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Check card careers

Letters

The story regarding the Highways Agency's proposal to bar consultants without a CSCS card from future work on motorways and trunk roads (NCE 6 May) implies a lack of understanding by Mr Rowsell of the scheme.

The CSCS cards are intended to provide evidence of not only someone's health and safety knowledge but also the technical skills to do the job for which they are being employed on site. The construction of new roads requires a wide range of specialist skills and expertise for which no CSCS cards exist.

How will the Highways Agency and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme deal with the need for geotechnical and geo-environmental engineers, geotechnicians and similar specialists?

My involvement as a geotechnical engineer for the last 25 years suggests that these skills are vital on site. But CSCS does not recognise the geotechnical industry specifically.

Several of my staff have CSCS cards, including me, but as contract managers, site managers or construction site operatives. Four engineers have 'non availability letters' issued by CSCS. These engineers have taken the CSCS health and safety test but cannot have a card. None of the cards my staff hold proves their skills in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering.

How will the necessary NVQ be obtained by the summer - by consultants who doubtless already have degrees and professional membership of ICE or other relevant organisations?

Greg Southgate, director, RSA Geotechnics, Greg. southgate@rsageotechnics.co.uk

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