Claims the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and the Scaffolding Association are working to create a new card scheme are unfounded according to senior industry sources.
There have been reports the proposed ECITB breakaway scheme is a direct result of the CISRS project introduced back in July. This is a compulsory two day continuing professional development course (CPD), all scaffolders need to undertake in order to have their card renewed. Unite has been successful in ensuring workers covered by the National Agreement for Engineering Construction Industry and on other individual sites, will be fully paid while taking the two day course. Costs, travel and accommodation will be met by employers.
Unite claims it was informed by the ECITB it was in the process of developing a new scaffolding card scheme. That the ECITB’s decision emerged as a result of pressure from several offshore fabric maintenance companies, supported by the Scaffolding Association and the Offshore Construction Association.
“The proposal to introduce a rogue scaffolding scheme is bad news for workers, “ says Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay.
“It will affect standards and create confusion on sites. With workers regularly moving between sites it is also likely to hit them in their pockets as they will be forced to purchase two different cards, to ensure they are able to accept job offers. In recent years there has been a great deal of effort in reducing the number of construction card schemes, in order to improve standards and to avoid confusion and it now appears the ECITB is prepared to chuck that good work out of the window to appease a few penny pinching employers.”
When pressed for a response, Chris Claydon, Chief Executive for the ECITB, told ScaffMag: “We have no plans to bring in a new scaffolding card scheme in the UK. The new programme, which would be entirely voluntary, would award scaffolders based overseas the International Competence in Engineering (ICE) card, in existence since 2013, and used widely overseas as a standardised indicator of competence.
The ECITB is committed to ensuring training supports the highest standards of safety across engineering construction sites. We are currently in discussion with the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) regarding compatibility between the CISRS card and the new programme.”
Having spoken to the Scaffolding Association ScaffMag can confirm there is no firm basis for such a rogue scheme. They told us: “The Association is not working with the ECITB about a new scaffolders card scheme and we have not had any contact with anybody at ECITB.”
Mr Claydon backed this response up by adding: “The ECITB is the UK’s leading authority on engineering construction training and we work closely with industry to ensure the workforce has the highest level of skills needed to compete globally. We say again – we are currently developing a training, development and assessment programme for scaffolders working overseas in response to interest from international engineering companies. Separately, offshore fabric maintenance companies in the UK have expressed an interest in a common scheme supporting the development and assessment of offshore scaffolders against a relevant standard.”
It would seem the union has been miss-informed, and we can re-iterate no compulsory rogue card scheme is being planned.