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1100 places announced to support specialists drive for fully competent workforce

ConstructionSkills’ National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC) has announced new funding to support training 1100 recruits in the specialist sectors to help meet current industry demand. The funding from the Learning and Skills Council has been welcomed at a time when industry concerns about the high costs associated with specialist training are combined with a growing commitment from major contractors to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and a fully carded workforce.

The National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC) was established in 2002 to provide an assessment service to those specialist sectors within the construction industry which, due to their specialist nature and resultant low numbers, were unable to identify alternative provision from the more traditional commercial providers.

Some 3,000 specialist candidates have registered with the centre since it’s inception in 2002, making it one of the largest construction assessment centres in the country, but many candidates are yet to achieve their NVQ. The new funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is worth up to £1.5 million, subject to performance related targets, including 1,000 candidates to have started their NVQ by July 2007.

Based in the East Midlands, the centre is accredited to offer more than 50 different occupational qualifications at NVQ Levels 2, including specialist areas such as drilling and sawing. Candidates are assessed by both in-company and freelance assessors. The centre provides the Internal Verification needed to run an accredited centre effectively and also pays for and co-ordinates the External Verification by the Joint Awarding Body, this enables the assessors and specialist companies to focus on the assessment process itself.

With the new LSC funding, the centres Internal Verification service is effectively free for in-scope companies with a chargeable fee for out-of-scope companies or sectors. The new funding will enable the NSAC to continue to deliver specialist training through registered centre as well as opening up the possibility of expanding its training through smaller specialist centres which could then be monitored by NSAC assessors.

With the CSCS now widely accepted by industry, supported by organisations such as the Major Contractors Group (MCG), National Contractors Federation (NCF), Major Home Builders Group (MHBG) and Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) all committed to a fully qualified workforce by the end of 2010, ConstructionSkills Specialist Manager Stuart Littlefair hopes the extra funding will encourage more businesses to take advantage of the additional support:

“Training is essential for success in business, but we recognise that in the specialist sector investing in training and up-skilling your workforce can be expensive. Now, with this new funding, the NSAC can offer businesses additional support which will make training affordable and with industry increasingly demanding a fully carded competent workforce it is an opportunity not to be missed.”

For more information regarding the NSAC, including occupational coverage and requirements or procedures for linking to the NSAC, call the centre on 01509 282861.

Please also read the full press release.

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