Bid To Stop Misuse Of CSCS Cards
A SIGNIFICANT change has been made to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) following an industry consultant.
CSCS now recognises various construction-related academic qualifications in addition to vocational qualifications including degrees; HNC and HND; NEBOSH construction certificates and national diplomas; and CIOB certificates.
Applicants holding these academic qualifications who pass the managers’ and professionals’ health, safety and environment test will be issued with an Academically Qualified Person (AQP) card, which will be valid for five years and will be non-renewable.
Holders of the AQP card will be expected to work towards a relevant vocational qualification or membership of a recognised professional body, and then apply for the appropriate card when their AQP card expires.
In addition and significantly, from July this year, CSCS is to relaunch the green card as the labourer’s card following a pilot exercise.
Anyone applying for the new entry level green card will be required to achieve the level one vocational qualification, health and safety in a construction environment, and pass the health, safety and environment test, demonstrating their knowledge of the key issues affecting safe working practices on UK construction sites.
The labourer’s card will replace the existing Construction Site Operative card and green cards will no longer be issued to operatives working in other occupations.
The new qualification aims to make the system more robust and ensure workers are adequately trained for the jobs they do onsite.
The chief executive of the NSCC (National Specialist Contractors Council) Suzannah Nichol welcomed the changes: ‘The new AQP and Labourer’s cards will help the industry towards its target of a competent workforce with operatives holding the right cards for the jobs they are doing on site.
He pointed out that the green card has traditionally been used as an easy way of gaining access to site and the new requirements should prevent operatives from obtaining it when there is a more appropriate card.’
CSCS chief executive Graham Wren said the current green card ‘is not a measure of competence or a qualified workforce’.
He added that many of the 600,000 holders of green cards in the UK have the wrong card for the job they do.
‘We need to get back to the principle of 100% competent and qualified, not 100% carded.’
He added: ‘CSCS is the biggest card scheme and our hope is that the government and industry get behind our scheme.’
Mr Wren said those already working in the industry and renewing their green card may not need any additional training, or may only require some top-up training ahead of sitting the test.
Misuse of the current entry level green card diluted the effectiveness of the scheme and led to confusion over whether CSCS cards were purely a passport to gain access to site or a true measure of an individual’s competence to carry out their job.
The new green card will set a standard for all those working as a labourer. ‘Our aim is to set this standard at a level that proves a worker’s knowledge and understanding of basic health and safety issues without it being prohibitive in terms of time and cost.
All CSCS cards contain a microchip which enables CSCS data to be read using a mobile phone, tablet or computer to check that they are valid as well as used for a range of applications on site.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.