Bling Work Ltd is now officially a CHAS Accredited Contractor!

chas accredited contractorCHAS is The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme and our accreditation shows Bling Work’s continued commitment to maintaining high standards in Health and Safety for our workers and our customers. Working as a construction contractor Bling Work manage our own building sites as well as taking on work on other people’s construction projects. It is therefore important for us, our customers, and the other construction companies we work with to have confidence in our health and safety credentials.

CHAS assess applicants on:

  • Their health and safety policy statement;
  • Their organisation for health and safety;
  • Their specific health and safety arrangements to a standard acceptable to our buyers and to others.

CHAS was setup in 1997 by a group of health and safety and procurement professionals working with the Association of London Government (ALG). The aim was to simplify the process of vetting contractors for organisations such as local government. Instead of the contractor and supplier having to go through all of the health and safety paperwork each time a job was being tendered for the CHAS system allows a central database of accredited contractors to be checked. As a result duplication is reduced in safety applications for both suppliers and buyers and there should be a knock-on improvement in health and safety standards.

The CHAS system is used by more than 500 public and private sector organisations including councils, housing associations, NHS trusts, as well as a growing number of large private companies.

As a company Bling Work are increasingly working with local authorities and public sector organisations in London. Our recent commitment to become a Living Wage was another step taken by Bling Work to meet the requirements of public sector organisations in London. Through our use of the CSCS card scheme Bling Work have always been committed to making sure that our construction workers are properly trained in health and safety rules and procedures. Bling Work’s CHAS accreditation cements this commitment and takes Bling Work another step closer to being the perfect construction contractor for London’s public sector organisations.

What Candidates Should Look For In a Construction Recruitment Agency

Find a job postit notesLike in any industry sector, using a recruitment agency is one of the best ways to find a job in construction. The contacts, market knowledge and sheer volume of potential opportunities that they accumulate make them a powerful ally, and one that can save you a lot of time and effort when looking for work.

If your recruitment agency experience is a positive one, the chances are you’ll use them again as your career progresses. If it isn’t then you’ll know not to use them again in the future, but not before they might have cost you the chance of securing employment somewhere.

It is therefore vital that you work with the best construction recruitment consultants you can find. Here are some key things to look out for before you decide who is best placed to help you achieve your goal of finding work in the construction sector.

Do your research beforehand

To increase your chances of working with a reputable construction recruiter, approach those that have been recommended to you or that you know are specialists within the industry. Word of mouth recommendations are always a good indicator of competence and you can also find out about them by researching their websites, particularly to see if any testimonials are published.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

You have every right to know more about the background and credentials of the recruitment consultant or agency that you plan to deal with. Working with a recruitment agency should be a partnership. In order for it to work successfully, it requires trust and transparency on both sides.

For the consultant it is in their interests to get you a job as they will be paid by the client if they are successful in placing a candidate in a role. Therefore you can expect an experienced, professional recruitment that is knowledge about the construction sector working on your behalf to find a role that is a good match for your experience and skills.

Be prepared to walk away

If you have reason to suspect that the service you’re likely to receive will be less than professional, you’re perfectly entitled to tell a recruitment consultant that you do not wish to work with them.

Examples of dubious recruitment practice would typically include some or all of the following:

  • Forwarding your CV for roles without permission
  • Overselling or underselling a job to you so that you agree to attend an interview
  • Not returning your calls or emails and not giving you feedback throughout the recruitment process
  • Not meeting with you prior to representing you to clients

If you know your recruitment agency is culpable in any of these areas, or you have heard of one that is, you’ll be better off looking for help elsewhere. Candidates should mean as much to recruitment agencies as their clients, but sadly, the actions of some suggest this is not always the case.

If you’re going to entrust a construction recruitment agency with the task of finding you suitable employment, you want one that is going to act with your best interests at heart.

 

Bling Work is a true construction recruitment specialist. Equally valued by both clients and candidates alike, we are experts in matching construction professionals with roles right across the industry. If you are looking for work you can submit your CV through our website or give us a call on 0800 046 0605.

 

Top Tips for Outsourcing Construction Recruitment

Construction Recruitment AgenciesWith so many recruitment agencies in operation these days covering every conceivable industry sector, you might be tempted to outsource the employment search and screening process. It’s a decision that could pay dividends, saving you both time and money and providing you with a level of service that you would struggle to better yourself if you retained the function in-house.

