Scaffolding apprenticeship reaches new heights at Mount Lucas

by | Aug 5, 2021

New scaffolding training due to get underway this autumn will help meet the evolving needs of the industry. CIF and the National Association of Scaffolding and Access Contractors (NASAC) in collaboration with Laois and Offaly Education Training Board and the National Construction Training Centre at Mount Lucas launch the new scaffolding apprenticeship with the first intake on September 13.

Mount Lucas has constructed a 650m2 purpose built scaffolding unit welcoming Larry Henry and Fergus Sheerin on board as new instructors. NASAC contractors, under the chairmanship of Derrick Enright, were keen to formalise training to match the evolution of industry needs. This includes providing specific knowledge, skills, and competence, which the apprenticeship offers. Health and safety also continues to be a major concern as the trade involves working at height and keeping other trades safe on site.

NASAC approached LOETB to develop the apprenticeship and the proposal was submitted to Solas. A consortium steering group was formed with the apprenticeship going into development and validated by QQI last October. The apprenticeship offers a Level 5, two[1]year programme with apprentices working on the job with their employer coupled with training in the Mount Lucas centre.

Year one covers modules in basic scaffolding principles and developing industry skills such as erecting and dismantling scaffolding. In the second year, the apprentice will progress to management and control of scaffolding and complex structures culminating in a capstone module, which encompasses their overall learning.

How to employ an apprentice

To employ an apprentice, the scaffolding company must firstly contact their Solas Authorised Officer (AO) in their local Education and Training Board located around the country. The AO will schedule a site visit to assess employers and complete the suitability to train form. The employer must demonstrate the capacity and the ability to provide quality, relevant on-the-job training to apprentices as per the requirements of the national apprenticeship system.

Upon approval, the employer will be registered as a National Apprenticeship Employer. The employer must also provide a mentor who is responsible for overseeing the apprentice. The mentor is required to have a minimum of five years scaffolding experience, hold a valid CSCS card or equivalent and must have undertaken the one-day workplace mentor programme.

The training allowance is paid by the employer both on and off the job with year one based on 50 per cent of the current craft rate. Year two is based on 75 per cent of the current craft rate. The apprentice must have three months’ site experience. The AO will arrange a visit to complete the suitability to train form.

Here’s what’s needed:

  • Mentor qualifications
  • Copy of valid CSCS card or equivalent
  • Apprentice’s education transcripts
  • Copy of valid SafePass
  • Signed declaration of work experience

€3,000 incentive scheme

Scaffolding employers can avail of the apprenticeship incentivisation scheme which was announced in the 2020 July Jobs Stimulus package and extended to December 2021. Employers who register an apprentice will be eligible for a €3,000 grant, receiving €2,000 in year one, and €1,000 in year two, should the apprentice still be in their employment.

Special thanks to: NASAC | Rob Downey, Scaffold Elevation and Consortium Chair | Keith Dwyer, Summit Scaffolding | Ger Crowley, Cork Scaffolding | Yvonne Kearny, Programme Manager | John Kelly, National Programme Co-Ordinator and Mount Lucas Centre Manager

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