Colleagues and customers really trust the DipGAI designation

Chris Hill, sales representative for Humber Merchants, completed the Diploma in 2017. He is the first full DipGAI qualified member of Scunthorpe-based builders, plumbers & engineers merchants, Humber Merchants.

“I offered to complete the Diploma to fill a skills gap in the company,” said Chris. “A colleague who handled all of the ironmongery specifying side of things was retiring, so we needed someone who had a sound knowledge of these areas.

“I’d heard of the Diploma before and knew that it was a highly regarded qualification that wouldn’t just benefit me short term, it’s something that I can use throughout my career.”

Having worked at Humber Merchants for over 13 years, Chris was familiar with the ironmongery products but wanted to improve his technical understanding.

“My colleague had completed the GAI Certificate in Architectural Hardware qualification with his previous company. Although that was sufficient for my role, going forward I wanted to take my knowledge a step further, so I enrolled for the full Diploma programme.”

As a sales representative for a merchant, Chris needs to be familiar with a range of different products used by builders, plumbers and engineers, not just ironmongery. Thanks to the Diploma, he is developing his role to spend more time on the ironmongery and specifying side of the business.

“I already knew what the products were, but I found it particularly useful to learn about the best practice and legal requirements regarding where and why each product should be used.”

“I’m confident that I’m choosing the correct products for each application and can advise people who have the wrong products. Colleagues and customers trust the DipGAI designation and really take what you’re telling them about the products on board.”

In addition to going to the IAI student evenings, Chris signed up for the residential course in Wolverhampton in March 2017.

“It was great to meet the other students. For someone like me who comes from a company that isn’t just focussed on ironmongery, it was really helpful to meet people that do live and breathe ironmongery. We set up a WhatsApp group that we used to share useful advice and resources with each other.”

In his second year of the education programme, Chris won the Bronze award at the 2016 GAI Education Awards for his final marks in the Certificate in Architectural Hardware. He also gained a Distinction for the Diploma.

Over 2500 people have completed the GAI Diploma since the education programme began in 1961.

Rachel Tipton, education manager, said:

“The Diploma helps those with roles that involve talking to end users and distributors, dealing with scheduling and estimating projects, and providing technical support. Once DipGAI status is achieved, the learners will be fully qualified to discuss the ironmongery requirements for any project with a client.

“No other scheme offers such a broad knowledge and understanding of ironmongery. The GAI is very proud of the Diploma programme and its status as the most recognised qualification in the industry.”

Those interested in enrolling in the Diploma programme must register by 14 January 2018.

Further information on the GAI Diploma programme can be found at: