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PSE goes NVQ

Matthew Julier reports on an innovative training initiative being launched by Portable Sanitation Europe for its members.

Portable Sanitation Europe (PSE) has worked in conjunction with the e-learning provider Human Focus to build on the success of its National Sanitation Qualification (NSQ) introduced six years ago. This year it will launch a new qualification for the industry in the form of an online National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The NVQ is distinctive in that the entire process is entirely online. A benefit of the paperless approach is that bureaucracy does not slow the process down.

Theory and practice

The NVQ can be broken down into two elements, theory and practice, much like a standard driving test. The theory element of the NVQ is completed via e-learning which can be taken from any desktop PC or Android/Apple device and can be done at any time of day. The theory based training involves watching short situational video and animations as well as answering a quiz at the end of each segment. The operator undertaking the training is managed by an internal mentor and the results are overseen and authenticated by an external NVQ assessor.

Challenger Site Services has helped develop the NVQ’s content.

The original NSQ was intended to encourage the take-up of health and safety training in the industry. This was a free but entirely theory-based qualification. However, following the revised CDM Regulations 2018, the NSQ alone is now deemed insufficient, and PSE says that an operative working on a festival or construction site will need to have a Blue ‘Skilled Worker’ card from the construction industry regulating body, CSCS, to meet the requirements.

Access privileges

A meeting between PSE and CSCS determined that PSE member employees will be required to hold a Blue CSCS Skills card in order to access a CDM construction site - which means they have to have a Level 2 NVQ. So, PSE and Human Focus devised a portable sanitation specific Level 2 NVQ that will enable operatives to gain this Blue CSCS Skills card. PSE consulted CSCS and the Modular Portable Building Association (MPBA) trade organisation, which already had an NVQ in place for its industry. This provided a starting point for developing a version for the PSE. After almost three years of work with Human Focus’ MD Ian Pemberton, alongside the awarding body, ProQual, the PSE NVQ is now ready for launch.

One hirer instrumental in developing its content is Challenger Site Services LLP. “We provided documentation and advice in its early stages, filming examples and guidance as it progressed, and testing and trialling towards its completion,” said Robert Allen, Partner.


The practical element involves the mentor filming the operator accomplishing a set of tasks competently and making sure they have completed everything on the checklist. “This practical element can be filmed at a time that suits the business and assessed at a time that suits the assessor,” said Robert Allen.

The PSE says this is just one way of ensuring that people are learning the correct procedures and applying their theoretical knowledge in a real world environment.

“The competency videos individually only need to be about a minute long, and as soon as the mentor is happy that the worker is displaying their knowledge on the subject, they forward it to the assessor who checks all of the performance elements and submits it to Human Focus,” said PSE Administrator Sean Whittle.

The new NVQ training is undertaken online.

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