Earlier this month NASC attended a European scaffolding summit that took place in Germany, representing the British scaffolding industry.
The UEG with the SBS organised a special panel-based discussion meeting and invited NASC to send representatives to Cologne, who flew out to take part.
NASC is one of the founding members of the UEG, which is a trade body that oversees national scaffolding organisations throughout Europe. While the SBS was founded as a support for the EU to give SMEs based and operating in the EU representation when it comes to the process of meeting standards in the European and international markets.
The summit was divided into two different panel discussions. While the first dealt with the review of CEN TC 53 standards, the second focused on utilising the Erasmus Plus programme to exchange trainees in the scaffolding industry.
There was also working group meeting help by the UEG to push ahead with the establishment of a standard in common risk assessment. The piece of documentation, which will be a supplement to the practical guideline for supply/provision and the operation of protective and working scaffolds (UEG 2016) and will be published by the organisation in the very near future.
According to the managing director of NASC, Robin James, the discussion summit highlighted even more so why the UEG is important as a forum for discussing matters relating to the European scaffolding industry. The event and past events like it, which was attended by European delegates from all over the continent, is supported financially by SBS.
James noted “A number of national scaffolding organisations across Europe are looking to join UEG. Associate membership is also strong, with supplier organisations from all over Europe looking to be part of a body which represents the European scaffolding industry.”
Introductory comments were made by Dagmara Chodzicka-Merken (EU Legal & Policy Officer), Christel Davidson (SBS Director), Martine Angele (UEG President) and was introduced by the UEG and SBS expert, Christoph-Ludwig Bugler. National organisations in countries such as Sweden, France, Norway and Germany all had representatives in attendance at this panel and there was a strong encouragement for those representatives to continue the discussions within their own national committees, as the CEN meetings and decisions they make are relevant and affect anyone working within the European scaffolding sector. From this discussion panel, it was clearer than ever that the UEG has a very crucial role in the facilitation of discussion and debate relating to CEN TC 53 standards.
During the second panel there were examples given of the opportunities scaffolding trainees had to participate in training exchanges in different countries throughout Europe. It highlighted the success of the informal agreements of trainee exchanges happening at the moment between Germany and Switzerland and Germany and Norway, in the hope that as this initiative benefits those trainees in the industry, that it would continue to expand. It was clear from the discussion that the UK is a location that is in high demand for this kind of exchange arrangement. The introduction for the discussion was made by the ZDH representative Dr Christian Sperle of ZDH (Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks) who spoke of his disappointment and the negative aspects of Brexit.
In attendance for this panel was British, Norwegian and German representatives, alongside the NASC Director of Training & CISRS Manager, David Mosley, who spoke positively and passionately about the training that takes place in the British scaffolding industry. He was assisted, of course, by a translator.
Birgid Becker (Deutschlandfunk) did a fine job of chairing the panel, with ease and respect.
After the conclusion of the event, all delegates in attendance from a variety of different European organisations enjoyed some local food and hospitality and participated in some fine networking.