As part of NAS Approved Training Provider Week, today’s Five Minutes is with Allan Lock, Managing Director of AKL Assessments Ltd, an NAS Approved Training Provider.
1. How did you first hear about the NAS?
We were invited by former NAS Director Robert Hudson to do a presentation to Interserve Interiors as they had been let down by other suppliers with regards to NVQ’s. We were recommended to the NAS by CITB as we had helped them out on a few previous projects where they had been struggling to deliver what they had promised. One was Hindhead Tunnel and the other was a development scheme for supervisors to managers for 4 of the Federation Members.
2. How did you first come in to this industry?
My dad was a plant manager so I grew up with it. Going to work in the summer holidays and weekends from age 5 or 6. I then went to Bircham Newton when I was 17 for a year in 1978 to do a City & Guilds and learn things properly, then onto site and worked my way through from Plant Operative to Works Manager on civil engineering projects ranging in value but with the largest being £12 million. I thoroughly enjoy what I do now as I like being able to “give back” and find myself in a position to do this. I have visited some amazing places through work which I might never have seen without what we do, examples being the Houses of Parliament, Crossrail, Dubai Airport, The Admiralty, The Design Museum, National Art Gallery, Ferrari dealerships, Rolex dealerships etc. all with access to areas that normal visitors do not get.
3. If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
With regards to NVQ’s the majority of people think it is a course and they have “loads of work” to do to “pass” it. It is not a pass or fail and if you are doing the job you will have all the evidence to hand to prove your competence and achieve it. On a larger perspective, price is still the driving force and I would have to say that cheapest is not always the best as I have seen this at every level in every kind of construction, fit out, building, plant and demolition activity as well as training and qualifications.
4. What considerations are given by your company regarding training during COVID-19?
We have our own specific risk assessments in place for our office and “on the road” staff and are utilising Zoom or similar wherever possible to minimise the risks. We are also going by what the client and candidates employers require at their end.
5. What are your proudest achievements, both personally and professionally?
Making my way from Machine Driver to Managing Director of our own company ranks very highly professionally as do the memberships that I hold with relevant bodies as my school reports always used to say “could try harder”. Maggie (my wife) gave me the support to have our own centre rather than working for others so we could control 100% rather than having elements being managed by others which was frustrating. Personally I would say family, my degree, realising that with the right people and support you can do anything. Being happy at work and especially at home is very important to the work-life balance.
6. What’s the most helpful advice you have ever been given, both personally and professionally?
My dad used to tell me that you are always better being an hour early than a minute late which is why I am usually parked outside on my own!! Always tell the truth and be as professional as you can even if those you are dealing with are not. I also saw something in the reception of one of your Members which said “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the lowest price is forgotten” which I suppose is the same as cheapest is not always best which I find to be true in everything we do as a business and personally.
7. Tell us a little about any charity work you may be involved in.
We sponsor a local ladies football team every season, Farsley Ladies, as well as The Open University, RNLI, Cancer Research and in the past have done similar with Action Aid for individual children. We have also made individual donations as we see fit.
8. What has your experience been of working with the NAS and their Members?
Generally speaking things have worked very smoothly with no issues, any issues we have had are the same as what we have with other clients, such as when candidates get moved and they don’t tell either the assessor or ourselves and we turn up and no one is at the site, or they have forgotten to book someone in, which is an issue if it is a secure location regarding passes etc. Some candidates have ducked the assessors attempts to contact or observe them, probably because the company has not explained the process to the employee properly. On the positive side myself and our assessors have seen some locations that we would never have had the chance to see without being Members of the NAS. We have also formed some very good friendships with people that have continued outside work and after NVQ’s have been completed.
9. If you could invite five celebrity guests to dinner (dead or alive), who would they be?
Rudy Giuliani, Bruce Springsteen, Reginald D Hunter, Winston Churchill and Sitting Bull.
10. What’s the best way for NAS Members to contact you & make booking?
Maggie is the Centre Manager and the main office based point of contact although I can be contacted at any point also. There is a contact method through our website here.