CADUKs Guide to the Benefits of NVQs in Construction

Well, what do you know about NVQs?

Contrary to popular belief its not who you know these days but what you know and what you can do that makes a difference in the world of work in Construction.

Who says so?

Employers throughout the UK and abroad are using evidence of practical, work-related skills, knowledge and experience as the measurement of how valuable their people are now and for the future. CDM Regulation 2015 which are the the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects have provided guidance for Principle Contractors where they are advised to appoint contractors and workers and provide the managers and supervisors who have the right blend of skills, knowledge, training and experience. You can improve your chances of getting a better job and building a better career simply by being recognised for what you already know by committing yourself to undertake a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The following is an introduction by CADUK to NVQs in Construction. What they are; who they are for, how you get them, what employers think of them and how you find out more.

How do you show what you know and can do?

The best way to improve your career prospects is to show that your skills meet the standards agreed by Construction Employers across the UK.  NVQs are designed to help you do just that.

NVQs are National because the represent the standards accepted through the UK. They are Vocational because they are about the work you do. They are respected, high quality qualifications that are Internationally recognised that give you a certificate to prove that you have reached the required standard to carry out your job in the Construction Industry.

Does an NVQ involve sitting exams?   

No. NVQs aren’t about how good you are at exams, they are about how good you are at work. NVQs never involve written tests, they don’t involve trick questions – they are designed to let your skills, knowledge and experience shine through in practical ways. All NVQs in Construction (and there are over 300 NVQs in Construction) are developed by the CITB through consultation with National Working Groups and Practitioner Groups from across the four home nations, so they are developed by people who know the Construction Industry. They relate to the real world and many certificate holders and their employers will tell you that this is their main advantage. NVQs are not about going back to school. They are about going where you want to go in your career.

Where can NVQs in Construction take you?

With a little effort on your part, The relevant NVQ can take your career wherever you want it to go. Whatever your job in Construction at whatever level there is an NVQ for you. As your career develops further NVQs at higher levels will become accessible. The NVQ framework in construction is designed to help you make progress in your career. Having an NVQ  gives you a better chance of changing jobs or having access to work abroad. You could even have a career break without having to start from scratch every time. When you move on from a job you take your recognised skills and experience with you: by giving you formal recognition, NVQs help keep your career on the move.

Are Employers in the Construction Industry backing NVQs?

NVQs tell your employer a lot about you. By gaining an NVQ, you are making a strong statement about your will to succeed in your job, particularly if you have paid for it yourself. You are saying that your skill level matters to you and you want to improve.

They also give employers a national benchmark for judging the contribution you are likely to make to the business. If you have an NVQ you have shown that you are prepared to invest your time in being recognised as a proven contributor to business success.

How do you get an NVQ?

NVQs are really flexible. There are no time limits, no age limits, no special entry requirements. You can work towards NVQs in the way that suits you best – at work, at home, interactively online. You decide how long it will take – working at your own speed you can do it all at once or in stages. NVQs are awarded dependent on your work skills this may include being watched at work by your assessor but this depends on the qualification you are undertaking and individual needs and circumstances.

Who are NVQs for?

Everyone in the Construction Industry can benefit from NVQs. There are 7 Levels of NVQs ranging form level 1 covering basic work activities through to level 7 for senior managers – so they can help the careers of senior managers as much as relative newcomers to the industry.

What about special cases?

Every NVQ carries a commitment to equal opportunities. Age, sex, race and learning difficulties are not barriers to achievement. All that matters is your ability to meet the NVQ standard.

What Industry Accreditation and Professional Designations are accessible through NVQs?

As well as providing access to the highly sort after Blue (Operative), Gold (Supervisor) and Black (manager) CSCS card NVQs also provide access to professional recognition with a variety of Professional Institutions such as the Chartered Institute of Building and RICS

How can you find out more?

Talk to CADUK.  Contact us through our website www.caduk.co.uk or via our landline on 01952292005



NVQ for ‘Quality Managers’ Pearson Edexcel Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection

According to a recent survey by the CIOB more than three-quarters of construction professionals believe the industry’s current management of quality is inadequate. Based on the findings from the call for evidence and wider research, Paul Nash, past-president of the CIOB and chair of the commission is recommending a number of measures, one of which is to develop a competency-based quality qualification/certification.

CADUK are specialists in Construction Supervisory and Managerial NVQs and have identified the most relevant qualification for those responsible for monitoring project quality and managing project progress and handover in construction.

