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Irate scaffolders threaten training snoops over chaos

NEWS - Firms look to sue as workers cannot get on site due to training centres shut down 'on a whim'

FURIOUS scaffolding firms are threatening to sue City & Guilds over the continuing training chaos in construction.

Specialist contractors have been left out of pocket after a string of NVQ training centres were suspended by City & Guilds' external verifiers.

One outraged boss said: 'These verifiers just come in and slap down suspensions on the centres which take forever to work off.

'We send our people on training courses but halfway through the centres are suspended for months. That means we have paid for the training but the centres cannot sign off our trainees as qualified.

'Courses cannot be completed on time which means we have workers who cannot get on site. This has cost us and we will look at legal action against those responsible.' Workers sign up for NVQ training to allow them to qualify under the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme. Without the qualification, scaffolders cannot work on major sites.

A spokesman for the National Access and Scaffolding Federation said: 'These centres seem to be shut down on a whim. It seems a very arcane and petty system.'

Inspections are carried out by City & Guilds verifiers who work alongside CITB-ConstructionSkills as the Joint Awarding Body to police training.

The NASC spokesman said: 'Of course we are in favour of shutting down rogue training centres but things have gone completely the other way.

'Reputable centres are being suspended for petty infringements of the rules and the knock-on effect for the industry is disastrous.' A CITB-ConstructionSkills spokesman said: 'CITB-ConstructionSkills and City & Guilds work together as the awarding body for construction. Under the agreement, external verifiers are managed on a day-to-day basis by City & Guilds but work on behalf of the overall awarding body for construction.

'Both organisations recognise the importance of quality assurance, to make certain qualification standards are maintained in accordance with the NVQ Code of Practice stipulated by the Qualif ications Curriculum Authority.

'We are working with our external verifiers to provide a more supportive relationship to centres ? allowing them to improve standards ? and are also looking at longer term solutions which better meet the needs of centres and industry.'