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Getting ready for a change to the way training is funded

Date: 28 March 2018

Dave Hall, Training Partnerships Director, talks about the CSCS card and the change to the way CITB funds training.

Dave Hall, Training Partnerships Director, explains about the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card and outlines some changes to the way the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) funds training.

What is a CSCS card?

The CSCS card is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry. The cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out. The cards have a tradesperson’s recognised training and qualifications outlined on the back. For example, I’m a joiner and drylining fixer by trade, so on the back of my card I have all of my competencies listed - essentially the skills I’m experienced in.

CSCS cards keep a record of the qualifications and training held by the card holder. The card also confirms if the holder has met the necessary Health and Safety requirements for their occupation. Generally, they need to be renewed every 5 years. CSCS has a range of temporary cards that are red in colour and indicate to employers that you are in the process of obtaining a nationally recognised construction related qualification.

Who needs a CSCS card?

Holding a CSCS card is not a legislative requirement, however most sites these days require one before they’ll let you start working on site. Workers are able to apply for a CSCS card once they have shown that they hold a certain level of skill and competency. This can be achieved through an on site assessment for experienced workers.

What are the benefits of the CSCS card?

The CSCS card helps keep workers in the UK’s construction industry safe, and therefore, sites running smoothly. It improves Health and Safety, as well as environmental awareness on site, because it ensures that everyone is working to a good standard. The cards help effectively communicate what everyone can do on site. If a tradesperson gets a new qualification they can add that to the card. It’s essential that tradespeople carry the correct CSCS card for their role on site in order to minimise any risks with regard to Health and Safety on site. 

What qualifications do people need to gain a CSCS card?

Generally, people have to undergo formal training towards a nationally recognised qualification that has been administered by a recognised organisation in order to get a CSCS card. The CITB Health, Safety and Environment test must be done within the two years prior to applying for the card.

CSCS recognises a wide range of qualifications for CSCS cards, including NVQs, apprenticeships, HNCs/HNDs, degrees and membership of certain competency-assessed professional bodies.

What are the changes to the way funding by the CITB is being administered?

The grant scheme system will change on April 1st 2018. The changes are vast and include the automation of grant payments for short duration courses. In the past when it came to grant backed training, individuals had to pay for the scheme first, and then claim the grant back once they had completed it. Unfortunately, in the past this process has been relatively difficult and is littered with people who have been unsuccessful in claiming money back. This new change makes things easier and means that once a course has been completed the training provider notifies the employer, which will automatically trigger the money back to the company.

The changes should lead to improved levels of training in the construction sector and as such are good news for the industry.

How will the changes affect how British Gypsum provides training?

The CITB will be putting more emphasis on providing short duration courses, which will mean that there’s a greater amount of training designed to fit employer needs. As a leading training provider this means we’ll be running more courses than ever. It has just been announced that our application to be an approved training organisation has been approved, so our courses will appear on a new database being designed by the CITB called the Construction Training Directory.

What affect will the changes have for the broader industry?

The changes will mean that the process is more streamlined than ever. If anyone is looking for a course they can go on the website and find dates for training.

As well as putting a greater emphasis on short duration courses, the CITB is planning to align the courses closer with overall industry objectives including improved Health and Safety. Employers will also now be able to put an apprentice through different training providers for the various aspects needed to complete their training.

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