Wren: “expanding recognition”
Graham Wren, recently appointed chief executive of Construction Skills Certification Scheme, said: “We’re expanding the qualifications we recognise. At the moment, we don’t recognise degrees or HNDs, even though they’re technically at the same level as NVQ.
“But candidates will still need to demonstrate they can operate on a construction site environment, so they will still need to do something extra [beyond their existing qualifications].”
Wren said that the CSCS was responding to feedback from the Construction Industry Council that a cohort of well-qualified professionals was being excluded from the CSCS system.
Members of the CIOB and other chartered institutes can automatically gain a CSCS Card as a Professionally Qualified Person. But anyone else who wanted a card as a Manager or a PQP had to have an appropriate high-level NVQ qualification.
NVQs can be costly, require extensive workplace assessment and are difficult to obtain if the candidate is between jobs. But the rule applied even when an individual held a degree, or had many years’ experience.
The rule also impacted individuals who studied for the Level 4 CIOB Diploma in Site Management, but then found they were no closer to obtaining a Manager’s CSCS card. Wren also confirmed that CIOB qualifications could potentially qualify holders to obtain CSCS cards in the future.
There are currently 1.7 million CSCS cards in circulation, with 1.1 million awarded by CSCS itself, and the rest by affiliate organisations such as the Electrical Contractors’ Association and the National Association of Scaffolding Contractors.
Wren, a former managing director of Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, was appointed in April. The scheme also has a new chairman, former MP Mick Clapham. His predecessor Trevor Walker resigned last year following a vote of no confidence from the scheme’s board, made up of representatives from various industry bodies.
Wren also described plans to raise the threshold for acquiring an entry-level Green card, which is currently based on a computer-based test in health and safety set by ConstrcutionSkills.
“Health and safety shouldn’t be the only element in getting the card, we want to put some additional assessment or training in place before they get the card. They would get a training card at first then have to commit to completing some training modules within two years,” Wren suggested.
The CSCS will be consulting on both moves before announcing further details.