As lockdown restrictions ease, Gas Safe Register has been contacting ACS centres across the UK to check on their current and future operating status and plans on how they are working with gas engineers to help them regain or maintain their qualifications.
Of the 174 centres contacted, 120 replied (69%): 60% said they are open full time, 13% are open with reduced hours, and 26% are closed. Of those that are closed, most said this is because they are part of an educational establishment that is still closed in line with the government’s COVID-19 guidelines; 34% of closed centres said they will re-open after August.
The number of centres that are open either full time or part time varies widely, depending on their location. More than 90% per cent of centres in West Midlands are open, while just 38% are in Scotland.
By region, the percentage of centres that are open full time and part-time is:
East Midlands 66%
East of England 83%
North East 66%
North West 71%
Northern Ireland 100%*
South East 81%
South West 66%
West Midlands 92%
Yorkshire & Humber 78% * one centre responded
The survey found that 55% of centres said they are prioritising gas engineers whose qualifications have lapsed first in all cases and 41% said they are prioritising in most cases. Just 4% said that they are not prioritising.
Assessment centres are likely to be operating at a reduced capacity because of social distancing requirements. Centres were asked what their current capacity is: 44% said they have 50-74% capacity; 32% said their capacity is 24-49%; and 10 per cent said 75-99%.
Gas engineers are advised to get in touch with their assessment centre to discuss taking any necessary assessments, particularly those that have expired. *Gas Safe Register surveyed 174 ACS centres 3-11 June 2020.
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