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Cutting out cowboys

Bricklayers, painters and decorators could soon find themselves out of the job market unless they have a national vocational qualification as the construction industry moves to drive out cowboy operators. September 30 is the deadline for construction workers to register their skills under the industry's new certification scheme, which recognises only those with NVQs or their Scottish equivalents at level 2 or higher.

Growing numbers of contractors have agreed they will only employ workers holding the certificates, which identify holders to employers and customers as people who are trained, experienced and able to work safely.

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