Construction Industry Skill Card
The Construction Industry Skill Card (CISC) started being implemented in 2015 and is currently still in operation.
The Construction Industry Skill Card (CISC) is aimed at providing new skills to people already working in the construction industry.
This instrument will help to address the shortage of skills in the construction industry. It also aims to improve quality standards, health and safety practices and employment conditions in this sector. The policy instrument creates an official method of recognition for people that have worked in the construction industry for years and never had their technical knowledge recognised. Apart from this, the workers will also benefit from training that will in turn lead to higher construction standards, including in health and safety as well as employment conditions.
The CISC is focused on providing a higher quality standard of work for the people employed in the built environment, which includes provisions to upgrade and modernize the service being offered, whilst reaching the standards found in other EU countries.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
The Building Industry Consultative Council is the agency responsible for the implementation of this policy instrument.
While the Building Industry Consultative Council is heading the project, there were a number of other stakeholders involved, including; the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), the Malta College for Art, Science and Technology (MCAST), the University of Malta (UOM), the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties through the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA), the Ministry for Education and Employment through the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC), the Building Regulations Office (BRO), and the Department of Local Government.
The role of the NCFHE was to draw up the competence skills for every trade at the various levels. The Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology and the University of Malta are two of the institution that provided skills training for the participants. In turn, the ETC will be involved when a person does not have a certificate issued by an educational institution, where the Corporation is able to provide a trade test in that particular trade. The BRO is able to enforce the Skills Card legislation, while OHSA's contribution was the development of the course when it comes to health and safety at the workplace. Local Councils, represented by the Department of Local Government, also had a role to play. People interested in applying for Skills Card training courses were able to collect the applications from their respective Local Council, where a number of seminars about the Skill Card also took place.
The Construction Industry Skills Card has been funded through National funds, however, there has been no mention in any official or unofficial documents, of the amount committed in implementing this instrument.
The intended beneficiaries of this policy instrument are the workers in the construction industry, where they will benefit from added skills to match those of their, continuously-changing industry. The industry itself will also be a beneficiary through improvement in health and safety standards, employment conditions and higher quality.
Use of labour market intelligence
Alongside the LMSI tools being used, there are Skill certificates, which are awarded at various levels, namely apprenticeship, operator, craftsman, technician and professional. Assessments are also carried out through appraisals at accredited institutions, and existing operators can be assessed on site by an authorised body. At the same time, all applicants must attend a health and safety awareness course, where after the presentation of skill level certification and attendance of this course, the competent authority would issue the relevant skill card.
Workers are encouraged to apply for the training provided in order to receive the CISC. However, no financial schemes or incentives are being offered, apart from having written recognition of their experience and technical knowledge.
Frequency of updates
The content of the instrument has been formulated by the Education, Training, Classification and Registration of Contractors Working Group and had only minor change after public consultations.
During the first year of implementing the policy instrument, a pilot project was carried out on four trades: tile layers, plasterers and painters, assistant electricians and plumbers. These trades were identified after research showed that local service providers in the tile-laying and decoration sectors are facing the most unfair competition from abusive service providers. The first five years, including the one year pilot project, are being considered as a transition period, after which the CISC will become compulsory for those working under public procurement regulations.
One of the barriers mentioned when it came to implementing the roll-out of the instrument was that the workers were unsure of what Skill Card to apply for, since Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) offered five different levels, each of which had to be applied for separately.
One of the factors that are contributed to the success of the instrument was that electricians were already certified and could thus offer a certain level of standard that could be measured against when training other workers in the construction industry.
Indicators being used to measure the success of the CISC are the increase in productivity and income, and the decrease in work-related injuries for both workers and building contractors.
The creation of Skill Cards for different sectors and industries is not something new, in fact, the CISC by the Building Industry Consultative Council in Malta is based on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) in the United Kingdom.
Evidence of effectiveness
A few weeks after the CISC was rolled-out and started being implemented, a number of workers in the construction industry, including those in restoration works, successfully completed the training that was provided and were given the Skill Card. In the first year of the programme, nearly 100 workers took part in the courses provided by the instrument, and by 2020 all 110 different trades involved in the construction industry will be able to apply for the Skill Card. The instrument is still operational and therefore results are ongoing, however, both authorities and stakeholders alike have praised the creation of the CISC and the synergy this has created between health and safety awareness and the construction industry. Even though Local Governments, through the Government Department responsible, have direct interest in the issue, these have taken a larger role in organising small meetings as well as acting as a one stop shop, for those interested in the CISC.
Engagement of stakeholders
Before the instrument started being implemented BICC's Advisory Board assigned the Education, Training, Classification and Registration of Contractors Working Group to work on the introduction of the Construction Industry Skill Card (CISC) in Malta, and to identify skill gaps in the workforce. This initiative was agreed to by the Government and was included as a measure in the 2015 Government Budget. The BICC, together with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, drafted the White Paper, which clearly outlined the aim of the Skill Card and the role of each stakeholder in the implementation of the policy instrument. A public consultation on this White Paper was also held a later stage.
The CISC could be easily transferable and replicated in other EU Member States that wish to regulate and improve the standards in the built environment. This is especially so when it comes to certifying skills in location-particular trades and health and safety standards.
After its roll-out in 2015, the Skills Card is currently in its five year transition period, after which the CISC will become compulsory for public procurement contracts, and cardholders will be requested to update their card on a regular basis.