Opportunities for Updates & Continual Learning
Lawson Wight highlights the case and the opportunities for continual learning.
As professional chimney sweeps, I’m sure we all understand that we never stop learning. Of course, this is the case with many occupations but even sweeps with 30+ years experience will tell you that hardly a week goes by without learning something new! This is unusual for any trade, but it’s a big part of what makes our work rewarding and for many sweeps it’s why they are so passionate about what they do.
Things are moving quickly in our industry. Just think of the changes in the last five years in Stove design and Eco 2022; fuels legislation and Burnright; the Clean Air Strategy and the negative media reporting and now we have the ongoing CAFS policies developing in Scotland. Then there’s the NVQ and associated additional competencies of Short Duration Courses (SDC’s). Equipment has evolved and there are new solutions to old problems e.g. creosote removal, camera surveying equipment and general inspections. There are new courses, delivered in new ways. All of this and a lot more, just in the last five years!
So it’s all the more important to update yourself. Awareness of current best practice, regulatory changes and industry developments give you the opportunity to expand your scope of business through a better understanding of our trade and the emerging trends. Being aware of new regulations and best practice keeps you out of trouble, and your customers will be better served and safer.
It has become easier for everyone to learn faster with the development of internet communications. Some sweeps find social media groups helpful, others will look to online resources from trade associations and industry groups. Others still will prefer to learn in a classroom type setting, directly from their colleagues.
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps offers professional sweeps several opportunities to further their knowledge. You don’t have to be a member to access our courses and information, although there are good discounts and other benefits for existing members. For online resources you can visit the websites and see ‘Latest News’ on the trade site or ‘Tips & Advice‘ on the findachimneysweep consumer site. If you are searching for something specific, just put a couple of keywords into the “Search” box.
The Guild Refresher course is the very best way to update yourself. It’s specifically designed for experienced sweeps and focusses on changes and developments from within the last five years. It is reviewed several times a year as new developments occur. All the information on regulations is bang up to date including new government legislation on fuels, ecodesign stoves. Likely future changes are also explored.
Eighteen months ago, in response to covid, the Guild Refresher course course was redesigned for online delivery. It’s proved very popular with many enjoying the ease of being able to attend from home. The online version is live, with up to 9 of your fellow sweeps attending. There’s always room for some fun too, so we’ve kept the quiz, the Q & A and the discussion elements that have scored so well in previous feedback. It’s delivered by at least two presenters, keeping it fresh and engaging for the whole day.
Guild members are required to update their knowledge with this course every five years. To date, over a third of members have attended, many have been impressed with the content and the format and the feedback is very flattering. Why not ask someone who has done it? It’s currently delivered by qualified trainers and assessors Gavin Cater and John Stone. Gavin said that on a recent course they had a member attend who had been sweeping chimneys for over 50 years, and he still managed to learn something!’
We’ve reduced the course cost of the online version to reflect savings on training centre, etc. £150 inc vat to Guild members, others £200.
The other CPD courses currently offered by the Guild are: Combined CCTV Survey / Integrity Testing course and the Historic and Thatch Property Sweeping course. Although not essential, any or all of these courses will prove very useful if you are on the NVQ qualification pathway.
You can find details for dates, venues, costs and content for all courses in the Training and Membership section on the Guild website.