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Howard Button Hits Out at NVQ Funding Cuts
Having relocated to allow its National Demolition Training Group deliver to higher levels and
quantities of much-needed training for the demolition industry, the National Federation of
Demolition Contractors has seen swinging cutbacks in grant funding undermine its plans for
a fully-carded and competent workforce.
Howard Button, Chief Executive of both the National used to qualify many categories of CPCS Trained Operator
Federation of Demolition Contractors and the National Cards- including excavators, skid steer loaders, wheel
Demolition Training Group and a keen advocate of work- loaders, crushers, screens and access platforms,” explains
force training, has hit back angrily over cuts to NVQ grant training group manager Sophie Francis. “The NDTG has
funding announced by the Learning and Skills Council also confirmed a conversion route with CPCS to add
(LSC). Button believes that these swinging cutbacks will Demolition Plant (A65) to these cards. This will allow
impact upon the demolition industry’s ability to train operatives who have completed the Plant Operations NVQ
staff and will undermine the sector’s drive towards a fully to obtain the CPCS Blue Competence Card for 360
o
carded and competent workforce. excavators to add either Materials Processing or Demolish
up to 15 metres to the back of the card by undertaking
Maintain Commitment
unit VR385 (Operate Plant and Machinery to Demolish).
Following a recent meeting of the Learning and Skills
This can also be achieved through the NDTG. “
Council, training providers (including the National
It’s been a long time coming but Howard Button is relatively
Demolition Training Group) were advised that cutbacks in
upbeat about the final outcome. “This is a satisfactory
funding means that it will “not be enough to support new
outcome for all concerned,” Button asserts. “The CPCS
starts on next year’s contract, and that, initially at least,
management accepted our view that operating a skid
we will only be offering providers an allocation to complete
steer in a groundworking application is fundamentally
learners carried over from the 2008-09 contract year”.
different to operating one on top of a high-rise structure
Button believes that this will impact across the entire
that is being demolished. The new CPCS card scheme
industry but will be felt most acutely within the demolition
will reflect that, as will our in-house training courses.”
business.
Qualification on Hold
“The Demolition NVQ Level 2 has been a great success
due to two factors: the hard work put in by the NDTG; and
Having finally won the battle over the CPCS card scheme,
the grant funding that has been available to contractors in
Button and his team at the NDTG are now bracing
England,” Button asserts. “Almost 200 Demolition VQs
themselves for an even tougher battle, this time against
have been achieved by the NDTG to date in England. This
the LSC’s funding cutbacks.
loss of funding will have a huge and negative impact at a Button further believes that the cutbacks will impact
time when we (the NFDC) are encouraging our members upon a Level 3 vocational qualification that is currently
to maintain their commitment to training at a time of being developed by the National Demolition Training
industry-wide recession.” Group. “We have spent months developing a Demolition-
specific NVQ Level 3. But how many companies will be
Ongoing Impact
willing to shell out £2,000 per man to get this new
The reduction in grant funding comes hot on the heels of
qualification when they could just as easily stick with the
a protracted discussion over the CPCS card scheme.
current NDTG 12-week distance learning course that
Following months of protracted discussions and negotia-
delivers a Supervisor’s gold card. As far as I am concerned,
tions, the NFDC and NDTG signed up to the CPCS scheme
the NDTG’s NVQ Level 3 is now on hold, pending feedback
that contains a few industry-specific compromises.
from the Learning and Skills Council and CITB
ConstructionSkills.”
“The Demolition Plant Qualification (QUB729) can now be
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