Discussion is still taking place and dates have been put back a year
UPDATING CCTV TRAINING
As many of you in the industry will know, CCTV reporting competence has been recognised by the awarding of a post course certificate in sewer defect classification. The original course was run by the Water Industries Training Association (WITA), then the in-house training centre for the Water Authorities. It was the first external course run at Flint House and the certificate adopted its course number, D20.
The initial course was developed between WITA and the Association of CCTV Surveyors (now the NSA) to ensure that it was fair to both sides of the industry. Every course has been run or assisted by people who have had practical experience of reporting at the highest level and a real awareness of the client requirements. This has been achieved despite privatisation and changes in training company ownership and is what gives confidence in the certification.
The original course only took three days as the rig managers had been working in the industry for some time and were familiar with the coding sheets. The pass rate was not over high, so in time the course was increased to five days for more indepth training for those with no previous experience and the pass rate was seen to improve significantly.
Today this post course certification is the OS19 or OS20 with class based training and testing is carried out by Develop Training. The course is pertinent to those carrying out CCTV inspections of sewers (i.e. 225mm and upwards) and survey rig managers are expected to hold the certificate prior to carrying out work for the Water Companies.
Things are about to change. The certificate has not been subject to retest since being introduced in 1981 but the Water Companies are now requiring that a re-test or re-assessment should take place every five years. How this will be done is still under discussion but the intention is that from 1st April 2015 with the start of the new AMP period, a five year renewal will be in place. If you or your operator’s certificate is dated before 1st April 2011 you should be taking note.
Our industry is, in part, to blame for this change. Personnel leaving the industry and then returning without some retraining, fraudulent use of certificates and poor company practices have caused the Water Companies concern, hence the new requirement.
There has always been a misconception that the only people that can do the training for the certification is Develop (or its earlier incarnations). This has never been the case but what is true is that the only body issuing the certification has been Develop and generally this has been post course although a test only could be taken. Both the Water Companies and the NSA have supported this stance as it has led to a known consistency of standard over the years.
If you were at the last Drain Trader Exhibition and attended the talk the writer gave, you will know that potential changes in training procedures and requirement were flagged and much work has been done in the interim.
Now that all surveys are undertaken using reporting software, there has long been a call for training to reflect this. This is supported by the Water Companies and the Chair of Water UK’s Sewer Infrastructure Network CCTV Sub Group initiated talks with WRc, Develop, NSA, NADC and Wincan whilst liaising with the SIN Group. The NADC have since withdrawn from the steering committee.
It was established at the beginning that the WRc would manage the master licence for MSCC training and the final assessment on behalf of Water UK. They will also manage the train the trainer programme and approve training provision as being fit for purpose on behalf of Water UK.
To assist in the way forward, we were given an insight to how the Americans have embraced online training in the recent past by Mike Russin of Pipeline Analytics (a NASSCO PACP trainer). You may be interested to know that after a period using online training and testing, test results improved when candidates reverted to classroom training prior to the test.
Discussions followed regarding online computer based training. This is likely to be a mix of:
A selection of multiple choice questions
Image based defect coding of a number of images
CCTV footage coding from a number of clips including one pan & tilt clip.
There will be a number of options and time limits on module `retakes’.
The Water Companies are providing survey samples for both online training and for class tests which have to meet the criteria already set for training purposes. The aim is to reduce the number of `grey’ areas (e.g. is it a crack or fracture) in fairness to the candidates. Whilst these surveys are being evaluated, the necessary software is being developed.
The test will be classroom based at a nominated test entre and candidates will be expected to give proof of identity prior to the test. Computers will be used during the test but the coding will not be validated. The test certificate will be given a new name once operational. Develop will continue to run class based courses, as may others.
Although well advance there is still much detail to be determined and with a self-imposed deadline of 1st April 2015 the steering group is focussed on obtaining a satisfactory outcome in due time. The current pipe and brick condition examinations will continue with the intention to produce another for lining defects and new modules, by assessment, for manhole, atmosphere and infiltration surveys.
The industry is keen to maintain the integrity of the courses which is to the benefit of both the Water Company and the contractor. It adds to the contractor’s reputation if he can demonstrate the reliability of his data and gives confidence to the client when making asset decisions. We know training has a cost but it can more than be recouped in a motivated workforce, a reduction in staff turnover and, hopefully, an increased workload.
It may be worth noting that if a client calls for anything less than a full survey report for a length, the reason should be noted in the remarks box in the header. Reports are retained and a length may be looked at for an entirely different purpose several months later and a query made as to why certain features have not been reported. You can preserve your reputation by drawing attention to the header note.
It should be noted that the OS22 course run by Develop is for the management and inspection of pipes less than 225mm in diameter and is not currently part of the discussions. The writer understands that the course now run by NADC has some similarity to this course.