CISRS speaks out about the new CPD course

The somewhat controversial mandatory CPD course came into force on Saturday July 1st, we caught up with CISRS Scheme Manager, Dave Mosley for a Q&A on the new CPD course.

Dave, today sees the 2 day CPD scaffolders refresher course become mandatory when renewing your Scaffolder & Advanced CISRS card. Can you remind our readers of what the CISRS CPD scaffolder refresher course is, and why do we have to have it ?

Dave Mosley, CISRS Scheme Manager
Dave Mosley, CISRS Scheme Manager

“The idea behind the introduction of Scaffolder CPD/Refresher training is to ensure that all cardholders no matter what sector they work in or what size company they work for have received up to date information on industry best practice prior to renewing their CISRS status for a further 5 years.

The concept has been debated within the Access and Scaffolding Industry Training Organisation (ASITO) for well over a decade. The HSE began to exert more pressure on CISRS around 2014 and from that point CISRS agreed consider its introduction more seriously.

CISRS has been in existence for almost 50 years, there are some cardholders who will not have received any formal training for 20+ years. In order to maintain the reputation of the scheme within the wider industry we felt it was time to fall in line with other safety critical sectors and introduce a mandatory refresher element.  e.g. Gas Fitters are required to complete 30 hours of CPD annually.”

What’s it going to cost… and why is it not free ?

“CISRS do not set the prices of their courses, the market will determine these which means that they may vary from centre to centre. Also some centres have charitable status and as such do not charge VAT. A price range has been established of around £250 – £350.

It would be nice if it could be free, but delivering training does cost money facilities, instructors, materials, welfare etc. Other than one off type or promotional events I think there are very few if any formal training courses in any sector that are delivered for free.

That said CISRS has worked with a number of training providers who were involved with the development of the CPD course who have agreed to work with CISRS to deliver 6no. fully funded (free) courses, charging CISRS a nominal fee of around a third of what they could get if they sold the courses commercially.”

Click here to see the list of training providers and dates for fully funded courses. 

“If these prove to be successful which no doubt they will, we will consider working with other providers to offer similar promotional deals either later this year or next year.”

Will there be any funding available ?

“Yes, all UK Scaffolding Contractors who currently pay CITB levy will be able to apply for CITB short duration training daily attendance grant of £50 per day for employees completing CISRS CPD training.

For further information visit their website

“CITB are currently running a funding pilot with NASC members which if successful will allow the daily attendance grant figure to be raised to £100 per day for those undertaking CPD once the new CITB funding (2017/18) is made available.

National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has ringfenced a funding pot of £50K  to support membership who will be required to meet the CISRS CPD requirement for their Scaffolders and Advanced Scaffolders from 1st July 2017. This will enable them to make 400 payments of £125 to NASC member companies, who support their employees through this process and meet the costs of the CISRS CPD courses.”


What’s going to be included in the course ?

“We have tried to include as much as we possibly can that we think will be beneficial as we appreciate that the scaffolders will be losing 2 days’ work time. The course will look to cover the current versions of the most relevant industry guidance, e.g. TG20, SG4, SG6 etc but will also include Risk Assessment and method statements, PPE, trends in accidents, accident reporting, scaffolder responsibility and behaviour, communication, protection of the public.

There will also be theoretical and practical sessions included on Scaffold Inspection and Mobile Aluminium Tower Training for Scaffolders, which if completed successfully will then be shown as an endorsement on the rear of the card.

If an individual was looking to complete refresher training for Scaffold inspection and Mobile Tower training it would take a minimum of 4 days to complete, whilst we have managed to retain its validity and include within the 2 day programme.

A CISRS Health, Safety and Behavioural test will be included within the 2 day programme. A Question bank will be issued to delgates prior to attending the course so they get a chance to revise and will then hopefully be prepared and pass the test whilst attending the centre. This will then negate the need to complete the CITB Health and Safety and Environment test which will save another half day away from the work place.

All delegates will be issued with a CISRS 2 Day Scaffolder Refresher/CPD Training Notes folder which will include:

  • CISRS General Information booklet
  • CISRS Practical Scaffolding Module 1
  • CISRS Practical Scaffolding Module 2
  • CISRS Practical Scaffolding Module 3 For Advanced Scaffolder (to follow when Advanced Standardisation process is complete)

Plus guidance notes

  • SG4: You
  • TG20 User Guide
  • SG6 User Guide
  • SG15 Substance Abuse
  • SG19 Rescue Plans
  • SG30 Working From Vehicles
  • SG34 Protection of the public

The Question Bank booklet will have been issued prior to the delegates attending the course.

Ever since CISRS announced the plans for the introduction of CPD last year, CISRS received a huge amount of flack online with many scaffolders believing this course is just another revenue stream for training providers. What’s your response to this ?

“Well this is a bit of a loaded question what I would say is that the CPD agenda has never been driven by Training Providers, the reasons behind it’s development have been explained earlier. Training Providers had no influence, vote or say as to whether CPD would be introduced into the CISRS scheme.

CISRS is a not for profit organisation, we receive no money from training courses delivered and we have no interest nor gain any benefit from courses being delivered in our name that have no value.

In the providers defence, I would say that the costs of the CPD courses are comparable with short duration training for other trades. In relation to the core scheme (Pt1, Pt2 Advanced) courses, to set up a fully functioning training centre from scratch would cost around £400K. The courses range from approximately £700 – £900, coming out at  £70 – £90 per day per delegate. There are very few courses that have such a currency within their sector that you could get for that type of money.”

Many in the industry have said the 2 day course will result in a considerable cost to the employer or scaffolder in the form of lost wages for the training period and in the case of scaffolders who do not live close to a testing center, there will be additional costs for accommodation and travel costs. Would it of not been better if the CPD could of been delivered by some sort distance e-learning platform which would prove the scaffolders competence ?

“We did consider e learning/online testing etc for CPD and it is not something we would totally rule out for CISRS in the future however this also raises issues of its own, such as proving the correct individual is actually carrying out the training. In the development stages consideration was also given to In house training, on-site training etc but again both had issues which can be negated by using the approved providers to deliver standardised courses.

As mentioned earlier we have tried to make the CPD courses “the most gain for the least pain” wherever possible. By including the Inspection, Aluminium Tower and Health and Safety test, we are saving at least 2 ½ Days off site training if these elements were completed as standalone courses.

As the courses include the practical elements during both the inspection module but in particular the Mobile tower element the scaffolder would have to be physically present to complete the course.

We have centres in locations across the UK and although it is inevitable that some people will require accommodation a lot of those attending will be able to travel each day. CISRS is willing if there proves to be issues with capacity or distances travelled to possible consider allowing providers to use other suitable locations to deliver these courses as currently happens with other short duration training. We will monitor this situation and see how it goes.

We had previously debated CPD for years without really moving forward. We understand that “a one size fits all“ approach will not be as equally appealing to each individual. As with all CISRS courses the CPD training will be reviewed and revised overtime and the programme for next 5 year cycle beginning in 2022 could vary in content, duration and method of delivery however we did need to draw a line in the sand and put something in place which was relevant, deliverable and manageable from a scheme point of view and we feel that the CPD course fits the bill.”

With thanks to CISRS Scheme Manager, Dave Mosley for taking the time to answer our questions.