As the business reaches is 10th anniversary, we caught up with Dan Plosky, MD of Now Get Qualified to find out how the business is progressing.

As a family run business, it’s fair to say we’re really proud to have hit our 10th anniversary, said Dan. In that time, we have formed strong working relationships with some of the country’s leading drylining and fit-out contractors, as well as countless small business and sole traders.

Our fundamental principle is customer satisfaction – without our clients we fail to exist. This principle has never been more important than it is today. The pandemic, Brexit, and global conflict have, and continue to have, a huge impact on all levels of the supply chain. Most businesses are feeling the pressure. Cashflow and contract demands are a national concern, and we’re still seeing established and valued drylining and fit-out contractors struggle and go into administration.

Now Get Qualified (NGQ) was formed in 2012 to address the numbers of unqualified, but skilled, fit-out workers.

Managing Director Dan Plosky said: “Having spent 20 years working within the drylining and plastering sectors, as both a tradesman and manager, I knew the industry well. However, like many other construction workers, the aches and pains were becoming more frequent as the years went by.”

An opportunity arose to retrain as an NVQ assessor, something that Dan initially dismissed; some months later, he decided to make a call to the person that had delivered his own EWPA NVQ (Experienced Worker Practical Assessment), David Kirk. Dan then began training with the National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC/CITB), and started assessing experienced workers via the On-Site Assessment and Training route (OSAT). Four years later, Now Get Qualified was born.

Dan said: “I decided to form NGQ. I’d been well trained and had made a lot of connections, but felt the need to oversee operations personally. My wife, Debbie, had plenty of office experience, and after some convincing decided to take a leading role overseeing accounts and administration. I sourced a few experienced and time served assessors and quality assurers, and after much work and hoop jumping, we were up and running. Our services began, and largely remain today, as a provider of on-site assessment. Our delivery staff are all from the tools, predominantly drywall, cladding and plastering occupations. They know the trades they assess and site life, and are excellent communicators.”

So, how does the business achieve customer satisfaction?

One of the first things we found was information on NVQ and CSCS requirements was vague and often conflicting. Information was available, but many clients and enquirers were still unsure of processes, regulations, and their CITB Grant entitlements. It was this situation that led us towards the Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS).

Clear and correct Information is obviously paramount when advising potential clients – this is where our work needs to begin. Alex Adams, HSEQ Manager, MPG Contracts Ltd saidMPG has worked successfully with Now Get Qualified for many years, and are impressed with the high levels of professional standards, both in assessment and customer support. The team are always available to offer good advice on the various NVQ options available, and or candidates regularly comment on how well they are supported throughout the whole process”.

From first contact up to certification NGQ provide support, information, advice and guidance. Initial assessment is key to ensure candidates are correctly enrolled onto achievable qualifications that will meet their needs, and people understand their options. Informative written communications to document arrangement and plans, is also paramount; without this it’s easy to get bamboozled by arrangements relating to the qualifications, grants, and current CSCS card stipulations.

Now Get Qualified is a CITB Approved Training Organisation (ATO). They therefore assist clients with grant queries and submissions for the NVQs they deliver to them; ensuring they obtain the entitled rebates for NVQ achievement. Likewise, we are not part of CSCS, but it’s fair to say that a large driving force behind construction qualifications and training, are the trade card schemes. It is therefore essential that we understand the requirements of CSCS, so we can provide sound advice to any enquiries.

Over the years, our team and network of associated organisations has grown. We hold Approved Membership Status within the FIS, and have chartered management assessors, to assist our management candidates who wish to apply for membership status within the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). As our team expands, we’re able to offer further qualifications within different occupational areas. To remain current with new product and industry standards, all delivery team have a CPD programme in place to ensure their level of knowledge and understanding don’t stagnate.

OSAT NVQ assessment is our primary delivery process. Starting with Initial Assessment, we ascertain the current skillset and knowledge level of the potential candidate; this generally leads us to the most suitable NVQ. We’ve often heard it said, ‘you can’t fail an NVQ’; this statement is misleading and projects that anyone can complete the qualification, undermining its value. What this statement means is that, if profiled properly, once enrolled onto an NVQ, candidates will be able to develop their competencies during the delivery period, until all criteria can be fulfilled through assessment. Therefore, if a candidate has years of experience, and evidence can be gathered to document this, the qualification may be achievable in a timely manner – on the flipside, somebody with less experience may well take longer to develop their skills and understanding of the systems used, to a stage where they can meet the standards and achieve sign-off. Trade NVQs (L2 & L3) require site visits by one of our assessors. During site visits the assessor logs their findings (evidence) using different assessment methods. The assessor will reference this evidence to the unit standards to document where competence has been proven – we find this process is much more robust than using an e-portfolio. Mark Hoey, Regional Construction Director, Conneely Group said “Conneely Group have been using Now Get Qualified since early 2013. We find them to be very proactive with regards to the NVQ training we require, for both our management Teams and Tradesmen labour Teams”.

The need for proof of occupational competence in UK Construction will remain. Training and schemes will evolve as years go by, but one things for sure: there’s a clear shortage of labour within the Finishes and Interiors Sector. As training providers we’re responsible for forming and qualifying the future workforce, who skills and work will be evident for decades to come.