Issue 5 | Winter 2011


RSTA Training

Industry management and supervisory skills given further boost by CITB-ConstructionSkills’ M&STS fund

Federations and employers across the UK will now be given additional support to provide management and supervisory training projects via CITB-ConstructionSkills’ Management and Supervisory Transition Support (M&STS) fund.

A cash injection of £2million for the period 2011/2012, will assist projects that have already been successfully piloted via the Sector Skills Council’s Management and Supervisory Development Programme (M&SDP), but are not yet available for mainstream grant support.

The aim of the M&STS fund is to give those M&SDP projects that need additional financial support, the opportunity to cover their running costs after the first year of their project.

Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, Mark Farrar, said: “The M&STS fund shows that we are really listening and responding to the needs of the industry, helping businesses to succeed and grow. The new funding will bring additional support to those federations who are looking to build on the success of their established M&SDPs.

“By supporting federations and employers through the transitionary stages of their M&SDPs, we will be helping to lend further financial assistance to some of the most exciting and innovative projects within the industry. The scheme is yet another way that CITB-ConstructionSkills is adding value to the industry ensuring that individuals working within it have the right skills for economic growth, both locally and nationally.”

One federation which will be eligible for this additional M&STS funding is the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) which has already run a series of successful M&SDP projects.

For example, the federation is running a project this year to enable managers to effectively report the carbon footprint of road surface treatments. The project includes a number of strands of activity, including training relevant contractors on how to capture and process carbon related data to produce a carbon footprint for a range of surface treatments. The information delivered will help all in-scope contractors to meet the growing needs of the highway authorities for carbon footprint information and will help them to reduce the carbon footprint of their operation.

Howard Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSTA, said: “Expected government measures mean that, over the coming years, road surface treatment contractors will see increasing demand from highway authorities for carbon related information. It is therefore imperative that all in-scope contractors have a well-trained, qualified workforce able to understand what type of carbon related information they will be required to capture, process and report in future. We hope this project will address this urgent need by developing and providing targeted training courses for the industry.

The announcement of CITB-ConstructionSkills’ M&STS fund is something we wholly welcome as it will enable more federations and employers to raise standards of training and skills within their organisations, just as we are with this project.”

For more information about the M&SDP and M&STS application process and a full list of eligibility criteria visit http://www.cskills.org/aboutus/productsservices/msdp.aspx or email scott.cooper-groom@cskills.org.

National Highway Sector Schemes deliver consistent quality

Prof Ian D Walsh MBE
Senior Consultant, Road Consultants Ltd

National Highway Sectors Schemes were developed by CSS and HA with the co-operation of UK Accreditation Service [UKAS], Certification Bodies and Industry over 12 years ago to complement BS EN ISO9001. The principal drivers were that Clients recognised trying to ensure installed quality by random inspection and testing were no longer appropriate, when highway construction and maintenance was being outsourced to contractors who must be responsible for the installed quality. It was a costly and ineffective system. However the Ultimate Clients need a mechanism to demonstrate that consistent quality as specified, is being delivered to discharge their responsibility for highway safety and ensuring value for money.

Sector Schemes provide the opportunity for Clients to use independent professional Certification Bodies to provide an audit function of their Contractors’ Quality Management System. The underlying principal is that a good quality system will deliver a good quality product all of the time. The contractor’s internal audit system provides the week by week control. This system provides the opportunity for the Client to spread his supervision more thinly and use it more effectively.

Sector schemes have identified that it costs little more to do things right rather than wrong. Indeed significant savings may be made with reduced risk of remedial works. Most schemes, including NHSS 13 for Surface Treatments, now describe appropriate training and competency standards for operatives and supervisors, linked to recently reviewed National Occupational Standards. NHSS compliant contractors have responded by putting considerable resources into competency training as described in each Sector Scheme, in the case of NHSS 13 overseen by the RSTA.

Whilst Sector Schemes significantly increase the chances that work will be carried out as specified and agreed with the Client, we have to accept the pressures for reduced cost can tempt teams into short cuts. Clients are strongly recommended by ADEPT to visit sites themselves, check that accurate quality records are being kept all the necessary checks are being carried out and only cardholding operatives are working, without in any way diluting the responsibility of the Contractor for delivery of quality.

Clients also strongly recommended to implement best practice in procurement as recommended by ‘Well Maintained Highways’, by using only Sector Scheme Certificated contractors. This is best done by only seeking prices from Contractors certificated to the relevant scheme. A database of these will be available early in 2012.

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