Nevertheless, choosing the right recruitment agency to work with is hugely important and for that reason it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. Just as a good recruitment agency will add real value to your recruitment process by putting forward strong and credible candidates for your vacancies, a bad recruiter can do untold and long-term damage to your business.

No industry is this more applicable to than construction. In a sector where reputation and health and safety mean everything, the implications of using an agency without the necessary construction credentials could be unthinkable.

So how should you go about picking a recruitment agency? Here are some tips to help you choose wisely.

Look for industry specialists

As alluded to, it’s absolutely critical that any recruiter you work with understands the construction industry. If you can use technical terms freely in conversation without taking time out to explain them, this is usually a good indicator of their competence.

An agency proclaiming to be a construction specialist will also know the kind of candidate you’re looking for and specifically the industry qualifications and experience they need to have. It’s always worth asking prospective agencies how well they understand what you do, even those that don’t advertise themselves as a specialist.

Do a price comparison

It’s common for a recruitment agency to charge a set fee, or a percentage of the salary of the role that they’re filling. Be sure to ask around and see if you can find an agency with the requisite industry understanding that charges a lower fee.

At the same time be mindful that the cheapest agencies don’t always provide the best value. You need to find a balance between cost effectiveness and quality of service.

Ask about guarantees

Some recruitment agencies offer a guarantee to make you feel confident about using them. They might offer a reduced fee, or waive their fee completely, if they can’t find a suitable candidate or if the working relationship becomes untenable after just a short period of time.

Check that a guarantee is on offer before agreeing to work with a recruiter as it will afford you some protection in the event of things not working out.

 

Check for professional body memberships

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) are the two major professional bodies that represent staffing and recruitment agencies. You should routinely check that any agency you’re considering is a member of one of these. If they’re not then you should look elsewhere.

Ask about reference checks

It should not be assumed that all recruitment agencies make reference checks to confirm a candidate’s identity and whether they’re being honest about their employment history, as not all of them do. If this is a task you want covered in any agreement, then you need to ask whether it is a service that’s provided.

Ask to see evidence of previous successes

An experienced recruitment agency specialising in the construction industry will have a good track record of successful placements and should have some client testimonials for you to look through. Be wary if they don’t or appear evasive when you ask them about how they’ve helped other construction companies.

Trust your instinct

As with any business relationship, your gut instinct is a powerful tool when assessing how easy a recruitment agency will be to work with.

If you encounter resistance or find they are difficult to communicate with, these are usually good indicators that they’re not going to represent you very well.

 

Bling Work is a specialist in construction recruitment solutions. Run by industry professionals, we are proficient at supplying high calibre tradesmen for your organisation and equally competent at finding work for those with the requisite skills and qualifications. To find out more give us a call on 0800 046 0605

How to get a CSCS Card

CSCS labourer cardWhenever we supply workers to a building site or construction project we make sure that they are properly trained and vetted. We do this to make sure our clients get good quality people and that these people are going to be safe on site.

An important part of our training and vetting process is making sure everyone we deal with holds a valid CSCS card. In cases where we deal with workers from overseas we often help them to organise the training and get the card.

 

What is a CSCS card?

CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme. It is a scheme run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to improve the levels of safety and training on UK building sites. Everyone who is issued with a CSCS card has to pass set health and safety tests and show their current level of training in their particular trade. The cards therefore act as a guarantee that the person turning up on site knows how to work safely and that they have the skills needed to complete their job. There are different levels of cards depending on the level of skill trades people have.

Green – these cards are for general building labourers who have passed a health and safety test.

Red – generally used for trainees and apprentices. These cards show the holder has passed the health and safety tests and that they are working towards qualification in their trade.

Blue – these cards are for workers who have a City & Guilds Craft certificate or NVQ/SVQ L2 qualification in addition to health and safety training

Gold – generally used for supervisors and highly skilled craftsmen. As well as the health and safety training gold card holders need a City & Guilds Indentured Advanced Craft certificate or a level 3 NVQ/SVQ

Black – these cards are for site managers who need to hold a level 4 NVQ/SVQ and to have passed the more advanced health and safety tests

Silver – these cards are for people in “construction related occupations” and who need to visit sites. This can be anything from cleaners and security guards to surveyors and architects

To work out what type of card you need you can use the card finder on the official CSCS website.

