'Provisional' and 'apprentice' cards to stem concerns over Green card shake up
CSCS is allaying industry concerns that the shake up to its Green card scheme would adversely impact on new entrants and other key groups with plans for a new CSCS provisional card and apprentice card.
The scheme’s changes begin on 1 July and will affect more than 700,000 CSO Green card holders as their cards come up for renewal over the next five years. From this time the Green card will be known as a Labourer’s card and will be linked to a Level 1 vocational standard that will involve applicants doing 40 hours training as well as the CITB health and safety test.
Read CSCS chief executive Graham Wren:
However, the more stringent requirements, aimed at fully qualifying the construction workforce, sparked concern that it could become difficult for new entrants to work on site because of the potential extra costs involved in training.
Plans due to be unveiled next week are intended to get around these potential problems and respond to concerns of the industry, said Helen Atkinson, director of strategy and communications at CSCS. They are:
- A new Red apprentice card, which will provide recognition for apprentices on site. To qualify for a card the apprentice will need to be registered on a formally recognised apprenticeship framework. Apprentices do not need to take the CITB health and safety site test, as this is the first module in an apprenticeship. The card lasts for four years which allows for breaks if training is not continuous.
- A new Red provisional card, which has a six-month life and is intended for those who are 16 plus on a probationary period or carrying out work experience. They must be under supervision. Applicants will still need to take the health and safety test.
"I think the introduction of a card for apprentices is an excellent idea. My only concern is who will police all these different cards?"
Joe Brennan, Denbre Training
Two other groups will also be able to apply for the Red provisional card. These are people who are working as a labourer but do not hold a current CSCS card. They could be working for small building companies where it’s not been mandatory, for example. They will be able to apply for the provisional card just once and won’t be able to renew it.
The other group that will be able to hold a Red provisional card is those whose CSO cards have expired, who need more time to get their qualifications. They will have up to six months to do this.
Christine Townley, executive director of the Construction Youth Trust, whose trainees would have been adversely impacted by the Green card changes, said: “The provisional card is looking more sensible for young people, it provides a better stepping stone. It means we still have to look for funding to enable people to get training for the Green card, but the provisional card provides a stepping stone.”
Trainer Joe Brennan, of Denbre Training, agreed: “I think the introduction of a card for apprentices is an excellent idea. My only concern is who will police all these different cards?”
CSCS’s Atkinson said there were now 13 different card schemes. But eventually as smart card technology becomes more widely used in the industry, CSCS would like to simplify the system and issue just one card. All the details of people’s training and qualifications would then be held in a database, which site supervisors and managers would be able to access by scanning the card using mobile phone apps.
At the moment, although all cards issued have smart technology embedded it is not used widely enough to go down that route.