Overview of the Guild Fly Tying Awards Scheme

Below, you will find an outline of the Guild Fly Tying Awards Scheme, an internal programme which is replacing our former Accreditation scheme. We are aiming to formally launch the programme in September, for the start of the “tying season”.

In the meantime, members who are interested in taking part in the Awards scheme are invited to send their thoughts on the programme as outlined below to the Guild Awards Manager (awards@flydressersguild.org).

What is the Guild Awards Scheme?

The Guild Awards Scheme is an opportunity for members to test their fly tying abilities against a national standard at their own pace and ultimately receive a recognised award. The scheme is meant to be informative, enjoyable and to encourage co-operation and camaraderie amongst those taking part.

Participation is entirely voluntary. No branch or member is under any obligation to take part.

The Awards Scheme is replacing the Guild’s former Accreditation scheme, for the reasons explained below.

Background

Back in 2007, the Game Anglers Instructors Association (GAIA) was the only body issuing any qualification for fly tying – an instructor’s badge. The Guild’s Executive Committee thought there should also be a qualification for members who wanted to achieve a similar standard of skill through a structured learning programme but did not wish to become instructors, in the same way that students take an exam or degree course but don’t also have to become teachers to get a certificate or qualification.

A pilot scheme was developed by the Thames Valley Branch of the Guild, which awards badges at three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Thames Valley also designed and self-published a series of three booklets which show the techniques to be learned for each level and the flies that demonstrate them.

The Guild had approached the Open College Network (OCN) with a view to developing the Thames Valley course into a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), which would raise fly tying from a “hobby” to an acknowledged skill. Whilst the OCN were supportive of this and much work was done towards achieving this objective, at the Executive Committee meeting of 9th June 2012 it was decided that the practicalities, logistics and costs involved currently preclude us from following that route at this time.

Hence, we have changed the name of the scheme from “Accreditation” to “Guild Awards Scheme”. However, we intend to continue to work to the OCN framework as much as possible, so that – subject to the successful progress of the scheme – we can re-visit returning to the OCN at a later date and transition smoothly into an NVQ at that point.

How does it work?

For members of Guild Branches

All Branch secretaries have received an electronic copy of the three Thames Valley booklets and are also available from the Guild Awards Manager (Richard Ellis – awards@flydressersguild.org). These booklets are the property of the Thames Valley branch but Thames Valley have agreed to their use by the Guild for this process.

Branches can use these booklets to design and run their own series of lessons or classes. All Branch Secretaries have been contacted and asked to confirm whether their Branch wants to take part in this scheme and if so, to identify competent and qualified instructors and/ or assessors for each level and register them with the Guild Awards Manager. Branches should register all their instructors and assessors using the form available on the website. They should also ascertain if their instructors and assessors are willing to mentor and assess non-Branch members of the Guild.

Branch assessors can award Bronze and Silver level awards to members of their own branch, although where possible instructors should have their own students assessed by another assessor within the branch. Gold awards must be assessed by an assessor who is not a member of the candidate’s branch.

Students should keep a record of their progress, which should be available for the assessors to view at the time of completing any assessment (forms will be posted on the Guild website for this).

Candidates will be required to present their assessors with three examples of each of the patterns required for the level they are being assessed. One fly of each pattern will be retained by the candidate and one by the assessor.

For Bronze level awards, the third fly should be retained by the Branch, whilst in the case of Silver and Gold awards, the third fly and with a copy of the assessment should be sent to the Verification Panel. This is to ensure consistent standards are being achieved and to facilitate future verification, thus strengthening the objectivity and credibility of the process. Flies sent to the Verification Panel for Silver and Gold awards will be retained by the Guild and become the property of the Guild.

For Non-branch members

With c. 40% of the Guild’s members not being a member of a Branch, and some Branches choosing not to take part in the Awards Scheme, we must also put in place a system whereby non-Branch members can attain our awards.

If any member of the Guild who is not a member of a Branch (or is a member of a Branch that is not participating in the Guild Awards Scheme) wishes to take instruction for a particular award level, they should contact the Guild Awards Manager who will arrange for an appropriate instructor to contact them.

The instructor will mentor them through the process for that level. The student may be asked to submit flies from time to time for verification that the correct standards are being attained. The student should keep a written record of their progress.

Once the student feels ready for an assessment, they should contact the Guild Awards Manager who will arrange for an assessment by an appropriately qualified assessor.

Bronze awards may be granted by the candidate’s instructor. For Gold and Silver awards, a different assessor will be arranged.

Candidates will be required to present their assessors with three examples of each of the patterns required for the level they are being assessed. One fly of each pattern will be retained by the candidate and one by the assessor.

For Bronze level awards, the candidate will also retain the third fly, whilst in the case of Silver and Gold awards, the third fly and with a copy of the assessment will be sent to the Verification Panel. This is to ensure consistent standards are being achieved and to facilitate future verification, thus strengthening the objectivity and credibility of the process. Flies sent to the Verification Panel for Silver and Gold awards will be retained by the Guild and become the property of the Guild.

The syllabus

The syllabus that the Guild intends to use for the Guild Awards Scheme is currently under review, with the Bronze book completed by September 2012 and the remaining two by December 2012. In the meantime, students may continue to use the Thames Valley booklets, which has been circulated to all Branch Secretaries and/ or is available from the Guild Awards Manager.

When the new syllabus is completed it will be made available to branches and current students free of charge. New students will be able to purchase a copy at cost.

A number of our members have already attained their Bronze or Silver awards using the Thames Valley syllabus – many congratulations to all these members!

Instructors and Assessors

For the time being, instructors will be “grandfathered” in by Branches or by the Guild’s Executive Committee. Anyone wishing to become an instructor should contact their branch or the Guild Awards Manager.
Once an instructors’ training course has been developed, all new instructors will be asked to complete the course. The same applies to assessors.

Assessors’ notes may be downloaded here.

A list of instructors and assessors is available here or from the Guild Awards Manager.