 

What do I need to do to get a CSCS card?

Exactly what you will need to do to get the card will depend on the type of card you want. However for all of the cards you will need to pass the Health, Safety and Environment test. There are variations on this test for different types of workers. The main ones being Operative, Labourer, Specialist, or Managers and Professional. There are also specific tests for people working at height or those doing plumbing and gas work. If you aren’t sure which type of health and safety test to take then the card finder will tell you.

You can do the tests direct through the CITB but we tend to use the Construction Support Line as they offer more in the way of training materials. They will also do useful things like remind you when you need to renew your tests and their support is pretty good. They can also help to advise you on what card and tests you need and generally smooth out the process for you.

Once the tests are passed you need to pay for your card (again either direct with CITB or through Construction Support Line) and provide details of any qualifications you have if you are applying for one of the higher level cards. You will then get your card sent out to you in the post. Generally the whole process takes around 3 to 4 weeks.

 

CSCS cards for foreign workers

We often help foreign builders to find work in London and to gain their CSCS cards. For those people where their English isn’t particularly strong it is possible to do some of the health and safety tests in their native language. The Operative level health and safety test can be done with the questions read out in 12 different languages including Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Punjabi. It is also possible to use construction qualifications from abroad in order to gain the higher level cards as long as they are judged to be equivalent to the relevant NVQ level. Whether or not a foreign qualification can be used is judged by a government agency called NARIC. You can find out whether you qualification is valid through the NARIC website.

Working without a CSCS card

We don’t supply any workers who don’t hold a CSCS card and most building sites won’t accept people who don’t have them. It is currently reckoned that around 80% of UK building sites insist that you have a card but on big construction projects it is very hard to get onsite without one.

Having the card means that you are safe to work on a site and know your trade. So most other people on the site aren’t going to want to work with you if you don’t have one.

 

 

 

Upturn in UK Construction Leading to Rising Demand for Workers

Building industry skilled workersAs the UK continues to come out of recession the construction industry is booming. According to industry tracking Markit Economics May saw a sharp upturn in commercial and civil engineering projects but it is residential construction that remains the biggest growth area. The majority of Purchasing Managers are expecting this trend to continue as more and more commercial projects being put out to tender. There is also likely to be a further bump in demand when a number of planned government infrastructure projects start coming online.

While all of this activity is great for the UK economy and the UK construction industry it is starting to cause problems. Some building and construction suppliers are already struggling to keep up with demand for materials. There are also increasing problems with construction recruitment.

The increasing amount of work around has also seen many sub-contractors putting their prices up. Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit explained that the “substantial” rise in sub-contractor charges highlights the “persistent skill shortages in the construction sector”. These sentiments are echoed by Richard Threlfall, from KPMG UK who has said that “The industry is about to be engulfed in a tidal wave of work but it’s struggling already with a huge skills shortage”.

In anticipation of this skills shortage, and in an effort to try and avoid high sub-contractor rates, many large construction companies are already going on recruitment drives to make sure they have enough workers for their key projects. The problem they, and smaller companies, face is that there are simply not enough skilled workers to go around in the UK construction industry and not enough being trained.

 

Supplying skilled construction workers

It is pretty well documented that many building projects now rely on foreign workers. Without skilled construction workers from outside the UK many projects, small and large, simply wouldn’t get done. But as the UK construction industry goes further afield to find the workers it needs we still need to make sure that everyone working on UK sites is working to the right standards and following the proper health and safety procedures.

Bling Work help lots of building companies in London to recruit workers, including those from outside of the UK. We ensure that everyone we send to a site is trained to the same standards regardless of where they come from. This means, at a minimum, making sure they have CSCS cards. In many cases we will also help workers with additional training on specific equipment they may need to use and in getting them up to speed on specific UK rules and regs for their trades.

Ultimately the skills shortage in the UK building industry is only going be solved if we train more young people. Trade groups such as the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) have suggested that more needs to be done to get UK firms to take on apprentices. Only 16,000 apprentices were trained in the UK building industry in 2013/2014 which is a fraction of the number needed. One policy the FMB have suggested is that the public sector, which accounts for 40% of UK construction output, should only give contracts to firms who have apprentices. Whether that will ever happen is uncertain, but one thing that we can confidently predict is that the competition for skilled workers will only increase in the next few months.