IMG_1216As of 1st July 2017 all CISRS Scaffolder and Advanced cards can only be renewed with a CISRS 2 Day Scaffolder Refresher Course.


Background to CPD Introduction

The issue of CPD and refresher training for Scaffolders has been discussed on many occasions over the last 10 years.

The HSE wrote to CISRS in June 2014 requesting that CPD should be incorporated into the scheme.

At the ASITO meeting in September 2015 following lengthy discussions on the topic of CPD, including likely content, method of delivery, course duration etc. a working Party was set up, which included an ex NASC President and representatives from contracting scaffolding companies.

The Working Party held its first meeting January 2016, at this meeting the proposed content, duration and method of delivery was agreed, based upon previous discussions at ASITO.

In March 2016 this information was passed onto NASC members at the regional meetings and then to industry via press releases, website postings etc. It has received a mixed response, however there are many across the whole of industry who have welcomed the idea. Much of the initial opposition to the introduction of CPD appears to be cost and who will pay for the course rather than the principle of CPD itself.

The introduction of CPD has been driven by the HSE and the wider industry. It has been recognised that the necessary levels of practical skills can be achieved via approved training, assessment programmes and experience in the workplace, however the operative needs to ensure that they are kept up to date with current best practice, changes to legislation etc.

Following the publication of the Industrial Strategy for Construction in 2013, the construction industry has refocussed its efforts on ensuring the workforce is appropriately qualified. Continuous professional development (CPD) is an effective method of ensuring all construction workers keep up to date with the latest developments and processes. CSCS welcomes the introduction of CPD as part of the renewal process for a CISRS card, further reinforcing the highly skilled reputation of UK scaffolders.”

Graham Wren

Chief Executive

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)


The introduction of CPD for Scaffolders has not been driven by Training Providers and cannot be described as a “Knee Jerk” reaction. It is an agenda that has been pushed by wider industry for many years, particularly the HSE in the case of scaffolding. CISRS and ASITO have been convinced it is the right thing to do for our safety critical sector.


We already train our operatives?

All good employers will strive to keep their employees up to date with the relevant information through additional training, tool box talks etc, however this is not the case in all instances.

Some scaffolders may not have received any additional training or information since initially obtaining their scaffolder card, which could have been many years ago and possibly through Industry accreditation/Grandfather rights.

CISRS would find it very difficult to verify exactly what additional training had been received by individual scaffolders in the previous 5 years of holding their cards. Other issues would include what the qualifications were held by the person who delivered the additional training, what was the method of delivery, where it was delivered etc.

In order to ensure that all CISRS card holders receive the correct information, regardless of whether they work for a responsible employer or otherwise, it is essential that they all attend the 2-day course with an approved training provider prior to renewing their card.


Why do we need CPD?

Scaffolding is often viewed as a high risk occupation, when carried out properly this is not the case. However, we need to ensure that the operatives have the correct and up to date information and knowledge that will continue to allow them to work safely.

“‘HSE Inspectors sometimes come across scaffolders on site who are not up to date on current accepted practices with respect to safe erection and dismantling of scaffolding. This is an issue that is easily resolved through CPD and HSE welcomes the introduction of this into the CISRS scheme. This brings the scheme into line with many other construction trades and it will have a very positive effect, particularly for those who may not have received any formal training in many years. It should help employers demonstrate that their operatives have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to fulfil their duties under the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015.”

Ray Cooke

Head of Construction Sector Safety Unit

Health & Safety Executive

Why Now?

CPD has been on the agenda for a long time, when it was agreed to incorporate it into the scheme, we decided that a long lead in time was required to ensure that industry was ready for its introduction. Whatever date was chosen to introduce a new requirement, there would always be those who fall either side of the deadline. We were aware that 2016 was going to be a large card renewal year. Around 8000 operatives due to renew their cards this year. In 2017 this figure will drop to around 4000, with the introduction of CPD in July 2017, approximately half of these operatives will miss the CPD programme this time round. CPD had to start sometime and it was agreed with a one year lead in time, it would be July 2017.

Other trades don’t do it!

CPD and additional training on top of trade competence is already in operation across a wide range of sectors; Plant, Steeplejacks, Lightening Engineers and some of these trades e.g. Plumbing/Gas Fitters are required to undertake a minimum of 30 hrs CPD on an annual basis (150 hours over 5 years). CISRS are looking to introduce 2 days, in effect 14 hours of CPD on a 5 yearly cycle.

What will be included in the course?

Please refer to the CPD April Update for the course content.

Why does it need to be 2 days?

It was apparent when considering the proposed content, that this could not be covered in 1 day.

