How many times has a new employee who has not experienced the reality of the drilling industry decided after a few weeks on site that "this is not for me" and left their employment? On the other hand, it is also not that unusual for an employer to decide that the promising new start is actually not so promising after all. In either case, the employer is usually the main looser as they have committed time and money for inductions, basic training, supply of PPE, etc. only to end up back at the start and short of a person.
As access to site in almost all cases these days requires a CSCS card, a further cost is the process of getting a new employee a suitable card. As they are new to the industry, it is unlikely that they will have a suitable qualification for obtaining a CSCS card. Until recently, the options were then:
The employee is registered for Level 2 NVQ in Land Drilling and passes the CITB Health, safety and environment test allowing them to obtain a Trainee CSCS card. This route is fine and if the employee stays with the company the NVQ will be completed and the correct blue Skilled Worker CSCS card will be obtained, also allowing access to the BDA audit scheme. If however the employee leaves after a short time, there is a significant lost outlay involved in a pointless NVQ registration.
The employee completes a Site Safety Plus one day training course or QCF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate, and passes the CITB Health, safety and environment test allowing them to obtain a Labourer CSCS card. This is however not the correct card for someone working on a drilling rig so another qualification route will ultimately need to be followed to demonstrate competence and the company (or in some cases employee) has paid for an unnecessary qualification just to get temporary access to site.
An alternative which is now available is the "Provisional" CSCS card.
Potential use of "Provisional" CSCS cards for Drilling Support Operatives who are new to the drilling industry was proposed by the BDA Training and Education Committee and subsequently discussed and endorsed at the Main Committee on 26th September 2018.
This card is suited to new employees who are working through probationary periods while employers assess their suitability for employment. It also gives the new employee time to decide if they want a career in drilling. The provisional card is only available for those who have never held a CSCS card. Applicants must have passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test within the past two years. The card lasts for 6 months and is not renewable but allows time on site before the upfront expense of registering a new start on an NVQ when they may leave after only a few days. This would give the employer and employee time to see if they were suited to the role. Towards the date of card expiry, the employee should be registered for the Land Drilling NVQ and would be able to obtain a red Trainee card using the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test which they have already passed. As with option 1. Above, progression to NVQ and BDA audit follows.
Further information can be obtained from the CSCS website using the following link to this new card: https://www.cscs.uk.com/card-type/provisional/
Author - Hamish Campbell, Chair of Training & Education Committee, British Drilling Association
Acknowledgements to CSCS