The Pearson Edexcel Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection is not only accessible to Clerk of Works, Site Inspectors and Building Quality Officers who monitor the work of companies that carry out contracts for their employer or client. It is also accessible to those individuals who typically work for both Main Contractors and Sub Contractors who liaise closely with the client team to ensure a quality product. In some companies this is a stand alone function, however typically this role is undertaken as a duel function by more experienced site/construction managers. Although employed by the contractor, these quality managers are really carrying out the work of the old Clerk of Works, without arguably the same level of impartiality.

This qualification is broadly comparable to Bachelors Degree in Construction Management and demonstrates that that you carry out your job function to an industry standard. Other benefits would include access to Membership of the ICWCI, Black CSCS card and Membership of the Chartered Institute of Building through the full professional review.

CADUK have seen a noticeable increase in applicants for the Level 6 Senior Site Inspection qualification particularly from Scotland, largely because the Scottish government is considering making it mandatory to employ a clerk of works on all public sector jobs, a requirement that would have a massive impact on site inspection arrangements north of the border and could well have ramifications south of it too.

So if you are a Site Manager, Construction Manager, Project Manager, Quality Manager responsible for monitoring project quality and managing project progress and handover in construction or even if you are a directly employed by an employer/client as a Clerk of works give CADUK a call on 01952 291005 or visit our web site for more details.




Withdrawal of the CRO & CSO Card, is this an inconvenience or an opportunity for Construction Supervisors and Managers?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) withdrew the Construction Site Operative Card (CSO) in 2014 and stopped issuing Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card from 31st March 2017.

This means that

  •  CSO cards will be out of circulation in summer next year because they were valid for 5 years
  • CRO cards issued since 1st October 2015 will expired on 30th September 2017
  • CRO & CSO card holders must take further steps to replace their cards before they expire.

In 2012, the CRO card, which required no qualifications to obtain, accounted for a quarter of the cards in circulation, that is over 230,000 CRO card holders.  CSO cards which also required no qualifications to attain accounted for over half of the cards in circulation.  In the majority of cases CRO & CSO card holders will be required to register for existing or newly developed qualifications at operative Level, but what those who have developed their skills, knowledge and experience and are now responsible for supervising and managing the construction process?

Those Supervisors and Managers who still hold CRO and CSO card, who do not take the necessary steps to replace their cards will find they will be unable to obtain another CSCS card. These individuals need to undertake a Construction Supervisory and Management NVQ from Level 3 to Level 7 to gain access to Gold and Black CSCS cards.  Gaining measurable competence based qualifications (NVQs) is what the CSCS scheme is all about and its is all part of an individuals professional development and is good practice. People need to proactively take the opportunity to develop their careers.

There are a wide variety of competence based qualifications (NVQs) available that cover every aspect of construction supervision and management. Examples include:

Pearson Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Occupational Works Supervision – for  those who contribute to the supervision of formworkers, steelfixers, construction operatives, labourers, logistics teams etc.

Pearson Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations – For those people who might be considered to be office based such as Junior estimators, quantity surveyors, buyers, planners and general contractors; also people who might be considered to be site based and carry out such functions as dimensional control, surveys, work planning and technical sales.

Pearson Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision – For those who undertake the duties of construction site supervisors or assistant managers. Construction site supervisors will have responsibility for other people in their occupation and clearly be decision makers. Their duties include Controlling work progress against agreed programmes, Maintaining systems for health, safety, welfare and environmental protection and Allocating and monitoring the use of plant, equipment or machinery.

Pearson Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management – For those working in at senior site management level, e.g. those with responsibility for Controlling Project Progress, Ensuring that Work Activities and Resources Meet Project Work Requirements, and Controlling Project Quantities and Costs.

There are 5 routes to this qualification, Building & Civil Engineering, Highways and Maintenance Repair, Residential Development, Demolition and Conservation.

Pearson Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection –  For those working as site inspectors, architectural inspectors and quality inspectors. i.e. those managers who carry out the role of Clerk of Works.

These people will have responsibility for monitoring project quality and managing project progress and handover in construction.

Pearson Level  6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations –  For those people will have responsibility for other people in their occupation and clearly be decision makers. These include roles such as Senior Estimators, Senior Quantity Surveyors, Senior Buyers, Senior Planners and General Contracting (This could include those who are Site Agents, Site Engineers, Site Managers, Logistics Managers, Lifting Managers, and those who carry out the role of Principal Designers (CDM Regulations).

