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SKILLcard switches to smart technology

As part of a strategy to further improve professional standards across the building engineering services industry, the Engineering Services SKILLcard is converting to ‘smart’ technology.

Used by more than 50,000 mechanical engineering workers and professionals to provide proof of their skills and to access project sites in line with health and safety legislation, SKILLcard is the first of the specialist schemes in the construction industry to switch to chip-enabled smart technology.

As the first affiliate of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to go smart, it puts mechanical engineers in the vanguard of the construction industry’s adoption of digital methods. Other construction sectors will follow so that by 2020 all building professionals will be using smart technology to gain access to project sites.

The new cards are available from this month and will gradually replace the old-style cards as they come up for renewal. They offer greater functionality than their analogue predecessors, enabling employers and site managers to check the holder’s qualifications and skills much more quickly, with information on the card accessible via smartphone, card reader or tablet. The information held on the card will also be more accurate as it can be rapidly updated with any new skills and qualifications.

Smart cards are also much harder to fake so this change will lead to a reduction in counterfeiting and misuse by unqualified ‘cowboy’ operatives.

The application process via the SKILLcard website (www.skillcard.org.uk) remains the same and current cards will still be valid until their expiry date. The cost of the new smart card is £40 and renewal reminders will be issued to holders in the usual way.

Head of employment affairs and skills at the Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA), Peter Rimmer, said he was extremely proud that SKILLcard had shown “forward thinking” by choosing to be the first specialist scheme to go digital. He said: “It is a real coup for our sector to be leading the way in the modernisation of this crucial competence and health and safety measure. The improvements offered by the smart card will make life much easier for employers and card holders.”

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