Allen Craigen Card

CISRS Finds First Construction Industry Scaffolder Record Scheme Cardholder

Following the recent news that the CISRS scheme has breached the 50,000 cardholders mark, the first scaffolder to be issued with a CISRS card back in 1979 has been in touch – Allan Craigen, Director of NASC member company Heywood Scaffolding Services in Lancashire.

Allan, who worked for a small building company in the North West at the time, was amongst the first cohort of trainees to attend National Construction College East (Bircham Newton) under the new CISRS rules introduced at the end of the 1970s.

Although a scaffolder record scheme has existed since the mid 1960s, formal training attendance had been on a voluntary basis, with the vast majority of cardholders qualifying through industry accreditation (‘grandfather rights’) – learning their trade on the job with their employer, then applying for a card when they felt they had the required amount of experience and skill.

The changes to the CISRS scheme were the beginning of the end for ‘grandfather rights’ within the scaffolding industry, and this route was withdrawn completely in the 1980s, with a requirement for anyone coming into the industry to complete Part 1, Part 2 training etc prior to obtaining their scaffolder card.

Allan completed his Part 1, Part 2 and Advanced training at Bircham Newton under what was known as the CECOL course at the time, which was a forerunner to the current scaffolding apprenticeship route. The National Construction College at Bircham Newton was the first training centre in the UK to offer CISRS scaffolding training, and it remains one of the largest construction colleges in Europe to this day.

Upon successful completion of his training, Allan was issued with his new CISRS card, which had the registration number 100001, a plaque from the college, and a golden scaffold spanner by his employer (unfortunately for Allan this was only sprayed gold, not made of gold!) to commemorate being the first scaffolder to complete the new style course.

As a long time NASC (National Access and Scaffolding Confederation) member, Allan is fully aware of the importance of the CISRS scheme and understands the benefits of employing a fully qualified workforce. He remains thankful to his employer at the time for supporting him through his training when a lot of other companies had yet to commit to it.

He said: “I really enjoyed my time at Bircham Newton and it has stood me in good stead over the last 30+ years. I’ve continued to support CISRS training, making sure the lads who work for me at Heywood Scaffolding Services complete their training and assessments and carry the right card. And, looking at my original card from 1979, it’s nice to see I haven’t aged a bit!”

For further details about CISRS card courses, training changes following the introduction of TG20:13, information and dates on courses available, a list of approved training providers, or to find out more about CISRS, please visit or email

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