The Access Industry Competence Scheme (AICS) provides skills cards for the access and scaffolding industry. It was launched in 2018 at the request of employers, to promote compliance with the requirements of current standards and regulations. It aims to apply common standards for all access and scaffolding professionals. AICS covers a range of scaffolding and access related categories, and more are continually added.
What is AICS
AICS is the industry’s newest scheme for access and scaffolding professionals. The scheme provides a simple, consistent way for access and scaffolding professionals to show that they have the required training, qualifications and skills to be issued with a competence card. The Management Committee will be made up of representatives from all sectors of the industry that are covered by the competence scheme.
What are the aims and benefits of the AICS?
AICS aims to:
- provide identification for access and scaffolding professionals and those involved with access and scaffolding by recognising skills, knowledge and understanding, competence and qualifications
- raise health, safety and environment standards through a programme of health, safety and environment testing to prove workers have met the schemes required standards
- promote standards of learning and assessment to equip individuals with relevant skills and knowledge to seek employment within the industry
- keep a record of workers in the construction and allied industries who have achieved a recognised level of ability and competence, and to provide a means of identification
- be self-financing; with any surplus funds being used for the benefit of the scaffolding and access industry
- encourage construction and allied employers to use certificated and competent access and scaffolding professionals
What is the scope of AICS?
- The Scheme will provide records of certification for access and scaffolding professionals and associated occupations.
- Membership of the Scheme will be voluntary, but may be mandatory on many construction sites and in other work environments where stipulated by organisations controlling the work area.
- Compliance with the contents of this Scheme Booklet will be a requirement for card holders.
- There are no age requirements for Scheme membership. However, in some cases legislation or company policy regarding the use of access and scaffolding equipment may specify different age limits for a defined working environment or task.
- Basic skills and understanding, and competency standards are defined by the Scheme for:
– Access industry operatives, inspectors, supervisors and managers
- A variety of access and scaffolding equipment will be covered by AICS, and new plant and equipment will be continually added at the request of industry.
- Categories are defined; as an agreed duty or occupation involving access and scaffolding operations.
- Certain categories will have endorsements; subcategories reflecting the variation in a category. Endorsements are defined as either:
- Separate – Each endorsement will be detailed separately on the AICS card, or
- Senior – Only the higher or most senior endorsement will be inscribed on the AICS
What are the standards that define the scheme?
- Categories within AICS are derived through employer consultation and relevant national occupational standards, and are subject to continual review to ensure the Scheme meets employers’ needs.
- Subject-specific Technical Advisory Groups will meet to review current learning and assessment criteria, and develop learning and assessment standards when new categories are being introduced.
- AICS will work closely with organisations, employers, and access and scaffolding professionals to ensure that the standards for access and scaffolding categories are relevant, and up-to-date.
- The Scheme adheres to Codes of Practice, British Standards and other sector-led guidance documents for many items of access and scaffolding plant and equipment. AICS follows the principles and requirements of BS EN 17024 – General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons.
- National Standards will be continually monitored to ensure they are relevant to the outcomes the scheme sets. The Scheme acknowledges that flexibility is needed in some instances; however, deviations from test and assessment standards will be approved by the Technical Advisory Groups through prior consultation with employer organisations.
What are the core elements?
- The provision of suitable training is the responsibility of the employer under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. AICS will provide employers with the assurance that the access and scaffolding professionals they employ that hold AICS cards have demonstrated an appropriate level of skill and understanding through a testing process based on industry defined standards.
- It is the responsibility of both the employer and the access and scaffolding professional to determine training needs and to ensure that appropriate training is received.
- AICS is committed to the promotion and recognition of vocational qualifications (S/NVQ). Where it is appropriate the record scheme supports the attainment of the NVQ Diploma in Accessing Operations and Rigging (Construction) (QCF/ RQF) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) in Scotland. Refer to Vocational Qualifications
- However, AICS recognises that not all operatives achieved their competency through vocational qualification. It is the role of the Technical Advisory Groups to determine how these individuals comply with the scheme. Operatives who do not hold a S/NVQ should contact the Scheme office on 0300 124 0469 or by emailing [email protected]