. This reflects well on our members.
- Similar posts are made to our Twitter channels.
- There is also a member’s only Facebook page – an invaluable educational resource and social hub. Got a problem – not any more!
A strong voice
As an industry we have a lot to say. Professional sweeps are the most important group when it comes to consumer safety and awareness on all aspects of domestic fires and fuels. Sweeps are the only group with regular, trusted access to the customer and their fire / fuel / chimney. The Guild has long recognised the need to promote this special role at every level. So we actively engage with many national and even international groups to highlight and promote the unique role of the professional sweep.
We actively engage with government, expert panels, local authorities, safety charities, health care groups, numerous industry bodies, technical groups, regulatory bodies, private companies, consumer campaigns and many more. We have been instrumental in ensuring the voice of sweeps is heard in government discussions on air quality issues. We have worked hard with other sweeping groups to help secure future governance for our industry, by our industry. The Guild represents the UK industry at international level via The European Federation of Chimney Sweeps. The list goes on.
Keeping in touch
Members receive a copy of the acclaimed Sweep Stuff magazine every four months. This acclaimed magazine gives a great insight into Guild culture and our vibrant nationwide community. View the archive here.
Regular email updates keep you informed about important industry developments, business opportunities, items of interest, meetings, etc. The websites are constantly updated with useful and interesting information, keeping you in touch and helping your business.
Meetings, shows, trips and events
If you have attended a recent Guild Exhibition you will know how valuable it is. Dozens of suppliers and hundreds of sweeps under one roof for a unique weekend. The deals are great, the atmosphere is fantastic. Lots to learn and much fun to be had with your fellow sweeps. Great shows don’t just happen. Dinner, entertainment, competitions and awards – it all requires care, attention and investment. We have invested much over the years to ensure everyone is welcome.
Regional meetings and informal get-togethers are another useful and enjoyable aspect to Guild membership. Occasional educational / social trips to industry works and factories are much appreciated by those who attend.
As our organisation progresses we will continue to expand and evolve the more social aspects of Guild work. As a member, you can simply join in.
Continuing professional development
The Guild has developed several excellent one day courses and they are open to anyone. Many members take full advantage of the additional educational opportunities and enjoy the additional business they generate.
We have an ambitious plan to co-operate with others in the industry develop further short courses to better serve sweeps and continue to professionalise our trade.
Perhaps the greatest resource for continued learning is each other. Members are very active in this respect. The Guild will continue to develop tools and programmes which facilitate co-operation with one another allowing our organisational learning to flourish.
Accountability and responsibility
The Guild is a “not for profit” company owned and run by its members. This is basically the same as any standard limited company but there are no shareholders. A board of directors is elected by members to act in the interests of the company and its members. The board is governed by the Guild company articles and by company law.
It is very important that the association be as democratic as possible. Election procedures are transparent and inclusive. When voting takes place at company meetings each member has a vote, whether or not they attend the meeting.
The Guild Training Course is in three parts:
Please see Course dates and venues on the Training pages of this site.
Part 1. Training Centre
This comprises four days intensive theory and practical training at a dedicated approved training centre. At the end of day four there is an open book multiple choice assessment test.
Part 2. On-Site Training
There is nothing quite like on the job training. You will accompany experienced Guild members as they visit their customers. There are a minimum of four days required. These can be spread over time or perhaps all in one week. These days should be taken with two different trainers. This gives you the best spread of styles and knowledge as no two trainers will work in quite the same way. This gives invaluable insight in to how their business is run and promoted.
Part 3. Final assessment
You will be assessed on your ability to correctly and cleanly sweep a minimum of 4 different appliances and their chimneys. This will take place either at a suitable training centre or on-site at customer’s properties.
Immediately following this practical assessment there is a written (question and answer) assessment.
You are required to use your own vehicle (with sealed bulkhead) and your own sweeping equipment as these form part of the assessment.
The Guild has strict equipment and insurance criteria. You need all the equipment on the list below to be able to tackle the majority of job situations and you will need a minimum two million public liability insurance. These must be met prior to booking in for the final assessment.
Accommodation is not included and candidates are responsible for their own arrangements.
Details of nearby accommodation will be provided upon receipt of your deposit.
Costs and details
The training course costs £1500 inc. VAT, payable in advance. It includes:
- Four days at the training centre (lunch and refreshments included).
- Four on-site training days (any additional days charged at £50).
- A copy of our unique training manual, Masterful Sweeping and a current copy of Document J building regulations.
Final assessment, annual membership and starter pack costs £399 inc. VAT, payable 7 days prior to final assessment, and includes:
- One year’s Guild membership, website listing and links, use of trademarked Guild logo’s, member’s online forums etc.
- Entitlement to all the Benefits of Membership listed above.
- Guild ID card
- A pack of 50 warning certificates and 50 warning labels.
- Promotional material / livery: 7 assorted van stickers, 2 cloth badges (for work wear) Guild mug.
You will need to order sweeping certificates from our printer as soon as you have completed all the assessment requirements.
Discounts are available for:
- Existing professional sweeps – Please list your experience / qualifications on your application form.
- Solid fuel installers listed on a competent persons register e.g. HETAS, OFTEC
For full details of the course schedule and equipment needed, download your Training Pack below:
Booking your place
A non-refundable deposit of £120.00 is required to reserve your place, with the balance paid 21 days prior to the start of the course.
Paying by bank transfer:
Bank – TSB
Sort Code – 30-10-47
Acc. no. 14375268
Paying by card
Please call 01226 242357
Paying by post
Please complete the application form and send, along with £120 deposit, to:
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps Ltd
14 Westbourne Grove
Cheques payable to ‘The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps Ltd’.
Please Note: Once the deposit is paid, the balance must be received in full, 21 days prior to the commencement of the course.
If paying by credit card an additional 2% will be charged.