This qualification is suitable for people who might be considered to be site based and have responsibilities for functions as dimensional control, surveys, physical testing and work planning. It covers all sections of the construction cycle including all forms of construction and civil engineering. This includes functions such as maintenance and demolition and companies specialising in a single operation such as roofing, plastering and shop-fitting

Pearson Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management – For those practitioners in the Construction sector who are working in a Policy-makingDirector or Senior management capacity: i.e. Contracts and Production Managers and Commercial ManagersOperations Directors of smaller construction companies, Property and Facilities Managers and Specialist Construction Managers; as well as those in Construction Project Management – i.e. those who oversee projects from inception to decommissioning, who advise stakeholders and who form and lead project delivery teams.

Pearson Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Built Environment Design & Consultancy Practice – For employed and self-employed design managers in the construction and built environment sector. It is designed to assess occupational competence in the workplace where learners are required to demonstrate skills and knowledge to a level required in the construction industry. This qualification is accessible to design managers working for the contractor and those who provide consultancy services.

All qualifications lead to either the Gold or Black CSCS card. Level 6 & 7 NVQs lead to professional status with the CIOB, RICs, CABE and ICWCI.

If you want to find more information about the qualification you believe you have access to please click on the link provided or give us a call on (01952) 292 005 or visit our web site www.caduk.co.uk 



Achieved an HNC, HND, Degree in Construction Management? Whats Next? A competence based assessment qualification (NVQ)?

There are a great many experienced managers in the construction industry who have achieved high level academic qualifications in construction management HNC, HND, Degrees who are dismissing the idea of undertaking an NVQ because they feel that their academic achievements have far more value.

Many argue that it took over 3 years to achieve their academic qualifications, paid an extortionate amount of money, burnt the midnight oil, attended workshops and lectures and undertook rigorous exams in the pursuit of academic excellence.

This may well be true, but to ignore the benefits of undertaking a competence based assessment qualification (NVQ) when you have access to one (at level 6 or 7) could be counterproductive in terms of professional development and access to work opportunities. This is particularly prevalent in the construction industry where competence based qualifications are seen to have more value than academic qualifications i.e. you cannot gain access to a Black CSCS card with an academic qualification.  The truth is vocational qualifications complement academic qualifications because they demonstrate that the knowledge and skills that have been developed in a learning environment have now been applied in the workplace.

The NVQ assessment process might seem less rigorous than an academic qualification, but don’t let this fool you. Experienced Construction Managers have earned the right to be assessed for an NVQ through the school of hard knocks, they have developed their skills over time, worked long hours and have undergone huge personnel sacrifices to gain access to these qualifications.

CADUK are specialists in the delivery of the Level 6 & 7 NVQs in Construction Management and are regularly asked by prospective learners for our advice and guidance as to the next steps in terms of their professional development. All of our Assessors and Internal Verifiers at levels 6 & 7 are Members or Fellows of the CIOB. So if you have a high level academic qualification and want to have a chat about the benefits of competence based assessments and help with identifying the right NVQ for you, please send us an enquiry on our website www.caduk.co.uk or give us a call us on (01952) 292 005.

This post is aimed at anyone that has achieved high level academic qualifications in construction and carries out management functions i.e. Experienced Quantity Surveyors, Planners, Estimators, Design Managers, Site Engineers, Construction Managers, Project Managers, Commercial Managers, Contract Managers, Property Developers, Facility/Estate Managers etc.



CITB “up their game” for Plant & Lifting Operations NVQs

The CITB have introduced new instructions to Awarding Bodies and NVQ Centres  to ensure that the assessments of Specialised Plant & Controlling Lifting Operations NVQs are valid, effective and consistent, and have credibility across the Construction and Built Environment sector.

Due to some poor practice by some NVQ Centres and the high risks associated with Plant and Lifting Operations, the CITB have made it clear that all reputable and accredited NVQ assessment centres, verifiers and assessors “must maintain robust and transparent operational arrangements to promote the quality and transparency of  their assessment, certification and quality assurance processes”.

Furthermore the CITB have made it mandatory that all accredited NVQ Centres direct their assessors to use the following assessment methods as the primary source for meeting the requirements of assessment through normal performance in the workplace.

  •  observation of performance by the assessor or assessors
  •  witness testimony or testimonies by an expert witness/witnesses
  •  professional discussion.

In additions all submitted evidence must support skills, knowledge and understanding attained through performance in the workplace for at least a six (6) month period.

Those employers, or self employed operatives, supervisors and managers who are engaging with Plant & Controlling Lifting NVQ providers to help them achieve these NVQs should carry out simple due diligence to ensure that they are dealing with reputable and accredited organisations that will carry out the assessment professionally in line with these new guidelines.

