Saturday, 25 May 2013

MLA develops a Modular Coaching/BLI Exam which proves to be a great success

The Training committee and the MLA Board members have been concerned for some time that there are a lot of very accomplished trading locksmiths who attend regional meetings, Expo, Wholesalers open days etc. yet are not Members of the MLA or BLI. Research has taught us that although many of them would like to join, that there seems to be a fear of the unknown and perhaps a little trepidation in the lack of confidence that they might fail the exam.
Beside these, there are many company employees and existing BLI student/advanced student members who for similar unfounded reasons are also frightened of taking the exam.
 Also, there has been a concern that some of those who have taken the BLI exam in the past and failed parts of it were more than capable of success, but were overcome on the day by nerves. Perhaps not surprising considering that for many of them this may have been their first visit to the MLA’s HQ.
With all this in mind it was decided that in line with other institutions, we would not only allow the exam to be taken in a modular fashion, thereby allowing people to take the elements they wanted, in the order they wanted and at the speed they felt comfortable with, but also introduced an alternative to the standard BLI exam, which over 2 days included refresher coaching prior to each module, in order to help settle the candidates down and to point out exactly what the invigilator was looking for in a successful pass.
The first of these modular coaching/BLI exams took place in December 2012 over two days with a total of seven candidates in attendance. They were a mixed bunch consisting of existing students, company employees and long trading self-employed locksmiths who wish to become Approved company members.
Prior to each module the candidates are settled down with a cup of tea for an informal chat and refresher instructions/demonstrations and a lecture appertaining to the module in question with some hands on practice if applicable. A full demonstration of the key making is given and good and bad examples of the lock opening and lock fitting are shown. 
After which each individual module is carried out under strict exam conditions. Two modules are completed each day, and lunch is provided. Candidates can (and indeed in this instance did) choose to only take certain elements rather than all 4 if they so wish.
We were delighted to note that all the December attendees passed with very high marks. All 7 passed the written paper with high marks, the lowest being 74% and one achieved 97 %. Of those doing the opening (6) all completed the task in under 25 minutes with one of them picking open a Chubb 3G 114 in less than 14 minutes.
Of the 3 fitting a Euro Mortice dead lock, all made a very neat professional job with only one of them loosing points for a slightly oversized cut out for the Euro cylinder but a good shape none the less.
 The 4 making keys to a Chubb 110 lock by hand were good with very acceptable pass marks, even though not quite perfect, except for one who’s finished key was an excellent piece of engineering IMHO, for which he achieved a 100% pass mark
To sum up, all the students felt that settling them down at the start and alleviating their nerves and knowing what we were looking for as a finished result were major factors in their success.
Below is a quote received from one of the candidates in an email after the event.

“Just wanted to say thanks again for all you did to make the two days such a success. I'm delighted to have 'made the grade' and feel the time and money I've invested over the year with the MLA has been really worthwhile; the training and support has been fantastic. I'll start working towards getting approved company status as soon as possible.
My only regret is that nerves got the better of me and I had to resort to the drill for the opening!”
So there you have it in a nut shell. If you have any doubts as to your ability to pass the exam, or concerns over what exactly is involved, then this might be the way forward for you. You can of course still sit the exam the old way if you wish but for just a few extra pounds this might be the way for you to go.
For details on how to take the exam in this fashion simply contact the MLA’s head office on 01327 262255 or e-mail

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