New Year, New Job?

Have you ever thought of making scaffolding your career?

It is interesting and varied work and the financial rewards for qualified scaffolders and advanced scaffolders can be substantial.  In theory, anybody can call themselves a scaffolder, as thereScaffolder at work are no statutory regulations or licensing requirements.   In practice, however, the scaffolding industry strictly regulates itself and unqualified operatives are unlikely to find long term employment, as anything other than a labourer. The training costs associated with becoming a qualified scaffolder are substantial, with additional costs required to progress to advanced scaffolder level.  But for promising staff, most scaffolding companies will pay most, if not all, of the costs associated with training their employees.

Scaffolder Training and Development

The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) has been the industry’s training and certification scheme for almost 50 years. It is recognised by all of the UK’s major construction organisations, including the HSE, Build UK, CSCS, NASC and the  Construction Unions.  Established in the 1960s, CISRS currently has over 60,000 cardholders in the UK, with a further 5,000 cardholders in the Overseas Scaffolder Training Scheme (OSTS).

CISRS is divided into three categories, each offering different courses and programmes. These categories are:

  1. Scaffolding Operative Scheme
  2. Scaffolding Management and Supervisory Training
  3. Scaffold Inspection Training

To start with, to become a scaffolding labourer or a trainee scaffolder, you need to undertake a 1-day New Entrant Trainee and Scaffolding Labourer Course, which is known as the COTS Course.  This course is designed to provide new starters with the basic skills to allow them to be able to work safely on site.  In order to apply for a CISRS card, you would also be required to pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test.  CISRS cards at this level are issued either as Labourer or Trainee Scaffolder.

Trainee scaffolders are required to be supervised by a qualified scaffolder, at all times during their training.  Their training period commences with a minimum of 6 months’ on-site work experience, after which they are eligible to attend a two-week Part 1 training course. 

Following the successful completion of this course, you would then undertake a further six months’ work experience, before being able to attend a two-week Part 2 training course.  To complete your training, you would then complete the Level 2 NVQ in Access and Rigging and pass a one-day Final Skills Assessment.  After this, you can then apply for a CISRS Scaffolding Card!

And after a further 12 months’ on-site experience, you could commence your Advanced Training.  This involves attending a two-week Advanced Training course, completing a Level 3 NVQ in Access and Rigging and passing a two-day Final Skills Assessment.  Scaffolders can further progress to Scaffolding Supervisory and Management training.  All training is undertaken off-site at CISRS Accredited Training Centres.

Where to get information

Hard HatsOriginally, CISRS training was aimed at scaffolders who erected and dismantled “Tube and Fitting” scaffolding.  But the scheme now extends this training to cover “System Scaffold” products which have been approved for training purposes.  Another route to training to Scaffolder Level is to take an Apprenticeship.  This normally extends over a 18 month period and involves 10 weeks’ off-site training at a CISRS Accredited Centre. 

The CITB college at Erith (National Construction College South) is very close to us here at Gilray Plant and we regularly have students pass through our doors to buy spanners, frogs and hats!

To find a college near you or for more information, visit the CISRS website

Good Luck with your “New Year, New Job” search!