The SSSTS programme or Site Supervision Safety Training scheme is a health and safety-based qualification. The course is designed to target workers targeting, or currently operating in, site supervisor roles. This SSSTS is part of the CITB’s Site Safety Plus (SSP) suite of courses.
The CITB, or Construction Industry Training Board, is a well-respected organisation that commands a strong position within the building and construction sector. Its principal aim is to drive quality standards across trade industries, and looks to achieve this in a number of ways. The CITB establishes testing criteria, ensuring that construction-related assessments maintain relevance, and reflect the complexity of the qualification on offer. Furthermore, the organisation distributes varied learning resources and materials to employers and employees alike. Finally, and most relevant to the context of this article, it produces fully-fledged industry training courses.
It’s worth noting that the CITB is the parent organisation of the CSCS, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. This is a card-based scheme that serves to identify a workers’ occupation and capability level. This programme, or subtle variations of it, is adopted by the vast majority of trades. In order to hit the qualifying requirements for any CSCS card, you must complete the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test. Therefore, both the CITB, and for that matter the CSCS, are woven into the fabric of the industry. Thus, if you successfully complete any qualifications associated with either of these organisations, sector stakeholders will hold your pass certificate as legitimate proof of your working credentials.
Before reviewing the content of the course, it’s worth stressing again that this module is entirely intended for individuals either working as on-site supervisors, or on the cusp of entering this role. If you’re currently operating as a member of the general workforce, such as a skilled worker, labourer, or trainee, please do not apply to attend this course. The training will not hold any relevance to your on-site position, and you may struggle with the complexity of some of the themes discussed. Ultimately, attending this course prematurely will result in wasted time, money, and effort.
However, if you’re interested in becoming a supervisor, and eager to find ways to progress towards the role, the best option is to initially discuss this ambition with your employer. They may be able to create opportunities for you to temporarily ‘step-up’ into this position. This could be facilitated through the management of small projects or workstreams, or by conducting a holiday relief attachment.
What is SSSTS course?
The full duration of this course is two days. This includes the assessment units taken at the conclusion of your training scheme.
The training covers all vital health and safety considerations for those working as construction-related supervisors. On-site leadership teams are vital for promoting the welfare and well-being of colleagues in the workplace. Therefore, supervisors hold huge accountability, and must ensure they approach compliance matters with sincerity and focus. The SSSTS course will support you to achieve this.
In terms of content, the SSSTS covers the following themes:
- Site Supervisor job specifications. This section will guide you through the everyday tasks and duties conducted by supervisors. Ultimately, supervisors are empowered to ensure that the site operation runs smoothly. As a result, they are tasked with making sure scheduled projects works are completed compliantly and efficiently.
- Attention is then given to why the above actions are so important. This discussion will be positioned in context of industry standards and working principles, and also relevant health & safety legislation. This will include focus on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (2015), and Health & Safety at Work Act (1974).
- There will also be focus given to the actual safety control measures that can be undertaken in order to manage on-site safety. Furthermore, it touches on the appropriate behaviours supervisors should exhibit, in order to create positive workplace compliance culture.
Please be aware that after five years, your training certificate’s validity period ends. If you would like to continue having this qualification on your record, you’ll need to take part in a refresher course (RSSSTS). This is a condensed version of the full, two-day course, and can usually be completed within one training day. The refresher system is in place so that candidates can update any amended industry ways of working. Furthermore, it keep health & safety awareness at the forefront of supervisors’ minds.
Watch out! If you haven’t taken an RSSSTS course before your certificate becomes invalid, you’ll be required to take the full, unabridged qualification again – and pay for the privilege. Therefore, please keep a close eye on your certificate’s expiry date!
How much is an SSSTS course?
It’s difficult to offer a specific cost for this training module, as prices are hugely dependent on the private learning provider you use.
