The National Core Competence Benchmark (NCCB)

NCCB Logo and website screenshot

Launched at the NEC May 11th

This new collaborative initiative is designed to reduce the confusion amongst many employers' about which health and safety qualifications their workers need to hold, and which training courses they need to undertake.

If you are confused when trying to decide what training to provide for your staff, either in terms of identifying reputable providers or what level of course required, the NCCB will give clear guidance. It can also help you assess what training you need to provide and assist in establishing the competence of potential contractors.

This initiative is supported by a wide range of trade associations, and it is open to any training course provider. One of the NCCB's innovative elements is a website. You can visit it at www.nccb.info

This lists courses and qualifications which are accredited by trade, safety or examination bodies and ranks them against recognised training frameworks. It is being developed to include numerous recognised courses from a diverse range of training providers including safety bodies and trade associations.

Legally, employers are wholly responsible for judging who is, or is not, competent. This is an onerous duty that is hampered by the lack of any clear standards. The NCCB will come into this gap to offer impartial and highly-practical assistance to employers at the point of them choosing training courses or qualifications for their staff and establishing the competence of contractors.

Employers can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of courses on offer, and the quality of courses varies enormously. Identifying which training promotes real competency can be difficult. That means going beyond training course theory to promoting practical experience.

The website will include a tool for establishing development needs for employees holding specific positions, and it benchmarks the relative level of courses.

The NCCB initiative also includes "smart card training passports" – contractors can store their training histories online and on electronically-readable cards, meaning they can quickly and easily share their records with third parties.

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