Skillcard-presentation

Luke Copper Solomons of Price Building Services receiving the first digital SKILLcard from Lord Martin O’Neill (left) and B&ES president Jim Marner

UK: Luke Copper Solomons, an apprentice at Price Building Services of Wallington, Surrey, has been issued with the first “smart” Engineering Services SKILLcard.

The Engineering Services SKILLcard is the first of the specialist schemes affiliated to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to switch to chip-enabled smart technology.

Luke was presented with the card during the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) Meeting the Industry’s Skills Challenge conference, held at the Wellcome Collection in London last week.

The SKILLcard is used by more than 50,000 mechanical engineering workers and professionals to provide proof of their skills and to access project sites in line with health and safety legislation. The “smart” version of the Engineering Services SKILLcard is part of a strategy to further improve professional standards across the building engineering services industry.

The greater functionality means employers and site managers will be able to check the holder’s qualifications and skills much more quickly; with information on the card accessible via smartphone, card reader or tablet. The information held on the card will also be more accurate as it can be rapidly updated with any new skills and qualifications – also any qualifications that lapse can be quickly removed.

Beric Davis, managing director of Reference Point – the company that developed the cards, told the conference that it was “almost impossible” to counterfeit smart cards and lost or stolen cards could be cancelled immediately.

Peter Rimmer, B&ES head of employment and skills, told the conference that SKILLcard had made a “huge contribution” to improving professional and health and safety standards since its initial launch in August 2001 and had long since become an established feature of the fabric of the industry.