Archive for April 4th, 2007

Roadtrip may be over doing things a little – I am, after all, car-less and not at all keen to get back into driving while in London. But I did, on Tuesday morning, go to Croydon for my CSCS Health & Safety Training Supervisors test. It was a lot like my L-plate test as a 16 year old girl – as the sort of person who rubbishes anyone who fails such a simple, touch-screen test, the consequences of failure were unbearable, so I did some study and was fine.

The highlight/lowlight (depending on your views of corporate travel) of the experience was the trip to Croydon (inside the M25, but waaaay the Deep South for this Zones 1 & 2 Princess,) where I loved this sign: (I have a sneaking suspicion a fellow engineer wanted this one erected…)

Wider Croydon

Work-Related Rant

The whole process of becoming accredited to be a construction industry big cheese over here is just crazy – I am still not really ready to work on a site more than 8 weeks after I first started here. By comparison, a NSW ‘Green Card’ (the Construction Industry’s General Safety Induction certificate, administered by WorkCover) takes around 6 hours to obtain, is an industry wide standard and a new worker can ‘rock up’ at one of many approved training centres with 100 points of ID and get one. Here, in typical UK-process-loving-hell style, I’ve had to fill out forms to work out what forms need completing, been a hideous number of stages (each with a small delay for processing), all before this involved test to get one of the many (over 50) different types of cards. I just pray I have the right one! Lots of people in industry admit that some European workers just buy cards from the pub for £150 – if I looked like a middle-aged man I’d be sorely tempted as it would be worth the sanity break.

The second part of this rant is just how many people (there have been lots of them involved in processing my application) have spoken to me like I am a complete freak-show. I know women are unusual in the construction industry, and by being a young Australian engineer I am even more exotic, but I guess I just hoped people would be more British (ie reserved) with their surprise.

I posted earlier about the man in the CSCS test booking centre who asked me if I was booking in for a test ‘for (my) husband?’  – similarly, everyone at the test centre kept checking I really wanted to do a Supervisor’s test, but I just had to let it pass. I then had to wait for a certificate to be printed and call two different call centres to advance my application (ever closer to the elusive card!) where both people asked me if I really was an engineer like it was the most incredulous notion.

Having once (rather infamously in my old workplace) taken my dry-cleaners through the HREOC process, am not going to let a the testing centre (Thomson Prometric), subcontracted to the CITB, get away with it. I don’t really enjoying being a gender warrior (it’s fun in debating land when it involves mere rhetoric, but less fun when you actually have to use the tools available to change people and systems) but think these people need some angry young woman reform.

Phew. Feel soo much better!


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