NVQs in Construction

CADUKs Guide to the Benefits and Value 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 Principal Designers/Principal 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 cards, NVQs also provide access to professional recognition with a variety of Professional Institutions such as The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), The Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) and The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

How can you find out more?

Talk to CADUK.  Contact us through our website www.caduk.co.uk or call us on 01952 287485

An NVQ for Quality Managers & Clerks of Works

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 Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI), Black CSCS Card and Membership of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) 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, take a look at the Pearson Edexcel Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection.

Alternatively to discuss this, or any of our qualifications in more detail, give us a call on 01952 287484.

Bring Back Clerk of Works!

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, Membership of The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) 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 the Level 6 NVQ in Senior Site Inspection Click here to download our profiling tool and carry out a self-assessment of your skills, knowledge and experience.

For more information click here to view the qualification on our website or give us a call on (01952) 292 005.

Can existing construction managers close the construction skills gap?

According to a recent article in Construction manager magazine about a fifth of all vacancies in the construction industry remain hard to fill because employers cannot find staff with the right skills, qualifications or experience – and the situation is only set to get worse.

From our experience at CADUK delivering high level Managerial NVQs we believe that the real problem is not necessarily a lack of skills and experience of the construction manager, it is the lack of a measurable proof of these skills in the form of a competence based qualifications. This often precludes them from certain employment opportunities because employers and recruitment agencies cannot engage with them as they cannot meet the clients minimum requirements for qualifications (NVQs), industry accreditation (CSCS) and professional status (CIOB, RICS, CABE, ICWCI).

Many construction managers with no formal qualifications have no idea how much they know, and even worse, they don’t know the value of what they know. Our most popular qualifications are at Level 6 and 7 (comparable to bachelor and Master Degree Qualifications), most people who eventually enrol and successfully achieve these qualifications are initially hesitant to engage because it does seem that their confidence has taken a battering over the years because of a variety of reasons. They are worried that:

Everyone I work with knows it already…
What I do is just common sense…
Lots of people know a lot more than me…
It’s pretty easy, most of the time I do it without thinking about it..

In simple terms in order to gain these high level qualifications and gain access to these employment opportunities individuals need to start to VALUE what they do, they have to get what they know out of their head. They need to reflect on their own practice. They need to be asked lots of relevant questions about their job, write down or verbalise their answers professionally, and present other types of evidence to back their responses. They need to share what they know with with other Construction professionals who are in a position to appreciate and measure what they have achieved.

Let us help you.

If you are prepared to undertake some self reflective practice, we at CADUK can ensure that you have a much better chance of gaining access to these employment opportunities by helping you match your skills and experience to the right qualifications which will provide access to Gold & Black CSCS Cards and professional status with the CIOB, RICS, CABE, ICWCI, IOSH etc

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 and we will provide you with assessors who are are amongst the most experienced and qualified in the construction industry. Our NVQ Level 6 & 7 assessors are all Fellows of the Institute of Building (FCIOB).

For more information just give us a call on (01952) 292 005 or visit our web site www.caduk.co.uk where you can download the appropriate profile tool to find out if you fit the criteria for these qualifications




The Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate

NVQ route to Membership of ICWCI

CADUK are working in partnership with The Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) to develop a route to Membership of the ICWCI (without the need for a Professional Interview) through the achievement of the Pearson Edexcel Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection.

The ICWCI is the professional body that supports quality construction through inspection. As a membership organisation it provides a support network of meeting centres, CPD, technical advice, publications and events to help keep its members up to date with the ever changing construction industry.

The Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection is designed for site inspectors, architectural inspectors, quality inspectors and Clerk of Works i.e those people who have responsibility for monitoring project quality and managing project progress and handover in construction.

The qualification also leads to the Black CSCS Card and Membership of The Chartered Institute of Building through the full professional Review

CADUK offer access to the Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection via an interactive, online ePortfolio route. There are no exams, no workshops, no site visits and no need to take time off work.

The work involved during this qualification requires the learner to reflect on their professional practice and provide workplace evidence to ensure that they carry out work to the industry standard for their occupation role.

All CADUK’s Assessors are Members/Fellows of Professional Bodies such as ICWCI, CIOB and CABE so you can be assured of the professional competence of those people who are guiding and supporting you through the qualification.

Please click here to view our  self assessment profiling form to find out if you have access to this qualification.