Shake-up of plant training system divides industry

Grant Prior 5 months ago

Some contractors and training specialists have been left baffled by plans to shake-up courses for plant operators.

Sweeping changes by the Construction Industry Training Board will make it more complicated for experienced operators to achieve a plant NVQ qualification.

The Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) means of achieving a Level 2 NVQ will be discontinued by the end of this year.

Stuart Anderson of training provider Construction Skills People said: “Construction employers like the delivery model as it allows a plant operator to achieve their Level 2 NVQ on site, using their own plant, with the assessment part of the qualification taking less than a day.

“In the last 12 months over 1,400 experienced plant operatives have achieved their plant NVQ through the EWPA delivery model with us.

“Our clients like the delivery method that see us take into account the knowledge and experience of the operator and the cost effectiveness of the delivery model.”

Stephen McCarthy SHEQ manager for Duffy Group added: “Without doubt the easiest and cheapest way for our operators to achieve their Plant NVQs is via the EWPA assessment route.

“It’s very disappointing that this way of getting a plant NVQ is being taken away from us.

“We are now accelerating our plans to qualify the rest of our plant operators before the December 31st deadline.”

Another contractor said: “Yet again this has been decided after talking to trade bodies rather than talking to real contractors actually doing the work on the ground.”

Steve Hearty, Director of Apprenticeships at CITB, said: “This change was called for by the Construction Plant Association in order to make assessments to gain a Vocational Qualification more robust.

“It means that a VQ can no longer be gained through a one-off test but must, from the start of next year, include evidence of working on site.

“However, the new-style assessments will still allow significantly quicker completions for experienced people compared to those new to the industry.”

A CPA statement said: “This article on plant training and assessment suggests that certain training providers and employers are unhappy with the changes CITB have made to NVQ and SVQ delivery.

“It was in fact employers who’ve had concerns about the EWPA process and to properly understand the recent changes requires knowledge of the origins of the EWPA.

“The method was devised around 2004 as a temporary means of getting a backlog of experienced workers through an NVQ/SVQ to meet the then Major Contractor Group’s requirements for a competent workforce.

“The main ingredient for EWPA from 2004 was that applicants had to have a minimum of 5 years construction experience and a minimum of 2 years on the machine.

“However, those criteria were subsequently removed by CITB, with only an unspecified requirement for “sufficient” experience.

“This meant that some providers exploited the loophole with those having months, not years, of experience being accepted for EWPA – undermining the whole principle of competence.

“Despite clearing the backlog of experienced workers, CITB’s awarding body continued allowing their centres to offer the EWPA process. This led to industry’s increasing concern on the part of employers and contractors that some candidates may have obtained their VQ without properly demonstrating competence.

“Although plant VQs are available from a number of awarding organisations, CITB’s has been the only one that offers EWPA and according to their data, only a handful of providers predominately use the EWPA route with many other providers confirming that they’ve never used or will offer this method of delivery.

“In 2016 The CPCS Management Committee approached CITB requesting a resolution to prevent the abuse and as a result a Plant Qualifications Assessment Strategy Forum was formed consisting of employers representing construction (CECA and Build UK), Piling (FPS), Demolition (NFDC), Homebuilders (HBF) and Plant hirers (CPA and SPOA), with the CPA administering the group on behalf of the sector.

“The employer-led Forum worked with CITB to produce a specific assessment strategy for plant qualifications in a bid to close the loopholes and ensure competence.

“Although the main form of evidence for plant operations is traditionally the assessor watching the candidate doing the job in the workplace, the new plant assessment strategy allows a practical-test option when the assessor cannot undertake site assessment – but with the stipulation that they must have video evidence of the candidate operating the machine.

“This new assessment strategy is available to training providers and others, free of charge from the CITB website.

“What the Forum has reinserted is a minimum experience level for all candidates on plant VQs and steps to safeguard the reliability of witness testimonies.

“The only real change is the removal of the title EWPA.

