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Imagine going inside a retail store, trying to look for a dress to wear in a party. However, everything else is cluttered, the clothes are piling up and you can’t find where the dress racks are located. And when you finally find the perfect dress, you can’t find the fitting rooms. Instead of buying what you need, you ended up going out of the store empty-handed and wasted time. Fortunately, there is a particular service that caters to that known as shop fitting.


What is Shopfitting?


Shopfitting is the trade that fits out of retail stores and service shops with the necessary equipment, fixtures and fittings. It needs a shopfitter who plans, designs the layout, and installs the equipment and services. The shopfitter is employed by a shop fitting firm who provides expertise when it comes to interior design & contracting, manufacture of bespoke furniture, purchase of retail equipment and signage & fittings.


Take note that shop fitting can also be used in other commercial and leisure areas such as bars and offices.


In order to properly carry out the fitting needs of a particular company, the National Association of Shopfitters or NAS was established.


Who is the National Association of Shopfitters?


The NAS is a trade association that consists of different firms in the shopfitting and interior contracting sector. Established since 1919, NAS represents, promotes and provide services needed in terms of shopfitting and interior contracting.


Backed by an extensive list of projects and experience, NAS has worked in various industries involving retail, leisure and recreation, commercial, financial services, museums, restaurants and other sectors in need of interior quality.


A symbol of quality and reliability, the National Association of Shopfitters will always provide expert guidance, advices, services and knowledge to all its members and clients.


In order to provide the necessary level of competence and expertise in the field of shopfitters and interior contracting, NAS introduced the Shopfitting and Interior Contracting Competence Scheme.


What is Shopfitting and Interior Contracting Competence Scheme?


Also referred to as SICCS, it is a national skills registration scheme that provides a skills card for the shopfitters and interior contracting sector. Launched in December 1, 2009, the scheme aims to differentiate the concerned sector from the construction industry in general and at the same time, apply common accredited standards within the sector.


It is owned by NAS and administered by the Shopfitting Independent Training Forum or SITF


SICCS Objectives


  • To keep a record of all the accredited and competent workers as evidenced by the NAS Skills Card
  • To raise the shopfitting and interior contracting standards through appropriate knowledge and demonstration of competence in its respective occupation
  • To help its workers pass the Health, Safety & Environment Test through learning and retained knowledge
  • To encourage the employment of certified and skilled workers
  • To be self financing wherein the surplus funds will be used for the benefit of the shopfitting and interior contracting sector


SICCS Benefits


The scheme provides the following benefits to individuals –


  • Recognition of skills, competence and qualification
  • Improved health and safety awareness
  • Better employment prospects
  • To equip them with relevant skills needed by the sector


On the other hand, the scheme will provide the following benefits to employers –


  • Can easily identify competent and qualified operatives
  • Better quality of work
  • Improved health and safety awareness in the workforce
  • Provision of training standards to equip individuals with relevant skills
  • Improved customer satisfaction and industry image




The purpose of the scheme is to provide certification and accreditation to all operatives in the shopfitting and interior contracting sector and its associated industries. Although the membership may be voluntary, the NAS Skills Card is required by most construction sites in UK.


Although there is no age requirement for membership, there are some areas or companies who specify a certain age limit regarding the use of certain machines, plant or equipment.


Also, basic competency and training standards are defined by SICCS depending on the skill level of an individual. He can be an apprentice, experienced worker, supervisor or manager, director or shopfitting related professional.


SICCS Structure


The structure of SICCS is composed of core elements, the cards available, progression through the scheme and the delivery of the scheme.


SICCS Core Elements


To demonstrate the competence, skills and qualifications of an operative that will determine his eligibility, the following must be complied with –


  • Training through Shopfitting Independent Training Forum (SITF) or other accredited channels
  • ConstructionSkills Health and Safety Test for general health and safety awareness
  • Level 3 SVQ or NVQ to determine the operating competence of an individual
  • Health and Safety DVD “A Safe Pair of Hands” which is a sector specific induction DVD




  • Shopfitting Site Visitor – a 5-year, renewable card that can be obtained by passing the Health and Safety Test
  • Apprentice – a 4-year, non renewable card that requires NVQ Level 3 registration and successfully passing the Health and Safety Test. This means the applicant should demonstrate or provide evidence that substantial skills were gained from previous or current employment.
  • Experienced Operative – a 5-year, renewable card that requires an achievement of NVQ Level 3 or similar qualifications in addition to the Health and Safety Test
  • Supervisors and Managers – a 5-year, renewable card that can be granted after completing a 3-day Site Safety Plus for Shopfitters and Interior Contractors training program and passing the Supervisor or Management & Professional Health and Safety Test
  • Directors – a 5-year renewable card that requires a 1-day Site Safety Plus Directors Responsibilities for Health and Safety Training Programs. The director should also pass Management & Professional Health and Safety Test
  • Shopfitting Related Professional – cardholder must have appropriate NVQ Level 3 or above and has passed Management & Professional Health and Safety Test. Health & Safety Manager, Estimator or Surveyor can apply for this card.


Note that the supervisors, managers and directors should have an appropriate craft or technical qualifications as prescribed in the guidelines.

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