The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) has announced significant changes to its rules that will impact individuals seeking CISRS Operative Training Scheme (COTS) cards and related qualifications.

Effective from March 1, 2024, these changes aim to streamline the training process and ensure that operatives receive comprehensive industry training before taking on scaffold-related roles.

Under the new rules, delegates attending a CISRS Operative Training Scheme (COTS) course will only be eligible to apply for a CISRS Labourer card upon completion. This marks a shift from the previous system, which allowed operatives to apply for a Trainee Scaffolder card after completing the COTS course.

An initial 18-month CISRS Trainee Scaffolders card will only be issued upon completing a CISRS Part 1 course. This alteration ensures that all operatives holding the Trainee card have received industry-recognised training in essential scaffold tasks, including erecting and dismantling various scaffold structures such as towers and birdcages. They will also gain knowledge of industry guidelines and best practices, including SG4, SG6, TG20, Risk Assessment, Method Statements, and material selection.

This change grants operatives a full three years (two consecutive 18-month cards) to accumulate on-site experience, complete the Part 2 course, achieve S/NVQ2 certification, and pass a skills test. The previous system forced individuals to complete all necessary training and gain experience within the 18-month lifespan of their first Trainee card if they applied for it immediately after the COTS course.

One notable adjustment is the reduction of the required time for holding a Labourer card before attending the Part 1 course, which has been lowered from 6 months to 3 months. While some have expressed concerns that this could expedite the training and assessment process, CISRS emphasises that this is a minimum requirement designed to accommodate individuals with prior informal experience. The Labourer’s card has a validity period of 5 years, allowing ample time for candidates to progress through the initial stages of formal CISRS training.

Dave Mosley, Managing Director of CISRS, commented on these changes, saying, “Following these changes to the scheme rules, CISRS will monitor industry feedback from Training Providers, delegates, and employers to ensure that the Part 1 content remains relevant and achievable. We want people to take advantage of the full life cycle of both trainee cards and, as such, will also keep an eye on the timescales that most operatives are taking to complete the required training, experience, and assessment.”