CSCS cards shake-up: full details of new Green and ‘academic’ cards
The CSCS card scheme has revealed details of a new shake-up that seeks to set a higher competence standard for holders of the operative's Green card by linking it to a new Level 1 qualification [corrected] from July next year.
In addition, there is a move to recognise a wider range of qualifications beyond NVQs with the introduction of a new Academically Qualified Person's card, for holders of HNCs, HNDs and degrees.
The new AQP card is available from later this week and will be valid for five years. It is non-renewable, so that any holder will then be required to pass an NVQ in order to acquire a permanent occupation-based card.
Alternatively, anyone holding a CIOB Site Management Qualification will be able to apply for a Black or Manager's CSCS card.
The Green card will in future be known as a Labourer's card and will be linked to a forthcoming Level 1 test in Health and Safety for Construction Labourers. In addition, applicants for both cards will have to sit the CITB online HS&E test.
More detail and reaction to CSCS change
Graham Wren, chairman of CSCS, told CM: “The new AQP card is driven by a lot of comments for the industry saying that CSCS is based on NVQs, but we have a lot of professionals, graduates and HNDs and holders of NEBOSH and CIOB certificates and the level they come in at is at least as high as the Vocational Qualifications they're being asked to do. So introducing the AQP card recognises academic qualifications, but it's non-renewable. During the five years, we expect them to work towards a higher vocational award or a Professionally Qualified Person's card.
Wren said that the card was aimed at new graduates, college leavers and entrants to the industry who currently don't have a card aimed at them and were instead “told to get a vocational qualification”. “We know there are people who are newly qualified getting on site with a visitor's card,” he commented. “It should reduce the number of visitor cards issued.”
Full details of all the courses and qualifications that will entitle an individual to apply for an AQP will be available on the CSCS website later this week.
On the new Green card regime, which will kick in for any cards renewed from July 2014 onwards, CSCS believes that the new qualifications hurdle will reduce the current total of 600 000 Green cards in circulation, but will also up-skill a large group that works part-time in the industry.
“The reality is that people who dip in and out of the industry are a risk to themselves and those around them,” says Wren.
Wren: “affordable level”
He added: “We want to make sure that other people don't view the Green card as an easy route to get on site – we know there are some supervisors and even managers who hold Green cards – and we hope they might be deterred from holding it.
“Many card holders are holding the wrong card for the job, so when it comes to renewal, we hope they will get the right card for their occupation.”
But the Green card shake-up comes as many contractors are starting to fear that the current upturn in the industry's fortunes could bring labour shortages. Asked whether the training and assessment involved would create an additional constraint on the availability of labour, Wren said: “I can foresee that being a concern, but the industry thinks the Green card is unacceptable in its current form. We've tried to set the bar at a level that's affordable, we are still in tough times. The assessment shouldn't be time-consuming for the individual, and it can be delivered in a number of ways.”
CSCS hopes to pilot the new Level 1 qualification later this year and the beginning of 2014, allowing the new regime to be implemented from July 1 2014.
CSCS cards are quasi-mandatory in the industry, and are required by anyone working on sites managed by contractors in the UKCG, NSCC and Civil Engineering Contractors Association.