Four Reasons Experienced Construction Workers Should Get an NVQ
A National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is a competence-based qualification carried out in your place of work. If you’ve been working in your trade for several years (or decades) but never gained a qualification, it may be time to consider getting your NVQ through onsite assessment for experienced workers.
Once enrolled, you’ll work with an NVQ assessor to build a portfolio of work-based evidence relating to your work. Evidence can include things like an onsite observation; photographs and videos of you working; witness testimonies and employer endorsements; job logs and professional discussions. To find out more about the NVQ process in construction, check out our NVQ guide.
NVQs in construction start at Level 2 for skilled workers such as bricklayers and joiners (equivalent to gaining GCSEs at grades A-C) and go up to Level 7 in Construction Senior Management (equivalent to a post graduate degree). The level of NVQ that you achieve will determine which CSCS card you can apply for (more on that in a moment).
Are you still undecided about whether it’s worth investing two to four months of your time to complete an NVQ? Read our four reasons why we think getting an NVQ is a smart move for experienced construction workers.
1. Apply For Your CSCS Card
Achieving your construction NVQ – and passing the CITB Health and Safety Test – means you’re eligible to apply for your CSCS card. CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme and is a verification scheme for training and qualifications in the UK construction industry.
CSCS has copped some flack over the years with some seeing it as another ‘tax on the working man’. A lack of consistency in the way it’s been implemented since it first appeared in 1995 means some of the criticism may be justified. But CSCS has undoubtedly helped raise standards in the industry and their smart card scheme has been adopted by most construction sites in the UK. In short: to work in construction, you’ll probably need to apply for a CSCS card at some point. Unless you’re a labourer, achievement of an NVQ Level 2 or higher is needed to apply for your CSCS card.
2. Expand Your Knowledge and Range of Opportunities
Many construction workers who complete an NVQ find that they gain new knowledge and insights into their work. Workers who complete an NVQ Level 2 are also more likely to go onto additional training and qualifications, providing further opportunities for career development.
3. Improve Your Career Prospects and Earning Potential
If goes without saying that having a qualification will do your career prospects no harm at all. You may be looking for justification to ask for a pay increase, or perhaps you’re searching for a new job. Having an NVQ validates, in the eyes of employers and site managers, what you know already – that you have the skills and experience for the job. If you’re worried that the lack of a recognised qualification may hold you back, sign up to an NVQ.
4. Promote Your Business
Gain your NVQ and make sure all potential customers and clients know about it. Sole traders and small businesses can advertise their qualifications and accreditations on their website, on the side of vans or on advertising material. Pick up more business by assuring potential customers and clients that you’re fully qualified.