As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay circa £200-£300 (inc. VAT) to gain this qualification. However, there are some available courses which can be attended for around the £150 mark. When considering your options, it’s important to not only think about price, but also the supporting provisions put in place by the provider. For some, attending an online version of this course will be by far the preferred route. This offers you the ability to work at an on-site office, remotely in a domestic setting, or whilst out and about. It may also provide a convenient training solution for those with childcare or other family commitments.
Others prefer the buzz of a classroom, and find it useful to engage and interact with tutor and peers. There is no right or wrong answer to what type of learning journey you select. However, you’ll clearly need to make sure that your chosen learning provider is prepared to accommodate your needs.
Given its shorter duration, The Site Supervision Training Scheme- Refresher is priced a little cheaper than the full version. It’s likely you’ll pay around £150-£200 (inc. VAT) to sit this course.
If you’re at all concerned about affording this significant financial outlay, it’s worth checking to see whether you’re eligible for a grant. There are a number of ways you may be able to acquire some additional funding for training. You could benefit from a government-sponsored employer scheme, which allows construction companies to invest in the upskilling of workers. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a means-tested grant, which would see funds directly hit your bank account. Or, you may be able to apply for a scheme associated with an accredited industry training body, such as the City & Guilds. To discover more information about potential grants & bursaries on offer, please visit the direct.gov website.
What is the structure and format of the SSSTS test?
Before you try your luck at our mock test, it’s worth referencing how the SSSTS’ associated assessment modules are set-out.
At the conclusion of your course, you will need to successfully pass two separate exams in order to acquire your SSSTS certificate. The first is a conventional test, made up of 25 questions. Most of these questions are presented in multiple-choice format. However, three questions will require you to provide an extended, written response. You’ll have 30 minutes to complete this exam, leaving you with little over one minute per question to provide a response. Although this provides sufficient time to complete your assessment, you’ll still need to ensure you work efficiently through the questions.
Things to consider
You’ll need to answer 20 out of 25 questions correctly in order to get through this exam. This represents a pass score of 80%. Should you record a mark of 70% or higher, but still fall short of the 80% threshold, you will be offered an opportunity to re-sit this assessment. There is a reasonably high pass rate for this exam, but that does not guarantee success! Again, as per the approach discussed for addressing the test’ multiple-choice format, do not become complacent!
The second exam is a straight-forward trainer-reviewed case study, focusing on the learnings generated from the two-day course. This will be graded by your course convenor. Please be aware that you’ll need to pass each of these testing units individually in order to acquire your qualification.
The SSSTS is a fantastic tool to support the development of those currently working within an on-site supervisory capacity. By highlighting the essential duties of construction-related supervisors, emphasising their importance within site environments, and discussing the checks and balances supervisors can put in place to promote the welfare of their teams, the SSSTS course ensures that delegates fully understand the essential part they play in maintaining on-site safety standards.
The accompanying refresher course, the SSSTS-R, ensures that this knowledge is ‘topped-up’ and updated. Additionally, it keeps the compliance agenda in a prioritised position. Remember, you must either be close to, or already in, a fully-functioning supervisor role in order to get the most out of this course.
Before registering for the SSSTS module, it’s worth checking to see whether you are eligible to receive any financial support. Furthermore, it’s vital to consider how you’d like to approach you’re learning journey. Nowadays, you should be able to compose a training plan which is respectful of your personal commitments and requirements.
Hopefully, through our discussion on the structure and format of the assessment schedule, you’ll now feel a little more confident in approaching the course exams. By revising thoroughly and engaging with the course content, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t comfortably acquire your SSSTS certificate.
Mock SSSTS Test
As part of this process, we would strongly encourage you to attempt our mock SSSTS test. Although impossible to generate the real emotions attached to sitting an assessment, mock tests give us the best vehicle for re-creating exam-style conditions. To help do this, we recommend sitting your mock test independently, ensuring learning materials and smartphones are out of reach.
Lastly, if you are due to take your test, we wish you the best of luck, and hope that completing the SSSTS course helps you to become even more effective in your role as site supervisor!