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With the CLC decision firmly establishing NVQ standards across all UK construction disciplines, all mainstream organisations linked to the Licensed Asbestos Industry have had to follow ACAD’s lead and embraced NVQ standards. A standard ACAD has been delivering since the year 2000.

For operatives, the choice of competence qualifications is firmly set as the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Removal of Hazardous Waste – Licensed Asbestos (Construction). For supervisors though, there is a choice of routes to take.

The traditional career route will see an operative gain their L2 and then gain their L3 Occupational Work Supervision qualifications. The L3 OWS qualification is used by several specialist industries to demonstrate supervisor competence in their respective disciplines. This qualification was also the first qualification approved by ACAD, ARCA and the NFDC as a qualification for a CLC compliant gold CSCS card almost two years ago now, way back on 17th February 2017, has been available ever since.

CSCS Card scheme rules dictate that a supervisor card holder requires occupational competence in the discipline they are supervising, ie their L2 qualification. Because the Asbestos Industry has never fully embraced NVQ standards, the majority of existing supervisors have never achieved their L2 qualification. As such existing supervisors will need to achieve their L2 qualification in addition to their L3 OWS. An alternative route has been developed that combines most of these two qualifications into a single ‘shell’ called L3 Supervising Licensed Asbestos Removal or L3 SLAR.

So what exactly are the differences between the two routes? In terms of CSCS logoed cards, both routes are recognised for gold supervisor cards so no difference there. The difference lies in the standards underpinning the two routes and the respective sizes of the qualifications. There is also a huge difference to consider in relation to the net cost of the two routes.

When the L3 SLAR was created a number of units from the separate qualifications were not included making the combined qualification that bit smaller, overall roughly 15% smaller in fact. In addition one of the key units from the L3 OWS qualification has been replaced by a lower level and smaller unit. The original unit is entitled ‘Developing and Maintaining Good Occupational Working Relationships in the Workplace’ with learning outcomes ranging from ‘Develop, maintain and encourage working relationships to promote good will and trust’ through to ‘Resolve differences of opinion in ways that minimise offence and maintain goodwill, trust and respect’. ACAD considers the promotion of good working relationships and the maintenance of goodwill and trust to be important attributes of the professional Licensed Asbestos Supervisor and therefore argued against the lowering of this standard but unfortunately these were reduced for the L3 SLAR.

The final difference relates to costs. Given pretty much the same amount of time is required to gather a similar amount of evidence for both routes, the costs for these are as you would expect fairly similar. The choice therefore is whether you want more for your money or less?

The difference though for the 67% (taken from ACAD research) of the Asbestos Industry who are CITB levy payers is clear.

Ask yourself, would you like to receive £600 back (L3 SLAR) or £1,200 (L2 and L3 OWS)?

It’s a bit of a no brainer really for the majority of the Asbestos Industry across the UK…

If you are not a CITB levy payer, perhaps it’s time you properly considered the potential benefits by getting in touch with ACAD.

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