The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) celebrated the very best in education achievements of the next generation of architectural ironmongers at its Education Awards ceremony on 12 November.

This annual ceremony reflects the importance of the GAI’s education syllabus as the only recognised programme in the world to deliver architectural ironmongery qualifications to British and European standards.

126 students achieved GAI qualifications and the top 12 students were presented with awards during the prestigious ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel, off London’s Hyde Park.

This year’s event hit a new record with more than 400 guests attending from all over the UK, Europe, Middle East and the USA.

GAI president, Maria Powell, said: “At the Education Awards we celebrated the rising stars of our industry – those who have committed to a journey of learning, personal development and professional excellence.”

The winners were presented with cash prizes, medals or shields by Maria Powell, the GAI education chairman Andy Fitzgerald, and guest speaker, media personality, journalist and broadcaster, Janet Street-Porter.

Hong Kong’s Chinese students did exceptionally well for a second consecutive year, taking a total of six awards. These included first prize for the Diploma, the Top Scheduling Shield and the Pinnacle Award, all of which were given to Isaac Tam of Tung Fat Ho Building Material, Hong Kong.

Acknowledging the highest achieving student over all three diploma levels, the prestigious Pinnacle Award brings with it the kudos of recognition as the top student and £1,000 in travel vouchers.

Tung Fat Ho Building Material, general manager, Simon Leung, said: “These qualifications are essential for giving confidence to key players in the US and UK.

“We will continue to inspire people’s appetite for learning. Having even more top winners, just like Isaac, is a definite aspiration. Your staff are your brand ambassadors, which is why we take professional development so seriously.”

Among everyone who achieved the Certificate in Architectural Hardware, Brian Ferguson of CES Security Solutions, took the first prize. He is also the first person to complete this level in a record-breaking one year – a significant feat for studies, which typically take at least two years to complete.

The GAI recently transformed its diploma syllabus and placed all of its essential education resources on a new online Education Hub. Filled with engaging content, this interactive training platform can be accessed by hardware professionals throughout the world.

Global interest in the Guild’s education programme has increased significantly to the extent that 45% of last year’s learners were from outside the UK. The Education Hub is now expected to play a major role in satisfying demand from a growing international audience.

GAI chief executive, Gary Amer, said: “This year’s Education Awards provided a tremendous opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to raising the profile of qualifications in architectural ironmongery around the world. The hard work these outstanding individuals have put into developing their skills and the support they receive from their employers is incredible.

“High praise goes to all our winners and especially those from Hong Kong who continued to fly the flag for education and even topped the achievements of their counterparts from last year.”

Mr Amer continued: “Behind the many British success stories in China’s buoyant architectural ironmongery market is an appreciation for learning and professional development. We wholeheartedly support this approach and it’s great to see our education programmes attracting increasing global interest.”

The winners of the Education Awards were:

Pinnacle Award:

  • Isaac Tam, Tung Fat Ho Building Material

Diploma level:

  • Isaac Tam, Tung Fat Ho Building Material – Pinnacle Award, 1st prize and Gold medal, and Shield for Top Scheduling Student
  • Hoi Weun Kilkenny Chan, Key Technologies International – 2nd prize and Silver medal
  • Trevor Walker, Laidlaw Interiors Group – 3rd prize and Bronze medal
  • Garry Brooks, Leaderflush Shapland Laidlaw – 4th prize
  • Tabish Khan, Al-Moajil Hardware – 5th prize
  • Aiden Brown, Mitchells Ironmongers – Shield for Top Business Studies Student.

Certificate in Architectural Hardware level:

  • Brian Ferguson, CES Security Solutions – 1st prize
  • Freda Cheung, Key Technologies International – 2nd prize
  • Colin Steedman, George Boyd Architectural Ironmongery – 3rd prize
  • Jamie Reid, Allgood – 4th prize
  • Leo Zhu, DORMA China – 5th prize.