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SKILLcard gets connected with app launch

Engineering Services SKILLcard has launched a digital version of its traditional plastic cards allowing users to access all their technical and health & safety qualifications via a mobile phone app.

SKILLcard, which is managed by the Building Engineering Services Association, has been operating for 22 years and provides over 50,000 building services engineers with evidence of the qualifications they need to access sites.

The new digital system gives users a single continually updated point of access to all their cards and the qualifications they hold in one easy to access place. It also enables site access via a QR code that can be scanned directly from the card holder’s phone using the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) ‘Smart Check App’.

Providing a digital option will also allow SKILLcard to dramatically reduce the time between applying and being able to use the card, with access made available immediately after approval. It hopes this will encourage more applicants and ensure wider and more effective use of the cards.

“We are moving with the times and providing a more seamless service that should make everyone’s lives easier,” said BESA’s head of operations Chris Major. “SKILLcards play a crucial role in ensuring operatives have the right qualifications for the job they are being employed to do on site. So, having such an easy to access mechanism for checking qualifications and training allows site managers to instantly verify a worker’s credentials.”

Intensifying
The Building Safety Act is intensifying the scrutiny of competence and compliance across the sector as the government seeks to clamp down on sub-standard and unsafe working practices. The new digital SKILLcard is a direct response to this development and moves the industry closer to the ideal scenario where the skills of the entire workforce are instantly available, transparent, and constantly updated.

Reducing the amount of plastic in use is another major benefit of the gradual switch from physical cards. BESA said it was also investigating ways of reclaiming and recycling the plastic SKILLcards once they are no longer required.

“Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in landfill unless it is captured and recycled,” said Major. “As the trade body for an industry that is at the forefront of efforts to develop a more sustainable built environment, we see this as an important way of demonstrating that we practice what we preach.”

SKILLcard also plays a key role in the government’s 2025 Construction Industry Strategy by helping clients check whether workers have the right qualifications for the job in hand as well as suitable health and safety training.

As well as trade operatives, it provides cards for those with supervisory and managerial responsibilities in the building engineering services industry and is also widely used by self-employed and agency workers and those seeking employment in the sector.

BESA recently collaborated with the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), the Institute of LEV Engineers (ILEVE) and the Commissioning Specialists Association (CSA) to produce a series of new cards that can help other specialist sectors meet more stringent skills requirements.

 

3 July 2024

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