Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD today launched the online Safe Pass renewal system.
This is a new and alternative option to renew Safe Pass and will be available from 23rd January 2023.
The Safe Pass renewal process will go live in the New Year and is part of efforts to reduce barriers in construction careers, an objective of Housing for All.
Speaking at St. Andrew’s resource centre, Minister Harris said: “Having this new streamlined option for Safe Pass renewal is a simple but highly effective way of removing some of the barriers facing construction workers.
“Over 30,000 people will avail of this option within the first 12 months of the programme going live. And that’s just the start, as we see increasing numbers of Safe Pass applications all the time.
“I would like to acknowledge with thanks the work undertaken by SOLAS, CIF Trade Unions, and members of the Construction Industry Advisory Group who oversaw and guided the establishment of this initiative.
“This is part of a number of reforms we intend to take over the next few months as we continue to promote careers in our construction sector.”
The new renewal system will be both cost and time-efficient, with the renewal process taking just 45 minutes to complete. It is a streamlined service that is cost-effective for all workers in construction.
Workers needing to renew their Safe Pass card can now attend a computer-based test in an approved Pearson VUE exam centre.
In addition, the Minister today officially launched the new QQI Level 3 Construction Skills programme.
The course is run in partnership with SOLAS and the National Construction Training Campus in Mount Lucas. The course programme includes the practical application of skills: mixing and laying concrete, laying of blocks, use of small tools and equipment, levelling, moving, loading and unloading of materials, fabrication of hoarding, job workshops and interview skills. It offers core skills sought by employers and is a first step on a pathway to a successful career in construction and retrofitting.
The course is an intensive three-week course, free to all participants and has no entry requirements. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to gain essential health and safety training, including Safe Pass, manual handling and key qualifications required for entry into construction.
The Minister also launched an initiative between the Department, SOLAS, and the Construction Industry Federation, to offer Safe Pass training to 700 Transition and Leaving Certificate Applied Students in 2023.
The Minister added: “We believe in providing opportunities and this initiative can offer another clear pathway to a career in construction.”
The Department will shortly publish the Report on the Analysis of Skills for Residential Construction & Retrofitting 2023–2030. The Report analyses the skill provision requirements of the construction industry and will help the department plan for those needs. It is a key element in the Department’s response to construction skills needs and meeting workforce requirements as outlined by Housing for All, the National Development Plan 2021-2030, the National Retrofit Plan and the upcoming Climate Action Plan 2023.
Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS said: “Today’s announcement is an important step to streamline the renewal process for Safe Pass card holders, thereby reducing barriers in construction, a key objective of Housing for All.
“It is another important development in the reform and modernisation of our construction schemes, designed to ensure that the essential skills are onsite for safe and effective work. The new Safe Pass renewal system will greatly benefit the construction sector, enabling the provision of a time and cost-effective process to renew Safe Pass.
“This new system will result in savings of 50%, with renewal time now taking just 45 minutes instead of requiring a full day in the classroom, at a lower cost of 93.84 euro. I would personally like to acknowledge the hard work undertaken by construction stakeholders including CIF, ICTU, the SOLAS Team and project partners Pearson VUE in streamlining Safe Pass renewal, which will have a positive impact, both for the individual and the sector as a whole.”