Locks in the City, take the MLA exams.

Locks in the City are now MLA approvedSo it’s been a fair while since I wrote a post. It’s been a hectic few months. As I was preparing for my BLI exams. These are exams that once passed you are recognised as being a Master Locksmith. So I proud to announce that I passed all the exams on the first go and scored quite highly in all 4 modules.

It’s a mixed bag between locksmiths regarding the MLA. Some for it, Others against it. Then there is those who don’t really know much about it. Here is a link to the MLA, if you are interested in reading about them. The MLA
So I sat my exams on the 4th and 5th of December at the MLA Head office in Daventry.

I personally chose to become a member, and sit the exams. Mainly because I was able to do what was required to pass the exams. As well as becoming part of a recognised association for trusted and vetted locksmiths. An association who doesn’t want your money to sit a couple exams and then give a certificate on a piece of paper that is worthless. Thought and time and knowledge has gone into every aspect. The MLA is constantly striving, to up the standards, and bring awareness against rouge locksmiths. There is ongoing training and development in all aspects. They can provide help for all different areas of locksmithing.

So when I first arrived at the head office, I was greeted with smiles and a happy office of staff. I was made to fill welcome and offered tea and biscuits etc. There was 5 of us there that day, so we all had an hour or so to mingle and familiarise are selves with each other. Not all of us was doing all 4 modules. 2 of the guys were there to one of the 4. The first exam was the written exam. It consisted of 50 questions ranging from product knowledge, safes, general locksmithing and some technical knowledge.

Afterwards we had a break and a chat which always tended to be about work. We had a buffet lunch and was briefed on the second exam. This was to be fitting a euro deadlock case and cylinder including security escutcheons. Also fitting the keep was essential as the door was tested to ensure a nice fit. This exam tests and shows hand/eye co-ordination. Your thought process, as in. Centralising the lock, fitting it square and neatly. It showed your accuracy of measurements. When making the euro profile hole. As there is a tool on the market that speeds up fitting mortice deadlocks and it centralises and cuts the mortice pocket to the right depth and thickness. People feel that the fitting by hand is pointless. I can see why they are saying. Though at the same time I can see what the MLA are saying. If you possess the skills to do it by hand you then understand whats required to do the job. Those skills can then be utilised in other areas. Such as fresh fitting a nightlatch and rim cylinder.

After this exam we were able to go off to the hotel. Although we only did two exams it was mentally tiring. The following day we knew we had the Making a key by hand to a Chubb/Union 3G110 detainer lock and then the opening of a BS3621 Mortice deadlock. So After a spot of dinner and the odd couple of beverages at the bar it was time to settle in for a bit of practice in these areas.

The Friday morning came and although not nervous and anxious it dos cross your mind that you want the day to go to plan and pass these two exams. These are the two that are probably more feared by people. Once back at the head office and settling in with a tea. It was time to go over the next modules with the tutor/examiner. The next exam was the making of the key by hand. We was given tips and shown how to do it and what to look for whilst doing it with the examiner. I was quiet happy with this exam as I had done quiet a bit of practice. As I had a job a few days before where I had to make keys by hand. By the end of this I was happy with my key. It opened the lock from both sides, It was symmetrical and the spacings all seemed even. The key had radiuses and I had time to give it a clean up and polish.

We had a lunch break and prepared mentally for the next exam which was the dead lock opening. Thankfully I carry many of the decoders for pretty much all the most common locks. I also had my trusty curtain pick as a secondary measure and finally I had the drill as a FINAL OPTION. I hate drilling locks, it’s not that I think it’s wrong necessarily as we all need to drill them at times. Its more because I know I possess the skills and knowledge to open these without having to drill. Its such a satisfying feeling when that lock opens and it remains working and in tact. I ended up with an Asec deadlock, I opened the lock and a instant smile across my face appeared. I had a strong feeling that I had done well in all the other aspects but this is the one exam you know if you have failed or passed as the lock is either open or not in the allotted time, so long as you have fulfilled the criteria. The other exams are inspected and marked. So You leave that day not knowing.

Around a week later I received a letter from the MLA congratulating me, and my certificate was included. Not your typical cheap printed off your computer type either. I have since applied to become a company member and recently had my inspection carried out which all went without a hitch.

Within next couple week I should have everything through.

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