You can quickly determine whether you are dealing with a trusted and professional provider by asking the centre or their assessors and verifiers to produce evidence of the following

  1. Centre Approval status to offer qualifications from an Awarding Organisation SQA, NOCN, City & Guilds, Pearson Edexcel
  2. An External Systems Verification Report from an Awarding Organisation confirming their risk level status.

If they cannot provide evidence of the above you should not engage with them. CADUK have just been awarded a High Confidence Rating in a recent SQA Verification Visit so you can be confident that we will provide you with the best possible service.

Source: Construction News



Achieved the NVQ 6 in Construction Site Management? Whats Next? GRADIOSH through the City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice (NVQ)

CADUK are specialists in the delivery of the Level 6 NVQ in Construction Site Management and are always being asked by prospective learners for our advice and guidance as to the next steps in terms of their professional development.  For those who are genuinely carrying out the work at level 6, the Level 7 is a step too far because they have not yet developed the skills, knowledge and experience to be successful.  There is however an alternative option that would genuinely provide them with further development opportunities and add real value to their CV.

CADUK now recommend the City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety Practice (NVQ) because it should be accessible to most site based construction managers. The qualification is designed for those people involved in the practical application and/or management of health and safety. They will have an autonomous role in their organisation for managing health and safety policy and practice and will report directly to or be part of the senior management team.

But don’t take our word for it click here to download the qualifications initial profile tool to see if you have access to this qualification by carrying out your own self assessment against the requirements of the qualification. On achievement of this Level 5 Diploma the individual will not only be able to demonstrate to the client that they have the qualification and relevant skills and knowledge to carry out their health and safety role effectively, the qualification would also be added to their Black CSCS card alongside their existing qualification and they would be able to access Graduate Membership of IOSH (GradIOSH).

If you are are an experienced construction site manager and would like to undertake this qualification please complete the profile tool in the link above and return it to us. Alternatively you can send us an enquiry on our website www.caduk.co.uk or give us a call us on (01952) 292 005.



CSCS announce Grandfather rights card withdrawal as a Priority for 2018

Following the withdrawal of the Visitor card the next step towards a fully qualified workforce is perhaps the most challenging. Industry Accreditation (IA), also known as Grandfather Rights, allowed workers to obtain CSCS cards on the strength of an employers’ recommendation rather than the achievement of a recognised qualification (NVQ)

CSCS closed IA to new applicants in 2010 but those already holding a card are currently able to renew on the same basis. To meet the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) CSCS will develop plans to move all IA cardholders to a recognised qualification.

CSCS have stated that to achieve this within the necessary timescales it will require extensive industry consultation prior to implementation. In the meantime, existing IA card holders can continue to renew their cards in accordance with the scheme rules.

The withdrawal of IA will be the final step towards achieving the CLC’s requirement of ensuring nationally recognised qualifications are in place for all occupations


Source: CSCS



“Bring back clerk of works” There has never been a better time to undertake the Pearson Edexcel NVQ 6 in Senior Site Inspection

Public bodies need to reduce the gap between themselves and building design teams and to employ a clerk of works on construction projects, according to a Scottish parliamentary committee

The Scottish Parliament’s education and skills committee has published its report into school infrastructure, looking at lessons from the Edinburgh schools fiasco.

It backed calls contained in the earlier Cole Report – the independent investigation headed by architect and construction expert John Cole into the closure of 17 Edinburgh schools because of building defects – that councils should take action to become ‘intelligent clients’.

The committee’s report said it had ‘heard evidence that local authorities had entered into a specific structure for contracts which created a gap between themselves as clients and the design team. We find this unacceptable.’

Public bodies undertaking Design and Build or design, build, finance and maintain contracts should consider employing construction professionals to add quality assurance, the committee said.

It added that a clerk of works could ‘provide the regular inspections necessary to ensure that buildings are built correctly, particularly for work that is subsequently closed up as construction progresses’.

Glasgow architecture professor Alan Dunlop said: ‘A clerk of works should have a day-to-day role in the development of major building projects. That’s how it used to be.

‘The clerk of works had significant responsibility and clout, and reported directly to the architect and client under a traditional building contract or was employed by the client in significant design and build projects after novation, when the design team moved over to work for the contractor.’

He said that the role should be undertaken by an experienced builder, rather than an architect.

The committee undertook its short inquiry in the wake of the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh in January 2016 and the subsequent report of the Independent Inquiry into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools led by Cole, which was published last February.

