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National Occupational Standards

If you would like to join a working group or want to know more please contact the Standards Team on standards.qualifications@citb.co.uk.

How do National Occupational Standards (NOS) benefit the construction industry?

Amongst other things, the NOS ensure that National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are more robust and consistent. Between 2020 and 2021 over 70,000 people in construction across the UK achieved a vocational qualification (NVQ or SVQ). In order to obtain a CSCS card, individuals need an NVQ or SVQ, or equivalent, to demonstrate that they have achieved the correct level of competence in the required skills, knowledge and behaviours employers need.

The NOS provide a solid foundation to support the following:

  • Health and Safety Requirements
  • Competency and Capability
  • Quality and Efficiency
  • Inclusivity and Diversity
  • Sustainability and Costs

The NOS also help to ensure that training programmes can be written to a consistent standard, they can also be used for producing toolbox talks and help HR Teams to create job descriptions to recruit new people to the sector.

The dedication and passion of working group members enables CITB to complete the review of NOS which supports the construction industry to have a skilled, competent and inclusive workforce now and in the future.

What are NOS?

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) are a benchmark for competence decided by industry practitioners. The NOS are like a recipe or an instruction manual, following the directions ensures that the outcome is of good quality and meets the needs of the people undertaking that activity. The NOS are used to set out the skills and knowledge needed to be deemed competent to perform activities such as Bricklaying, Plastering, Roofing, Steelfixing etc.

Just as a recipe or instruction manual should be reviewed periodically for accuracy, CITB review the Construction NOS with industry practitioners to ensure they reflect current practices, legislation, terminology etc and update them where necessary to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

NOS are used as building blocks for the development of:

  • NVQs and SVQs
  • Training
  • Management and Quality Control Programmes
  • Recruitment
  • CITB Grant Eligible Training Standards

CITB develops and maintains the NOS on behalf of the construction industry through a regulated process that is overseen by UK Standards.

NOS reviews – Working Groups (WGs) typical timescales are:

  • approximately once a month via Microsoft Teams – determined by WG members
  • meetings can be from two to four hours – determined by WG members
  • some pre-reading or reviewing of documents after meetings may also be required to prepare for the next meeting
  • NOS reviews on average run from three to nine months, depending on size and scope

Offline consultation (through email or survey) is offered for people who are time limited but want to be part of the consultation and have their say. If WG members wish to meet face-to-face this can also be accommodated.

What do the Standards Team do?

As it is a regulated process that is highly structured with multiple milestones, the Standards Team facilitate all development and review work by carrying out the following:

  • occupational reviews
  • initial research
  • arranging and facilitating meetings
  • collating meeting notes, feedback and actions
  • producing documents for working group members to review
  • liaising with the regulators regarding the overall process
  • working closely with industry practitioners and stakeholders to ensure the content of NOS meets the needs of the construction industry

if you would like to join a working group or want to know more please contact the Standards Team on standards.qualifications@citb.co.uk.