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GAI Education Awards show an industry facing a confident future

The door and window hardware industry’s rising stars were celebrated at the 40th annual Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ (GAI) Education Awards.

Held at the Royal Lancaster hotel, London, on November 7 2019, the awards celebrated the architectural ironmongery professionals who have achieved their GAI Diploma and recognised the highest achieving students. The awards were sponsored by ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK and Ireland.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded to the highest achieving students at the GAI Diploma level and there were also prize awards for the top three students from the Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH) level. This year, the Diplomas and awards were given to students by former Top Gear Stig, Ben Collins.

Dave Timson, technical sales director at Eurobond Doors, presented this year’s Pinnacle Award to Bala Vignesh, specification consultant at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East.

Bala Vignesh said:

“I had been working in the door and ironmongery industry for eight years and wanted to get to grips with all the essentials of architectural ironmongery. At the moment there are technical and regulatory changes everywhere. Locks are changing from mechanical to electrical, 2D drawings are becoming 3D models, and the way that we specify is also evolving. It is important that we stay up to date, and the GAI Diploma programme has prepared me for this.”

Julian Newman, president of the GAI, said:

“The scrutiny of the skills, qualifications and competence of everyone in the building industry has never been higher, and each part of the supply chain needs to prove its worth. The GAI Diploma makes this possible in our sector. It is the only recognised programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards.”


The full list of Education Awards winners in 2019 is:

The Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Eurobond Doors:

  • Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East

GAI Diploma:

  • Gold – Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East
  • Silver – Craig Birch, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions
  • Bronze – Bernadeth Prometidos, Consort Middle East LLC

CiAH Prize Winners: 

  • First place – Andrew Marshall, ASSA ABLOY New Zealand
  • Second place – Ian Tisdale, Carlisle Brass
  • Third place – Michael Hunt, More Handles