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Revamped competence schemes crucial to industry ‘culture’

The industry must modernise the way it presents evidence of professional competence to satisfy increasingly demanding clients, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

Its members and the wider industry are under increasing pressure to streamline the processes used to give proof of competence in line with government targets and to create the new professional culture demanded by the Hackitt Review last year.

BESA has, therefore, made a number of significant improvements to its engineering Services SKILLcard programme, which is used by more than 60,000 people working in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration sectors to prove they have the skills needed to deliver quality engineering projects.

Engineering Services SKILLcard was the first of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) partner card schemes to go ‘smart’ easing the process of updating the holder’s qualifications and making it simpler and quicker for clients and site managers to check skills and prevent potential fraud.

The application process for new and renewal SKILLcards moved online last year and the website has now been further enhanced so that it can deliver new cards in under a week. There are plans for further improvements later this year when a ‘Fast Track’ service will be available for those who need their cards even faster.

Standards

All CSCS Partner schemes, including SKILLcard, are crucial to the government’s 2025 Construction Industry Strategy to improve technical standards, productivity and efficiency across the industry because they ensure workers have the right qualifications for the job in hand and have suitable health and safety training. This means all CSCS cards can only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications such as NVQs or approved equivalents.

This has led to SKILLcard developing and working through the closure of the construction related occupation (CRO) route with a view to all card applicants requiring to have undertaken a relevant qualification.

Rachel Davidson, director of certification at BESA, said: “Tightening up the requirements and speeding up the application process are essential to ensure we keep up with the pace of change across the industry and deliver the culture change required by the Hackitt Review and the government’s 2025 strategy.” 

“Clients will increasingly demand up-to-date proof of competence backed up by appropriate and specific qualifications. The new streamlined SKILLcard process is designed to deliver exactly that and to do it as quickly and seamlessly as possible.”

7 February 2020

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