Other than ensuring that all individuals were up to speed with the latest relevant industry guidance (TG20, SG4 etc.) at the time of card renewal, the working party was looking to include as much value added training as possible.

Scaffold inspection modules are now included in Pt1, Pt 2, and Advanced Courses. In order to maintain this status, we have included a scaffold inspection module within CPD training. This will also allow those who qualified several years ago to have their cards endorsed accordingly, Scaffolder cards endorsed with Basic Inspection and Advanced cards with Advanced Inspection.

Alloy Tower modules are now included in Pt1, Pt 2, and Advanced Courses and a this endorsement is now put onto cards. In order to maintain this status, we have included an Alloy Tower module within CPD training. This will allow those who qualified several years ago to gain the Alloy Tower endorsement on their card.

The CPD programme will include a Health, Safety & Behavioural Test which will negate the need to complete a separate CITB HS&E Test. This will save the time which is lost having to do this separate test.


How much will it cost?

CISRS does not set prices for courses delivered by their providers, the market sets the price. However, prices are expected to be in line with current rates for short duration courses (COTS/SSPTS/SITS) ranging from around £250 – £350 +VAT (these are estimated prices you will need to contact the centre directly). These may vary due to location and centre status, as some centres have charitable status and do not charge VAT.

The courses will attract attendance grant funding (£50 per day) for those who pay CITB levy and ASITO will approach CITB to see if there would be any additional funding available to offset the costs of CPD.

Will I still need to pass the CITB HS&E Test?

No, a health and safety element will be included in the 2 Day CPD Course which (if passed) will negate the need for the CITB HS&E Test. Revision Booklets for the CPD Health, Safety & Behavioural Test will be available from CISRS Training Centres upon booking.

Can you fail the course?

No, all delegates who attend the CPD course will have completed the refresher training required to renew their card. They can however fail the Inspection and Alloy Tower modules, which will result in these endorsements not being added to the renewed card. They can also fail the Health, Safety & Behavioural Test which will mean that they have to submit evidence of a CITB HS&E Test passed within 2 years, or an accepted exemption to have a card issued. No re-takes of any tests will be permitted.

How do I get my new card?

CISRS Training Centres have all been required to sign up to a ‘Cards Without Application’ system, which means that CPD delegates will not need to submit applications for card renewals. It should be noted however, that if a delegate fails the CISRS Health, Safety & Behavioural Test, they will need to submit separate evidence of a CITB HS&E Test (or recognised exemption) to have their renewed card issued.

Can I renew my card before CPD comes in?

Yes, however cards can only be renewed within 6 months of the current card’s expiry date. Any applications received for renewals outside of this period will be rejected.

What will be endorsed onto my renewed CISRS card?

All renewed CISRS cards will be endorsed with Scaffolder Refresher CPD to show the card holder has received this training. If the delegate passes the additional Inspection and/or Alloy Tower modules, these endorsements will also be added. Please refer to the CPD April Update for more information about endorsements.

Where can a CPD course be booked, can it be delivered in-house or on-site?

CPD courses can only be delivered by CISRS Registered Instructors at CISRS Accredited Training Centres. Centres with Part 2 approval can deliver the Scaffolder CPD course and centres with Advanced approval can deliver both the Scaffolder and Advanced CPD courses. To ensure that the correct facilities, training structures, equipment etc. are used, CPD courses cannot be delivered in-house or on-site.

Can a course take place at the weekend?

The scheme rules allow for CPD courses to be run over weekends. If there is sufficient demand, centres may introduce weekend courses.

Can Scaffolders and Advanced Scaffolders attend the same course?

Yes Scaffolders and Advanced Scaffolders may be booked onto the same CPD course. They will however be separated for the card specific Inspection Module.

Is this just a money making scheme?

CISRS is a not for profit organisation. CISRS’ main source of income is from cards, it receives no income from course fees. If the strategy of CISRS was to simply make money from card sales, it would look to make cards easy to obtain e.g reduce training & assessment requirements and increase the cost of cards. The CISRS card has remained at £26.50 for the last six years, this increased from £23.50 which had remained at that level for ten years, making the cost of a CISRS card lower than almost all other industry recognised cards. This is the opposite of what CISRS wants to achieve, our aim is to continue to improve the CISRS Scheme and to raise it’s standing amongst industry. CISRS’ view is that Scaffolders are tradesmen and as such need to follow the lead of other trades that already require Refresher/CPD Training.

Will there be any funding available for the CPD Course?

All levy payers will be able to apply for CITB short duration training daily attendance grant for £50 per day

Via website

CISRS are running a pilot with NASC members which will hopefully be getting that figure raised to £100 per day for CPD when new funding (2017/18) is made available in September.


This page will be kept updated with any new information and any new FAQs.