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SKILLcard launches ‘academic’ card

One of the construction industry’s largest skills certification registers is launching a special card for engineers with degrees and other higher-level qualifications.? 

Engineering Services SKILLcard, which has over 64,000 card holders across the UK, has developed the Academically Qualified Person (AQP) card so individuals with higher level qualifications can visit construction sites to help them gain more practical experience. 

SKILLcard, which is managed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and is part of the construction-wide CSCS scheme, is used by heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration operatives to provide proof of qualifications, skills and experience.  

It already offers a Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) card, but this requires a certain level of industry experience. The new AQP card will enable graduate engineers and those holding further education qualifications such as HNDs and HNCs to provide evidence of their qualifications including the health & safety training needed to be allowed on site. 

Many of these academically qualified engineers do not fit the standard craft and operative criteria recognised by the industry, but need to spend time on site for employment purposes and/or to gain valuable experience to progress to the next stage of their careers. 

“This new card will provide an essential bridge for individuals who hold higher level qualifications but don’t have enough workplace experience for the PQP card,” said BESA’s director of certification Rachel Davidson. “Holding a SKILLcard is not a legislative requirement, but many larger clients and contractors now insist on one for site placements or employment – and this is the best way for an engineer to provide evidence of their qualifications.” 

The card was developed in partnership with London South Bank University (LSBU) who stressed the important role it will play in allowing newly qualified engineers to gain site access and build their experience. 

“Graduates will need this card during the transition period between graduating and acquiring the appropriate experience for the PQP card, normally while working towards chartered engineer status,” said Tony Thomas, visiting professor of work-based learning at LSBU.? 

“This card provides a much-needed imprimatur which will be progressively essential for graduates to gain employment or placements on construction sites.” 

Professor Thomas also welcomed the stipulation that applicants must pass the Manager’s Health, Safety and Environment qualification or equivalent before placement as he said this would help to improve safety standards on construction sites. 

BESA has also extended the list of recognised professional qualifications that qualify for the PQP card and increased the number of professional bodies considered appropriate for the industry to 23 – allowing all their members to apply for an Engineering Services SKILLcard.? 

For full details and to apply for a SKILLcard go to: www.skillcard.org.uk 

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