Thursday, 5 November 2020
Department of Education and Skills
179. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the alternative delivery plans SOLAS has put in place to assist first-time applicants to safe pass, construction skills and quarrying skills certification courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34278/20]
180. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of first-time applicants waiting to undertake safe pass, construction skills certification scheme, quarrying skills certification scheme courses; the additional costs added to undertake these courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34279/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 179 and 180 together.
Safe Pass courses are delivered by Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) and, as such, there is no central waiting list for first time applicants for Safe Pass training and assessment. The level of provision is responsive and demand-led. 3,131 persons have undertaken Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and Quarrying Skills Certification Scheme (QSCS) training and 34,034 Safe Pass cards have issued between the 11thJune re-opening of the sector and 31stOctober 2020. 10,334 of these were new entrant Safe Pass cards.SOLAS has confirmed that there are no known delays for applicants on Safe Pass, CSCS or QSCS courses at the current time.
In respect of the price being charged for Safe Pass courses, course fees are determined by the ATOs who are independent commercial entities. The maximum number of participants that can attend a Safe Pass course was reduced from twenty to ten participants in line with SOLAS’ Standard Operational Pandemic Containment Guidelines to allow for the re-opening of the sector. There is also a €32 fee payable to SOLAS for the processing, manufacturing and distribution of Safe Pass cards which is unchanged and is generally included in the overall price for attending a course.
The continued delivery of certification schemes to support health and safety in the construction sector during the Covid-19 period is vital and SOLAS is actively examining alternative delivery methods for all applicants to identify a solution that is equitable with existing Safe Pass, CSCS and QSCS course delivery, in being accessible to all eligible workers, providing real time course participant supports and ensuring assessment integrity.