New course launches for drone operators in construction sector

THE UK’s first training course for industrial drone operators has been launched by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).

The course has been developed by Aberdeen-based industrial training and competency assurance specialist Texo Compliance, in the wake of increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in the industrial environment.

Following identification of the need for a national standard, industry employers are said to have approached the ECITB with a view to developing a model that would train and assure the competence of individual UAV operators.

The Industrial Drone Operations Training Course is available to anyone who has passed the CAA permission for commercial operations (PfCO) scheme and can meet the course pre-requisites.

It has four stages including off-the-job training at an ECITB-approved centre and performing drone operations on a live industrial site with 30 logged flying hours required within three to 12 months of initial training. The third stage comprises technical testing, while the final stage is renewal of the ECITB technical test certificate at 36 months through formal re-assessment. If the candidate can demonstrate sufficient experience, they can go straight to the formal technical assessment without the need for initial stage one off-the-job training.

ECITB chief executive Chris Claydon said, “This new course is a great example of how we have collaborated with industry to create a product where there is a clear and growing market need. We have listened to employers and, at their request, developed training that meets what is an increasingly important skills requirement for them and their clients.

“Drones are increasingly common across engineering construction sites from monitoring and surveying to checking wear and tear on installations. The ECITB has responded to this major shift in working practices by created this new training standard to ensure that drones are used safely and competently in what can be hazardous and challenging environments.”

Texo Compliance operations director Jamie Murphy added, “We believe that we are at the forefront of innovation and technology-driven training in what is a complex and technically demanding industry often operating in difficult and austere environments. Working in the UK and internationally with UAV operations, we see drones mitigating risks from work that would traditionally be done by a variety of personnel particularly at height and this now removes the human element from operations that were deemed high risk high potential.”