Building qualifications — what’s involved?

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One of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation’s (BCITO) key responsibilities is to develop and implement industry qualifications for the construction sector. It has launched two new qualifications during 2005, including the National Certifi cate in Construction (Supervisors, Level 5) and the National Certificate in Construction (Leading Hand, Level 4). These qualifications address the technical, supervisory and communications skills required by leading hands or supervisors in the construction industry. 

It is anticipated that they will be delivered by providers/polytechnics in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Two additional qualifications are currently being developed for small business management and project management. 

They require further research and consultation to ensure they fulfil the needs of industry — work on which will continue in 2006. However, many industry players are unaware of how these qualifications and standards are developed. It is a collaborative process involving people from various organisations and areas who work together to ensure industry needs are met. The majority of qualifications in New Zealand are developed around “unit standards” which are registered on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. 

Unit standards are grouped together to make up a qualification, with each unit standard representing specific skill requirements. The final qualification highlights the required skill set as defined by the construction industry — skills which are seen as essential in order for employees to perform their jobs to a satisfactory level. 

Developing a qualification The process for developing a qualification begins with a request from industry or through BCITO regional and national advisory group meetings. Following this, the qualification is extensively scoped. Research is undertaken to identify what is involved in providing a “National Certificate” for the sector. 

A qualification outline is then drafted in consultation with industry representatives and BCITO staff. Factors considered include the qualification level and target audience. Further research is conducted to flesh out the qualification. Finally, the unit standards that form the new qualification are drafted. 

Depending on the sector, resource materials are written or sourced. The BCITO works closely with BRANZ and other agencies and organisations to find suitable reference material that is current and authoritative. Further consultation is carried out with advisory groups and working parties. 

This involves people who may be working in the industry — either teaching or sector representatives — or people who are part of the manufacturing process. Once this work is completed, the unit standards and qualification are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) who assess the proposal and ensure it meets registration criteria. This process generally takes three to six months. 

The unit standards and qualification are then registered on the qualification framework, and it becomes part of the BCITO’s set of National Certificates. However, the process doesn’t end there. Assessors must be trained and registered, a pilot is usually run to iron out any issues, a review is undertaken, any modifications are implemented and marketing material is developed. 

BCITO staff are also brought up to speed with the new qualification. 

• For more information contact your local BCITO office on 0800 4 BCITO (0800 422 486).