Staff have four weeks to show they are serious about obtaining skill card or they face axe next year

The Major Contractors Group this week warned construction workers that they have four weeks to prove that they have signed up for a CSCS card or face exclusion from MCG sites after 1 January.

CITB–ConstructionSkills said 12,000 workers had made use of the Skills Direct service set up last month to fast-track card applications. A spokesman at CITB said this figure for the first month of its operation would have to rise to 15,000 a month to include all the workers that would be affected.

MCG members which include Bovis Lend Lease, Wates and Costain, have agreed that from next month every construction worker on site must have the appropriate skills card or at least have taken steps to do so by registering with Skills Direct.

The MCG said it would carry out an audit of workers on their sites at the beginning of October.

Mark Bodger, acting head of certification for CITB-ConstructionSkills said: “The clock is ticking for construction workers to get ready for the new deadlines. The reality is, getting carded isn’t a luxury for the few, it’s a necessity for all.”

The clampdown by MCG and demand for full compliance was announced in July to demonstrate that it was serious about a “no card, no work” policy.

Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the MCG said: “It should now be obvious to everyone working in the industry that the concept of a fully qualified workforce is fast becoming a reality. Clients are demanding it of their main contractors, which in turn are demanding it of supply chains.”

About 830,000 people in the industry are CSCS card holders. CITB-ConstructionSkills said this week that it expected to process up to 140,000 applicants before the end of this year and that it had the capacity to process 750,000 applications a year.