First smart SKILLcard presentedTuesday, November 10, 2015 9:54 AM
The first ‘smart’ Engineering Services SKILLcard was presented in front of a packed conference room at the Wellcome Collection in London last week.
Luke Copper Solomons, an apprentice at Price Building Services of Wallington, Surrey, received the first digital version of a card, which is used by more than 50,000 mechanical engineering workers to provide proof of their skills and to access project sites in line with health and safety requirements.
He was presented with his card during the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) ‘Meeting the Industry’s Skills Challenge’ conference by association President Jim Marner and conference chairman Lord Martin O’Neill of Clackmannan.
The Engineering Services SKILLcard is the first of the specialist schemes affiliated to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to switch to chip-enabled smart technology.
The greater functionality means employers and site managers will be able 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 – also any qualifications that lapse can be quickly removed.
Beric Davis, managing director of Reference Point – the company that developed the cards, told the conference that it was “almost impossible” to counterfeit smart cards and lost or stolen cards could be cancelled immediately.
Peter Rimmer, B&ES head of employment and skills, told the conference that SKILLcard had made a “huge contribution” to improving professional and health and safety standards since its initial launch in August 2001 and had long since become an established feature of the fabric of the industry.
More than 160,000 people have qualified to receive one of the cards since then –all of whom have had to prove their technical competence and grasp of health and safety issues.
He said the SKILLcard system had “made the market for health and safety training” as well as providing valuable incentives for young engineers to improve their qualifications and technical competencies.
“It is a real coup for our sector to be leading the way as the first specialist CSCS scheme to go digital,” said Mr Rimmer. “The improvements offered by the smart card will make life much easier for card holders, employers and their clients.By replacing the current paper-based processes, it ensures information is more up-to-date, reliable and secure.”
PIC CAPTION: Luke Copper Solomons of Price Building Services receiving the first digital SKILLcard from Lord Martin O’Neill (left) and B&ES President Jim Marner at the Wellcome Collection in London.