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CISRS Respond to new scaffolder training scheme announcement

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The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) has issued a statement after the news of a rival training scheme was announced last week.

The Scaffolding Association (SA) last week unveiled their plans to set up the Access Industry Training Scheme (AITS), which they say will increase training and skills delivery capacity for our industry.

Within the announcement, SA claimed research into the availability of training for new entrants in the access and scaffolding sector found that one-fifth of training centres were either unreachable or unable to offer training dates. Their research also found that only six courses out of 30 were scheduled to be run in London – an area that represents 40 percent of total construction demand.

ScaffMag approached CISRS in order to respond to this proposed new scaffolder training scheme and current training capacity.

In a statement, CISRS have said that they felt that some of the information that has been issued in the article does not reflect a clear picture of current industry recognised training. The research mentioned in the article has not been shared with CISRS, there is no information supplied regarding which centres failed to respond, which courses were requested, dates offered etc. It is therefore difficult for CISRS to make a definitive response.

Dave Mosley CISRS Scheme Manager said: “It is tricky to respond to these claims without them being corroborated, however, I feel they are misleading and unhelpful. I do not think that the majority of the sector or the wider industry wants to create another scaffolder training scheme as it will lead to duplication of training and confusion, a topic which was covered by ScaffMag last year.”

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“The proposed new training appears to cover a lot of areas which are already included within the CISRS scheme, with the initial focus at more of a supervisory level. Delivering this type of training will not increase recogonised training course availability for new entrants or scaffolders. We are currently working with existing and potential new providers to increase capacity.”

CISRS Inspection Training
Image Credit: CISRS

The statement from CISRS continues on to say, In regard to training capacity within the London region there are currently 3 CISRS ‘Core Scheme’ (Part 1, Part 2, Advanced Scaffolder) centres operating. NCC Waltham Forest, NCC South and Training for Construction, who also offer a wide range of other CISRS courses. This is supported by local providers such as Simian/Carshalton College and Construction Health and Safety Group who offer short duration training such as CISRS Operative Training Scheme (COTS) for new entrants and Scaffold Inspection Training Scheme (SITS).

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Safety and Access Ltd in partnership with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College are very close to opening a centre at their Barons Court campus, initially offering short duration training COTS and SITS but looking to offer a full suite of courses in the not too distant future.

The article does not give any consideration to the numbers of courses that are actually being delivered. Just taking a snapshot of the London region in the 2 weeks commencing 26th Feb – 10th March the following CISRS training courses will be taking place:

8no COTS
5no Apprentice groups (1no Induction, 2no Part 1B, 2no Pt2A)
2no Part 1
2no Part 2
1no Scaffolder Skills test
1no Advanced
1no Advanced Skills Test
4no CPD courses

Well over 250 operatives are currently receiving industry recognised training in the London and South East region alone.

As no relevant information has been forwarded in relation to course availability, CISRS cannot provide any specific response on this issue. CISRS is aware that due to demand some courses are not always available at short notice. However, the majority of the scheme is structured with minimum work experience time requirements imposed between courses, allowing employers and operatives to book courses in advance of the training actually taking place.

Training providers will provisionally set their annual training course programme in advance, however wherever possible they will respond to market demand and will often look to rearrange their schedule to accommodate specific training and ensure they maximise centre capacity.

CISRS currently has 32 centres across the UK with 19 of them being ‘Core scheme’ centres. CISRS capacity will increase within 2018 as discussions continue in relation to CISRS provision in West London, Carshalton, Anglesey, Swansea, Weston-superMare, Aberdeen and Hinkley Power Station.

The industry is well aware that CITB has announced that they will withdraw from direct training delivery in the next few years. CITB are currently in discussions with other providers who are looking to take over the running of these facilities, which will ensure training capacity will remain for the future.

Bircham Newton base in Norfolk.

CITB have made it clear that they will not withdraw from scaffolding training until alternative suitable provision is in place. This includes the South East region and also the Midlands and Scotland. Several interested parties are considering their options, however CITB has stressed that National Construction College will continue to deliver CISRS training in the interim period.

CISRS are working with providers to help establish course availability and will look to match supply with demand, however, it’s advisable wherever possible to proactively plan for future training requirements.