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PDA scheme offers a chance for qualification

Apprentice decorators wanted for national contestA scheme operated by the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA), with support from CITB, enables decorators to gain an NVQ Level 2 in Decorative Finishing.

It is available to members and non-members of the PDA – and the cost could be just £180.

Here Ann Cook, of Ann Cook Associates – which is managing the programme – answers some questions painters and decorators might have.

Who can apply for the funding?
To be eligible for the funding, an individual or their employer must be registered as ‘in-scope’ under the CITB Grant System rules.

Those who are gross paid CIS sub-contractors (labour only sub-contractors), are not eligible via their main contractor, but must become registered as individuals.

Please note – a person/company registered as ‘in scope’ for the Levy Grant System, does not pay levy if they have a wage bill of less than £80k, but they can still claim for training grants e.g. achieving an NVQ.

If you are currently not registered, the link for the CITB Levy Grant Scheme is:

How much will it cost?
It depends on circumstances, but the example below is a useful indicator of what to expect.

(Please note – you will be required to pay the cost of the qualification assessment to the assessment centre at the beginning; but will receive the grants and funding on achievement when the certificate is issued.)

Level 2 Qualification Assessment: £1,000 (assessment centres may differ)
Total: £1,000 (+VAT of £200)


Achievement Grant: £400
CITB Funding (70% of remaining £600): £420
£820 (total paid to you on achievement)

Using this example, that makes the ultimate cost to you/your employer: £180

Do I have to attend College to take the NVQ?
If you are a trade operative with a significant amount of experience in your current role, then you can undertake On-Site Assessment (OSAT), which recognises existing skills, knowledge and experience and matches them against the nationally recognised qualification.

On-Site Assessment is perfect for:

  • Anyone working in the industry who needs to get a relevant skills card e.g. CSCS
  • Individuals who do not want to be away from the job and want to avoid downtime
  • Those with years of experience but no formal qualifications

This way of taking the qualification involves a number of one-to-one assessments carried out at your place of work and you will normally be expected to achieve your Level 2 qualification within three to six months from your first assessment visit.

I know I’m competent, but how do I prove it?
You will need to provide evidence from contracts/jobs you have undertaken (usually during the last three years) and also ones you are currently working on.

This is because you need to show that you are experienced in the range of work required by the units in the qualification and that you consistently perform competently in each type of work skill.

Examples of evidence to supply include:

  • References/testimonies
  • Work documents e.g. specifications, risk assessments and method statements, drawings, timesheets detailing work undertaken, certificates of inspections prior to handing over work etc.
  • Email/letter communications
  • Short video clips of you working (still pictures are not ideal as evidence)

In addition to collecting this evidence you will also be visited on site (usually on two to three occasions) by your Assessor, who will observe you working and talk to you about how you prepare for and undertake the work, including most importantly the aspects of Health, Safety and Welfare.

This will help you to provide Knowledge Evidence for your qualification. You will not be required to sit any formal examinations.

And help is on hand as part of the role of your Assessor is to assist and support you in understanding what you need to contribute, to successfully achieve your qualification.

Finally, how long will it take me to achieve my qualification?
This will depend on your commitment and keeping to the target dates set by your Assessor.

The Level 2 qualification can be achieved within three to six months from your first assessment visit. However, to receive the funding you must achieve by 30th November 2018 at the latest, so that the certificate of achievement is issued, and the PDA can process your funding before 31st December 2018, when the project finishes.

PDA scheme offers a chance for qualification
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