Education 514 views Aug 29, 2018
Training solution to construction skills shortage

Significant’ concerns that Britain’s labour force was under-skilled compared with other nations was a major driving force for learning and development programmes in the 19th century – how times haven’t changed, writes Jayne Fergusson, Operations Director at NCTS,.

A definitive solution to the current skills shortage within the UK construction industry has yet to be found, increasing the need for training courses which offer candidates of all ability to gain a recognised qualification. A vocational NVQ Level 2 certificate and a Construction Skilled Certification Scheme (CSCS) Blue Skilled Worker card are vital accessories for those looking for a long and fulfilling career in the building trade. A CSCS card is increasingly required to gain access to construction sites as proof that individuals possess, or are in the process of, working towards a recognised qualification in the work they carry out. Signing-up to a Basic Competency Programme (BCP) or OSAT can be the first step towards achieving this.

Qualification routes

Basic Competency Program (BCP)

Aimed at those who have neither a full competency or an official Lead, Stainless-Steel and Aluminium roofing qualification, BCP provides candidates with an opportunity to become qualified and convert their Green ‘labourer’ CSCS card to a Blue ‘skilled worker’ CSCS card, via a Red Experienced Worker card. The Lead Contractors Association (LCA), in conjunction with the Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC), are providing BCP training for Lead, Stainless-Steel and Aluminium roofing. Those who complete the programme will not only have covered sections of the Level 2 qualification, they will be in receipt of a certificate of competency in the knowledge and understanding of product systems, health, safety and welfare at a recognised level in the industry. The relevant roofing industry trade body will profile roofing operatives and advise the best route for further training or assessment to ultimately achieve an NVQ Level 2 and means to a Blue Skilled Worker CSCS card.


Certificated BCP operatives are able to apply for a three-year Red Experienced Worker CSCS card which will put them on the path to becoming competent and qualified.  The Red Experienced CSCS cannot be renewed and the qualification must be achieved within a three-year period.

The BCP courses are being run in various locations in the UK to save time and travel with many available dates so that employers can be flexible with staff attendance.

Ultimately, the BCP, which is endorsed by CITB, NFRC, Competent Roofer, Roofing Industry Alliance and CSCS, offers operatives a kick-start towards official recognition for the everyday work they carry out, instilling confidence in themselves and others that they possess the knowledge and skills to complete projects safely and to the highest quality.

On-Site Assessment Training

Alternatively, a Level 2 NVQ and Skilled Worker CSCS card can be obtained via On-site Assessment Programme (OSAT) - for roofing contractors with many years’ experience, but not in possession of a recognised industry qualification. The programme involves assessments of candidates’ on-site performance; their skills and abidance to practices such as health, height, safety and environment. Trainees and employers will be provided with a detailed report on their performance whilst outlining areas of improvement where necessary. 

As the innovative programme is part-funded by the CITB, members are eligible for a grant towards OSAT fees. Following successful completion of a health, height, safety and environment test, they can register for a Level 2 NVQ which can be completed within three-to-nine months.  On completion a Blue Skilled Work CSCS card can be applied for.

If, according to the well-known phrase, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, BCPs and OSATs are the innovative response to the country’s desperate need for a qualified and talented workforce to help solve the current property crisis.