Source: The Architects Journal

The qualification that provides the Clerk of Works with measurable industry accreditation and professional/chartered status is the Pearson Edexcel Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection. This qualification Leads to the Black CSCS card, MCIOB through the full professional review and thanks to a collaborative PILOT scheme between the Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) and CADUK access to Membership of the ICWCI without the need for a professional interview.

To find out if you have access to this Level 6 NVQ Click here to download our profiling tool and carry out a self-assessment of your skills, knowledge and experience.

For more information just give us a call on (01952) 292 005 or visit our web site www.caduk.co.uk where you will find all the best information relating to the qualification.



NEBOSH Diploma v C&G Level 5 Diploma in Occupational H&S Practice (NVQ)

Experienced H&S managers in construction and those who engage in the role of Principle Designer (CDM) can choose from a wide variety of academic and vocational qualifications to help them develop their careers and to prove that they are competent to carry out their responsibilities under CDM 2015. However, there is only one qualification that can provide added value to meet the requirements of GradIOSH and also allow them to gain access to the much coveted industry recognised Black CSCS card and that is the City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice (NVQ) .

All routes to Grad IOSH and the Black CSCS card involve some form of assessment, however only the assessment methods used on competence based assessment qualifications can be tailored to the your individual needs and requirements. There are no exams, no workshops to attend and no time off work.

The process of assessment is meaningful, thoughtful and systematic and designed to encourage the individual to reflect on their own professional practice. During the City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice you will be required to confirm that you have the skills, knowledge and experience needed to conduct your role to the industry standard. You will demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of health and safety and its application within your organisation.

All CADUK assessors are experienced, qualified (MIOSH) (FCIOB) professionals with years of exposure within health and safety management, so you can be assured that we will provide you with the best possible support.  They will review your progress on an ongoing basis, offering guidance and support along the way, ensuring a timely achievement – you might even enjoy the experience. The City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Practice (NVQ) is delivered primarily using a number of interactive features such as Skype, Whats App, telephone, email, remote desktop and our online ePortfolio system. The CADUK system allows you to embed workplace documentation, verbal comments and written narratives to demonstrate your knowledge and underlying skills in relation to the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of the qualification. One onsite visit is compulsory, that visit just puts the icing on the cake in terms of assessor support.

Click here to download the brochure for the qualification and here for the initial profile tool which helps confirms access to the qualification.

For more information on this qualification please call us on 01952 292 005, view the qualification on our website, or download our brochure here



Site Managers – you don’t know what you know

“You don’t know what you know!” I say that every day to Construction Site Managers who inquire about undertaking the Edexcel Pearson NVQ Level 6 in Construction Site Management. The majority of them are enquiring about the qualification only because they have to undertake the qualification (to gain access to the Black CSCS card) not because they want to.

Most are unaware of the skills, knowledge and experience they have naturally developed over the years. Despite their vast experience their self-confidence has taken a bit of a battering – largely because they have come from the tools and have never undertaken any high level qualifications, and also the disparaging attitude (or perceived attitude) of some colleagues who have entered the industry via the achievement of a University Degree and have some form of professional status.

In my opinion this insecurity not only hinders the individual’s prospects for further advancement and employment opportunities, it also damages the reputation of the whole Construction industry. It creates the impression that construction sites are run by unqualified and therefore unprofessional people.

What these individuals don’t realise is that they have power to change their view of themselves and the perception of others by undertaking a Site Management qualification that is broadly comparable to an Bachelors Degree.

The importance attached to being qualified to carry out a Site Management function in construction has grown significantly in the eyes of employers and clients across all sectors of the industry. Being qualified to carry out your job role is without doubt what most employers and clients initially use to measure competence. They want proof that individuals have both the knowledge and technical ability to carry out a job role in the work place to a recognised industry standard or benchmark.

The industry benchmark for the construction site manager is not a Degree, its not an HNC,  HND, or an SMSTS Cert, non of these will help you gain access to a black cscs card, it is the NVQ 6 in Construction Site Management and only those who have a story to tell, (those who don’t yet know what they know) can prove they carry out that occupational role have access to it.

Unlike some training providers we will never enrol you on a qualification unless we are 100% sure that you have the required skills, knowledge and experience to achieve it. With CADUK all our assessors are Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Building (FCIOB) and are skilled in being able to extract the right information/evidence from you in a way that suits your individual needs and confidence.

Click here to download our profiling tool to find out if you have access to the NVQ 6 in Construction Site Management 

For more information just give us a call on (01952) 292 005 or visit our web site www.caduk.co.uk where you will find all the best information relating to the qualification.