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02/09/2002

Facilities have major health and safety concerns – Skillset

Research by Skillset has shown that facilities houses (suppliers of technical equipment and services) have become increasingly concerned about the skills base of clients.
Some crews lack a basic understanding of the kit they are asking for, which could have major health and safety repercussions.
This lack of client skills has resulted in insurance premiums rising and some facilities houses providing training for client companies, which can be hard to implement. The research suggested that these in-house courses could be accredited against Skillset Standards in order to benchmark industry training and complement insurers insistence on evidence of formal qualifications.
The research also found that a specific vocational qualification was needed for grips, this is now being developed by Skillset. A handy `photocard licence` for grips is also being introduced by Skillset for those who have achieved their Skillset Professional Qualifications in lighting and grips.
A key issue is the ageing workforce in this field, many grips will be retiring within the next decade. It was recommended Skillset examine the possibility of a formal apprenticeship scheme to tackle this issue.
Many facilities houses also showed interest in using the government's Modern Apprenticeship scheme to formalise their own in-house training of new entrants and to access government funding. Skillset are in talks with the Learning and Skills Councils in London regarding accessing public funding for such schemes.
Dinah Caine, Chief Executive of Skillset, said: "In the past Skillset has not been able to engage with the facilities sector as much as we would have liked, largely due to funding limitations. However we see this research as the start of a closer working relationship with the sector which will help us promote skills development with facilities houses and enable us to help them match their investment with public funding."
(GB)
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