The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is one of the fastest growing and most widely recognised schemes available.
It includes the requirement for a measure of competence either through a National Vocational Qualification or completion of a recognised apprenticeship and confirmation that the holder has taken an approved health and safety awareness course.
It was set up in 1995 in a bid to improve the quality of work on site, but got off to a slow start, with only 1,500 workers signing up in the first year. However, pressure from clients boosted applications and membership has grown rapidly since 1996.
CSCS currently has almost 130,000 individuals registered in 25 recognised occupations. It estimates that between 110,000 and 200,000 construction workers will register with the Scheme via the Link card. CSCS hopes to have 300,000 people signed up to the Scheme by the end of 2003.
An increasing number of clients are demanding CSCS approved labour, companies will increase their chances of being awarded contracts if their workforce is registered. Already, several contractors have been forced into action by clients demanding CSCS-registered labour.
Organisations which intend to make the CSCS card a mandatory requirement on their sites include: BAA, BNFL, Bovis, Schal, O'Rourke, Amec and Laing.