With the withdrawal of Industry Accreditation (IA) looming, SpecFinish spoke to Dan Plosky of FIS Training Provider Now Get Qualified to explain what this means to those affected.

The withdrawal of Industry Accreditation CSCS Cards (aka Grandfather Rights), has been highlighted time and time again on social media; but what exactly does this mean to those affected? In brief, if you were awarded a CSCS card under Industry Accreditation (as stated on the back of your card), you will need to undertake a relevant construction NVQ to retain the same colour card – this has, of course, had a complete mix of opinions from industry.

The reasoning behind the card withdrawal is to ensure all construction personnel are working to the same current standards, hence why some older qualifications may be deemed out of date, and do not lead to a CSCS Card: under CDM Regulations, and working its way down the project hierarchy, there is a need to prove that all those carrying out construction related tasks have the right level of competency – the CSCS and partner card schemes have a key role within this process. It’s true, competency isn’t and shouldn’t be measured on the basis of a coloured card, but it’s a monitored and benchmark standard – like SMSTS/SSSTS, etc.

Personally, I completely understand some of the frustration from the largely affected aging workforce, who are now required to obtain a qualification, often within the last few years of their working life; there’s a fair bit of negativity around NVQs, which is down to bad practice over many years. For this reason, it’s really important to know the processes and level of support offered by the qualification provider (there are good companies and poor companies, like in any sector). I advise anyone to speak to a reputable provider, or the Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) to see what options are available – there may be other means of obtaining a perfectly suitable CSCS Card, with or without the need to complete an NVQ.

As experienced operatives and construction professionals, the process to upgrade to the relevant NVQ shouldn’t take long – this is however often determined by the provider you choose. The favoured delivery process would be on-site assessment (OSAT). This is where a trade/occupationally competent assessor visits the candidate in their own workplace, to document skills, competencies and knowledge in relevant areas of the NVQ – assessment isn’t teaching – no one is trying to educate you on what you’ve been doing for many years.

The provider should allow RPL (Record of Prior Learning) as an assessment method. This is where we recognise previously achieved courses and qualifications, which can often reduce the content of the NVQ, often greatly.

To assist registered organisations, CITB has enhanced some Achievement Grants for completed NVQs, meaning the cost of upskilling is greatly subsidised. There is also the Skills and Training Fund that registered companies can benefit from, making the process more financially acceptable. However, there are many businesses and self-employed individuals who are affected by the card withdrawal, and are without financial support – in these situations, we advise a conversation be had with the supply chain, as you may be covered and able to benefit from an associate’s CITB registration: the grants cover PAYE and labour only sub-contractors (LOSC).