FGIA: Pivoting to online education
By Kaydeen Laird
FGIA’s education team has been working round the clock to deliver valuable professional development that our members have come to appreciate and expect.
By Kaydeen Laird
As we have slowly eased into the new year, there is more hope that most things will get back to normal in the coming months. But no matter what, 2020’s impact will remain in some ways – including the development and expansion of remote training. While some of our educational content was already remote-friendly, a lot of work went into pivoting those that were not to an online platform. FGIA’s education team has been working around the clock to deliver the valuable professional development that our members have come to appreciate and expect. Here is a rundown of what changed in 2020 as we all learned to adapt.
InstallationMasters: The pandemic made homeowners more interested in home improvement and the benefits of daylighting and fresh air, which can both be met with properly installed windows and doors. As a result, FGIA is now offering a virtual option to qualified, currently accredited InstallationMasters instructors so they can train installers to be ready when homeowners begin to seek fenestration-related improvements.This interim virtual training option is only available for a limited time, and the expiration for virtual classes will be communicated as the situation with the pandemic continues to develop.
IG Fabricators Workshop: Ever since its launch in 2016, this popular training event has hosted more than 300 industry professionals, leading them through the most important aspects of fabricating and testing IG units. Because it is such a hands-on, participatory event where individuals must be in close proximity to get the full experience, it was not feasible to host in 2020. However, FGIA is committed to bringing it back as an in-person training opportunity in 2021. In the meantime, an FGIA task group has explored extending the reach of this event by addressing the topics covered in the annual workshop through a new online video series, which is targeted to be available on an on-going basis later in 2021.
FenestrationMasters: The FGIA education team further demonstrated its industry commitment by launching FenestrationMasters 2.0 in its entirety last fall, which includes updated content reflecting current technical documents and standards, as well as code requirements in a redesigned, more interactive platform.
FGIA Webinars: The FGIA webinar program was already a great remote training opportunity. FGIA hosts a webinar each month, except for months featuring FGIA conferences. This program provides a convenient vehicle for communicating important FGIA and industry messages to members and non-members, covering issues including U.S. and Canadian codes and regulations, trade tariffs, product performance under hurricane conditions, market size analysis and sustainability.
In response to the pandemic, the organization issued a member feedback survey. Results were taken into account when planning webinar topics and speakers. This has continued in the planning for 2021’s slate of webinars as well.
Despite the challenges and with the support of our members, FGIA was able to adapt to a new way of life and doing business in 2020 by converting traditionally in-person trainings to an online format. The organization still values advanced education and doing its part to ensure a skilled labour force in the industry. We welcome your ideas as we move forward. Meanwhile, we hope to get to see folks in the industry in-person soon.