THE NATIONAL Construction College has been banned from taking on new trainees after failing a routine inspection of its courses.
City & Guilds inspectors imposed the ban on the NCC's five campuses last week.
The move has left contractors in limbo because the NCC is the industry's biggest training provider.
Tony Hirst, director of Shrewsbury based W&J Scaffolding, said: 'This is a real pain because we need to get people trained. On major jobs we need all of our workers to have skills cards. To get those they need to be registered for NVQ training but we can't sign them up at the moment because of what has happened.' The City & Guilds inspectors have also stopped the NCC signing off trainees who have completed courses.
An NCC spokesman said: 'Following a routine City & Guilds inspection into the assessment and verification standards at the National Construction College there has been a temporary suspension of our ability to register new candidates and to sign off existing candidates without the use of an external verifier.
'We have agreed an action plan with City & Guilds to address the points raised to regain a full set of accreditations.
'We will continue to provide a high level of training to the industry and are working to ensure that our candidates are not disadvantaged.' The suspension is a major embarrassment for the NCC, which is the training division of CITB-ConstructionSkills and trains more than 30,000 people a year.
The NCC and CITB-ConstructionSkills refused to comment on the situation beyond the prepared statement.
One contractor said: 'They seem to be hoping this will all be sorted out before everyone hears about it. Everything has ground to a halt apart from their ability to collect fees.' A City & Guilds spokeswoman said: 'We cannot comment on the results of an inspection.'