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Concrete industry lays path for qualifications

Members from QPANI and ConstructionSkills NI

QPANI and ConstructionSkills NI work together to promote NVQ qualifications project across the Province

THE Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI) has been working with CITB-ConstructionSkills NI to help promote the ‘Qualifying the Existing Workforce’ (QEW) project across the construction industry in Northern Ireland.

To date, 75 candidates have gone through NVQ qualification in concrete and there are currently 99 places available for anyone who wants to gain an NVQ qualification under the scheme. The application process for this round of free QEW places closes on 28 February 2014.

The QEW project – a joint initiative between CITB-ConstructionSkills NI and the Joint Council for the Building and Civil Engineering Industry – was launched last year in order to provide an opportunity for existing construction workers to gain a Level 2 qualification for the first time.

The project is funded by the Department for Employment and Learning and nine assessment centres have been awarded contracts to assess candidates in Northern Ireland in 37 occupations ranging from brick work to wall and floor tiling.

QPANI and CITB-ConstructionSkills NI jointly launched the new NVQ Level 2 qualification in concrete laying. This qualification will raise standards and ensure they are incorporated into projects across the Province.

Gordon Best (pictured second from right), regional director of QPANI and member of the QEW delivery group, said: ‘The QEW project is an ideal way to help the industry get qualified. The NVQ Level 2 in the placing of non-structural concrete is ideally placed within this project to help raise standards within the local concrete industry. The qualification has been well received within concrete companies and will help maintain the skills levels across this sector.’

He continued: ‘We are now working with the Central Procurement Directorate at the Department of Finance and Personnel and other government construction clients to have this qualification recognized and required on public sector sites. As a first step, the qualification has been recognized within the Government’s construction clients guidance document, ‘Specifying Sustainable and Durable Concrete’.

Barry Neilson, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills NI, said: ‘The essence of the QEW project is to address the skills levels required for the industry both now and in the future. It is vital that employers and their staff continue to train through these challenging economic times and this is particularly important for the construction sector. QPANI has to be commended for its work to launch the new concrete qualification to help this sector get qualified to the appropriate standard.’

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