How do I become a scaffolder?
Scaffolding operative training and assessment is provided by Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) Accredited Centres, which are nationally recognised in the UK. The scheme provides the New Entrant/Scaffolder Labourer Course, CISRS Scaffolder Part 1 and Part 2 Courses.
To become a fully qualified scaffolder, to advanced level should take about three years to achieve. An apprenticeship will usually take 18 months to complete. All of your training will take place in a training centre or college.
Whilst there are no set entry requirements, experience on a construction site would be useful. After the induction period, you will need to pass a CITB Health and Safety test, and obtain a CISRS trainee scaffolder card.
Basic scaffolder qualification
To achieve the basic scaffolder qualification, you will be required to attend a one day CISRS Operatives Training Scheme (COTS) course. Following six months of practical experience, more training will be provided.
Whether you choose tube and fitting or system scaffolding, you will need to attend two ten day courses, which will be followed by a practical assessment. At this point, your trainee card will be issued.
A further six months of practical experience will follow this, and you will begin your S/NVQ level 2. You will be expected to produce a portfolio of the work you have done. Whilst you will be supported in order to complete this, it must be your own work. When this has been demonstrated, your final assessment, consisting of a one day skills test, will be booked.
Once all of these criteria have been met, you will be issued with your CISRS tube and fitting or system scaffolder card. This card will be endorsed with the training courses and S/NVQ courses that you have achieved.
Advanced scaffolder qualification
If you have opted to become a tube and fitting scaffolder, you may wish to become an advanced scaffolder. In this case, your training will be followed by a further twelve months of practical experience. Advanced training will then be provided and you will begin your S/NVQ level 3. Then you’ll need another six more months of practical experience under your belt, and finally, you’ll have a two day CISRS skills test. Upon successful completion of this, your advanced scaffolder card will be issued.
You should take into account your level of physical fitness and stamina before embarking on an apprenticeship in scaffolding. Due to the lifting of heavy items, long days with early starts, and working outdoors in challenging weather, scaffolding is one of the most demanding jobs in construction.
Skills that are useful when considering a career as a scaffolder include the ability to work well with your hands, paying attention to detail, a good overall level of fitness and the ability to cope well with working at height.
Eventually, with experience, you could become a scaffolding supervisor. Other career progression opportunities include scaffolding designer or construction manager, or even setting up your own business.