Friday, November 13, 2015


The first “smart” Engineering Services SKILLcard was presented in front of a packed conference room at the Wellcome Collection in London last week.

Luke Copper Solomons, an apprentice plumber with Price Building Services of Wallington, Surrey – a long-established member of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) – received the first digital version of a SKILLcard, which is used by more than 50,000 mechanical engineering workers to provide proof of their skills and to access project sites in line with health and safety requirements.

He was presented with his card during the BESA Meeting the Industry’s Skills Challenge conference by Association president Jim Marner and conference chairman Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan. The Engineering Services SKILLcard is the first of the specialist schemes affiliated to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to switch to chip-enabled smart technology.

The greater functionality means that employers and site managers will be able to check the holder’s qualifications and skills much more quickly, with information on the card accessible via smartphone, card reader or tablet. The details held on the card will also be more accurate as it can be rapidly updated with any new skills and qualifications – and any qualifications that lapse can be readily removed.

Smart cards are also much more difficult to fake, so will help the industry to tackle counterfeiting and misuse by unqualified “cowboy” operatives.

Beric Davis, managing director of Reference Point, the company that developed the cards, told the conference that it was “almost impossible” to counterfeit smart cards, while lost or stolen cards can be cancelled immediately.

Peter Rimmer, BESA head of employment affairs and skills, explained that SKILLcard had made a “huge contribution” to improving professional and health and safety standards since its launch in August 2001, and was now regarded as the benchmark for such schemes across the industry.

More than 160,000 people have qualified to receive one of the cards since then – all of whom have had to prove their technical competence and grasp of health and safety issues.

Mr Rimmer added that the SKILLcard system had “made the market for health and safety training”, as well as providing valuable incentives for young engineers to improve their qualifications and technical competences.

“It is a real coup for our sector to be leading the way as the first specialist CSCS scheme to go digital,” he said.

The application process via the recently updated SKILLcard website ( remains unchanged, and the current printed cards will be valid until their expiry date.

The cost of a new smart SKILLcard is £40.00, and renewal reminders will be issued to holders in the usual way.


Picture caption:

Luke Copper Solomons of Price Building Services receives the first digital SKILLcard

from Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan (left) and BESA president Jim Marner (right) at the Wellcome Collection in London.


Notes to Editors:

Further information from Jack McDavid on 020 7313 4909 (


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