Virtual Construction Course Options
Construction training doesn’t naturally lend itself to online training, as candidates will need to prove the majority of their newfound skills to an instructor in person before they can be awarded with the relevant certification and competency to take these skills to their job.
That being said, the past year with COVID-19 and lockdowns has thrown up challenges around face to face training that needed quick responses from the different bodies and institutions that need to ensure construction workers are safe and competent onsite. As such, new and innovative ways of virtual training have been developed to address both the COVID pandemic and also offer future increased flexibility for online training where possible.
Benefits of online training
The benefits of online training in general are many, although do not apply to all areas of construction; plant training, for example, where there will always be a need for candidates to operate real machinery before they can be classed as skilled workers.
- Increased flexibility for workers to train around their onsite commitments, often accessing virtual learning resources at unsociable hours to combine both and receive their qualifications in a quicker time.
- As such, companies benefit from not being short of staff when they are away training.
- Reduced travelling which again offers increased flexibility and is also better for the environment
Online Construction Training Options
There are a number of online construction training options depending on the needs and requirements of the candidates in question.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) reacted to the COVID pandemic by changing the rules of the scheme to allow for remote training of all their Site Safety Plus courses. This is under the “Appendix Q – Emergency Training Provision Scheme Rules” which are temporary, but have been extended into 2021 with no end date at this time.
The courses available under these rules include:
- SMSTS (+Refresher)
- SSSTS (+Refresher)
- Health & Safety Awareness
- Director’s Role for Health & Safety
- Temporary Works courses; TWGATC, TWCTC & TWSTC
The content of these courses is the same as that delivered during an in-person course, it is just the delivery that is different.
As well as online training, many providers now offer digital certification, for example:
IOSH e-learning courses were available for a number of years prior to COVID; for example, the e-learning version of the Working Safely course was originally launched in 2012.
IOSH courses can be applied to a number of sectors, with the Working Safely and Managing Safely courses available online. These courses include full tutor support and allow candidates to work at their own pace around their existing commitments.
IOSH have also recently joined forces with WHO to deliver virtual courses worldwide on managing COVID risks, using the OpenWHO online learning platform.
International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform) courses for Operators are available remotely for all MEWP categories (1a, 1b, 3a, 3b), as well as MEWP for Managers courses.
Those who pass these courses will still have to pass a supervised theory test within a set time period* at an IPAF approved training centre as well as a minimum of half a day practical training / testing before they will be classed as being qualified for a PAL card.
*At the moment, this period is set at 90 days due to the ongoing COVID situation but is normally 45 days. This will be reviewed regularly.
This is not a full list but gives a good overview of the related remote learning courses available for construction sector personnel.
- Manual Handling
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
- CDM (Construction Design and Management Regulations) training
- Asbestos Awareness
- Fire Safety courses
- Electrical Safety
- Risk Assessment training
- Health and Safety in a Construction Environment (Level 1)
- Mental Health training courses
- Slips, Trips and Falls
- PPE training
- Working in Confined Spaces
- Working at Height
As well as remote delivery of different courses, certain institutions and bodies have started to release their certification digitally. These include:
- CITB (as a PDF; they will be accepted by the CSCS and JIB for CSCS Labourer “Green” cards and the Plumbers Mate & Plumber Labourer cards.
- IOSH (as a PDF; printed certificates are still currently available but not offered as standard)
- IPAF (the ePAL app, which stores your PAL card and licences for UK and Ireland qualification holders).