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May 29, 2010

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Choose training with confidence

RoSPA is leading a new initiative that it says will reduce employers’ confusion about which health and safety qualifications workers need to hold, and which training courses they need to undertake.

Unveiled at Safety and Health Expo last month, the National Core Competence Benchmark (NCCB) is described as a collaborative initiative supported by a wide range of trade associations and is open to any training course provider. It encompasses a website, which lists courses and qualifications that are accredited by trade, safety, or examination bodies and ranks them against recognised training frameworks.

Identifying which training promotes real competency (going beyond training-course theory to promoting practical experience) can be difficult, especially given the sheer number and varying quality of courses available. Employers are, legally, wholly responsible for judging who is, or is not, competent – an onerous duty, according to RoSPA, that is exacerbated by the lack of any clear standards. The NCCB, says the Society, will remedy this by offering impartial and highly-practical assistance to employers at the point of them choosing training courses or qualifications for their staff, and establishing the competence of contractors.

The NCCB website will include a tool for establishing development needs for employees holding specific positions, and it benchmarks the relative level of courses. It is being developed to include numerous recognised courses from a diverse range of training providers, including safety bodies and trade associations.

The initiative also includes “smart-card training passports”, where contractors can store their training histories online and on electronically-readable cards, so they can quickly and easily share their records with third parties.

Errol Taylor, deputy chief executive of RoSPA and a director of the NCCB, said: “Employers tell us that they are very confused when trying to decide what training to provide for their employees – both in terms of identifying reputable providers and the level of course required. The NCCB is a fantastic initiative that will support employers while they are assessing what training they need to provide for their employees, and also when they are establishing the competence of potential contractors.”

To see the new website, visit

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