Fast-track cladding qualification looks to address skills shortage

An accelerated cladding installation qualification is being piloted to help ease the critical shortage of trained professionals that threatens vital remediation work.

Awarding body ProQual and digital-first training platform provider Tequ have joined forces to pilot a job-specific rainscreen-cladding installation qualification, which aims to train 100 professionals by the autumn.

The pilot has been launched at four training centres – Endeavour Safety Services, Bercaf, Skills Centre and ASQ – and will act as a pathway for professionals to enter cladding work or other parts of the construction sector.

News of the scheme’s launch comes a week after Construction News reported that an “insufficient” number of rainscreen-cladding trainers would affect the sector’s ability to train more staff to help with remediation work.

The ProQual Level 2 Award in Rainscreen Cladding Installation qualification will be assessed by ProQual-approved training providers through Tequ’s innovative learning platform.

It is supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and provides digital-first delivery, which aims to make learning agile to the needs of those undertaking the course.

The qualification allows trainees to develop their knowledge and skills in a workplace environment, covering criteria such as health and safety, fire risks, equipment preparation and installation method.

ProQual business services manager Mike Hewitt said: “With the ongoing need to remediate cladding work across the country, it became starkly clear to us that the training courses available on the market were too time-consuming.

“We wanted to help provide a qualification in a more efficient manner, and provide the future of learning with e-portfolios and CVs.

“We are proud of what we have produced, and look forward to working with Tequ and the training providers to get our first learners fully qualified and out on site with the job-specific skills they need.”

Tequ chief executive Jenni Longden said: “We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with ProQual to deliver this much-needed, skills-specific training course into the construction industry.

“The shortage of trained rainscreen-cladding installer professionals is a problem for the sector, so it’s important that we tackle that as quickly as possible.

“Shorter, more specific and agile qualifications are a key way for us to do this, which aligns with what the industry needs and what people want from their training too.”

Analysis after the Grenfell Tower disaster identified a total of 477 high-rise residential and publicly-owned buildings as having aluminium composite-material cladding, which needs to be removed.

The Building Safety Bill and Fire Safety Act will increase cladding remediation work, making it crucial to address the shortage of trained professionals capable of doing it.

The Competence Framework – Installer Pilots report, compiled by the WG2 steering group, formed on the back of the Hackitt review into building safety, identified issues with the number of cladding trainers, saying it threatened to interrupt the installation of cladding on new buildings, as well as the remediation of existing ones.

For further information on the ProQual Level 2 Award in Rainscreen Cladding Installation, follow this link.

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