“Tim Brownbridge, Academy Manager for BAM Nuttall and CECA representative on the Forum said: ‘Our only aim was to prevent the abuse by certain providers from exploiting a method designed for very experienced operators and advertising it as a ‘one-day’ NVQ’.

“This undermines the whole principle of VQs since their inception in the mid-nineties which was evidence from the workplace of occupational competence.

“Putting inexperienced operators though an EWPA potentially puts the lives of the operator and those around their machine at risk'”.

Latest plant news

AGD to supply another rig to piling specialist Ivor King

Latest deal sees RTG machine added to fleet
2 days ago
AGD Equipment Ltd

Vp buys Brandon Hire for £41.6m

Major deal in the tool and equipment rental sector
1 month ago

CITB buys plant simulators to fill operator skills gap

Sixteen plant simulators will help to train next generation of operators
4 months ago

Shake-up of plant training system divides industry

Changes by CITB come under fire from contractors and training specialists
5 months ago

Plant operators get in-cab entertainment

Latest Hyundai loader boasts car-style "infotainment" system
6 months ago

JCB launches Hi-Viz dumper

Machinery giant launches new model in a bid to prevent site accidents
6 months ago

VP bullish about construction prospects after record results

Equipment rental specialist enjoys growth across all sectors
6 months ago

Countdown to largest UK plant show

More than 15,000 people set to visit Leicestershire Plantworx show in early-June
7 months ago

Worker killed by reversing telescopic handler

Tragedy on disorganised site with no segregation between vehicles and workers
7 months ago

Speedy bounces back into the black

Turnaround plan lifts plant hirer into £14m profit after £58m loss in 2016
7 months ago

Contractors keen on new site huts from Mobile Mini

Site accommodation specialist invests £1m in new fleet of Groundhog units
7 months ago

Vp swoops on specialist M&E hirer

Jackson Mechanical Services M&E tool hire arm sold for £3.6m
8 months ago

HSS racks-up £17.4m loss as closures continue

Equipment hire specialist optimistic as branch and distribution network streamlined
8 months ago

Banner Plant expands into Leicestershire

Banner Plant swoops on independent rival Premier to strengthen East Midlands offer
9 months ago

Fairfax buys 80 Hitachi 8t diggers

Selby hirer places biggest order in company's history
9 months ago

Company fined £700,000 for MEWP death fall

Washing machine giant fined after 66-year-old contractor dies during factory repair work
9 months ago

A-Plant snaps up Kier’s hoist business

Kier sheds last of plant and equipment interests
9 months ago

Mick George on the hunt for franchised drivers

Contractor looking for drivers to take on franchises at construction haulage arm
11 months ago

Loxam ups bid for Lavendon to £459m

Belgian and French giants slug it out for control of Leicester-based powered access specialist
11 months ago

Plant hirer Hewden crashed owing £240m

Unsecured creditors told there is little prospect of being paid
11 months ago

Plant hire boss jailed after platform collapse kills worker

Court hears how mobile platform boom should have been replaced rather than repaired
11 months ago

127 Hewden cranes on the block

Administrator calls in auctioneers after failure to find a buyer
11 months ago

JCB workforce agrees 2.2% pay rise for 2017

3,200 strong workforce accepts three-year pay deal
12 months ago

Bidding war hots up for control of Lavendon

European giants battle it out for control of UK powered access specialist
12 months ago

Ashbrook Plant Hire saves Hewden workers jobs

Rival hirers make move on collapsed Hewden's depots
12 months ago

Terex sells Coventry dumper factory

French maker Mecalac swoops on backhoe, dumper and roller plant
1 year ago

Ladder fall costs Volvo £900,000

Worker at plant division left in coma
1 year ago

Rental specialist Vp bullish about construction prospects

Equipment hirer posts strong results and predicts even better next time
1 year ago

Rival bidder enters fray for Lavendon

Lomax reveals possible cash offer to trump TVH bid for Lavendon
1 year ago

Laing O’Rourke sells mobile crane fleet

Ainscough to buy Select Plant mobile cranes
1 year ago

Contractor services