When talking about the scaffolders, it is about site operative and not about scaffold designers. The latter makes load calculations and architect the structure. While the former works on-site to assemble (erect), alter, and dismantle a scaffold or, at least, assist the pipeline.
In this post, we will consider scaffolding erectors (aka site operatives) exactly. So, if you want to have a clear idea of how to become a scaffolder, this post is right for you!
There are no entry requirements such as education or special construction knowledge for becoming a scaffolder. However, you need to possess some skills that are highly valuable for any site operative:
• Skills to work at height and no acrophobia
• Good balance, quick reaction, and physical strength
• Skills to work in teams (after all, scaffold erection is teamwork)
• Ability to follow instructions strictly
Care for safety and understanding that you never must endanger yourself and people around you If you have got all these skills and abilities, you have all the chances to make a career as a scaffolder.
Though no entry requirements are set, there are training requirements in the industry. In other words, no scaffolding company will engage you even for a simple “bring this and that” job unless you have special training under a CISRS scheme. So, you need to take CISRS courses to gain scaffolding knowledge and practical skills. After each course, you need to pass your knowledge and skill assessment.
Here, you can get a labourer, trainees scaffolder, or basic access system erector card. The sequence is as follows:
• To get a labourer or trainee scaffolder qualification, you should complete the CISRS course (COTS), which lasts one day. Besides, you need to pass the CITB (health and safety) test. Together, it will take no longer than ten days to complete these two courses.
• To get a qualification as a basic access system erector, you should take a 5-day base course. This enables you to erect structures of up to 6 metres (under the supervision of a qualified scaffolder).
To become a self-sufficient scaffolder and be able to lead a gang, you must receive additional training. It will take three years to reach the advanced level:
• To work as a system or tube and fitting scaffolder, you should get 6 months of practice as a labourer or trainee scaffolder. By this time, you have to create a portfolio. Then, take CISRS S/NVQ level 2/ Part 1 / Part 2 training. After passing the test and portfolio assessment successfully, you will receive the system or tube and fitting scaffolder qualification.
• To become an advanced scaffolder, you should practice in the industry 1 year more. Then, get CISRS training for mastering S/NVQ level 3. When you get extra 6 months of practice, you can pass the final test.
After this, you will reach the highest level of scaffolding skills and will be able to work on complex projects.