Joining The Industry


If you are reading this, it is probably because you are thinking about becoming a caravan service technician. Your business may be considering becoming a member of the Approved Workshop Scheme (AWS) and you have just discovered what appears to be a daunting list of training requirements.

The first thing to know is that the list of complex sounding qualifications is not as daunting as they may first appear. The competencies required by the AWS scheme, all of which have long names that are full of industrial acronyms and awarding bodies can be broken down simply into three core elements: gas, electricity and general servicing.

You will find comprehensive details of all of these qualifications here on our website; below you will find some essential information.


+/- Gas Training

Gas can be lethal if not handled correctly. Therefore, anyone working with gas must be able to demonstrate competence in handling gas: both for their own safety and the safety of their customers. A faulty gas system could leave you one customer less than you had to start with and could end with you in court. Gas has therefore been classed as a core requirement for AWS members. However, unlike at home or in the office, caravan service technicians do not have to be Gas Safe registered and therefore they do not need the same high level of training as domestic boiler engineers.

Why? Well on a simple service there is not as much gas infrastructure to work with. Additionally, the caravan industry is able to take advantage of the fact that a privately owned touring caravan or motorhome is not classed as a domestic dwelling or business premises. (Please note, if the unit is hired out either by you or your customer, this becomes a business transaction and falls inside the scope of a business premise, where Gas Safe registration is required). This is a handy benefit to our industry as the level of competence required to work with gas is less expensive and the duration of the training is considerably shorter. This means less time away from work on courses for you or your employees.

So what do you need? You need what is referred to as ACoPs gas competence. This stands for Approved Code of Practices in gas. The ACoPs scheme is much wider than just gas and even within gas is made up of a lot of confusing units. The advantage of taking a CITO course is that it is our job to ensure your training is strictly relevant to the work you will be doing. Therefore, there will be no unnecessary modules included or important ones missed out. If you (or the technician) do not have a previous qualification in gas you will need to start with the 5 day course. Upon successful completion you will gain a certificate accredited by a nationally recognised awarding body which lasts for 5 years. You will then be able to rest assured you know what you are doing and better still, you will be able to meet your legal obligation to demonstrate your competence to work with gas on touring caravans and motorhomes.

Visit the ACoP section of our website here

+/- Electrical Training

Just like gas, electricity can be lethal and so for the same reasons this competency is also required by the AWS scheme. There is a legal requirement that electrical work has forms that need to be completed and ‘signed off’, which can only be done by a competent technician.

The CITO electrical courses are unique to the caravan industry. We developed them to meet the industry’s specific requirements. Previously technicians could only demonstrate their competence with a high level and costly qualification that went far beyond the competency level to actually do what you need on a day-today basis. In many respects this didn’t include the specifics on how to maintain electrical systems in caravans.

There are two types of electrical course: both of which are 2 days in length. If you are a mobile technician or work on your own, you will need to do both. However, for larger workshops only those employees who will be ‘signing off’ documentation need to have both qualifications. Both courses include a written and practical assessment during the training.

The first course is known as Test & Inspection. You will need to complete and pass this course before being able to take the second course called LV/ELV Systems, Equipment and Circuits course. You can, however, book on both at the same time, although you will need to leave at least one month between them. Both of these courses are accredited by City & Guilds.

Visit the Electrical section of our website here

+/- Service Training

All of the above qualifications are gained through face-to-face tuition, however, the City & Guilds Certificate in Caravan Service Engineering (CSE) is only an examined assessment and there is no formal tuition.

The first thing you need to do before registering on the CSE programme or indeed venturing into servicing if this is a new area for you, is to read the syllabus for this programme which is available at the bottom of this page. The syllabus for the programme, which candidates are assessed on, is a list of tasks that the industry regards as the minimum service requirement. You will be the only person to judge what you (or your staff) do, and do not know. Read through this syllabus and ask yourself “do I know this?” If you find the answer is “no” then you may wish to consider looking at gaining some experience.  This could be achieved through a basic service course or with an existing workshop (or by recruiting a trained service technician if your existing business is branching out into the caravan service market).

Traditionally, all service training has been a skill that has been handed down from technician to technician. The industry is still heavily geared towards this in-house training by workshops however; this is something that is changing as our industry becomes more diverse. We are in the process of developing an apprenticeship scheme, however, at the moment there is no training formally recognised (by the industry) in servicing. Although, If you are in need of help with the basic servicing aspects, we are able to point you in the direction of an organisation who do provide training with the goal of preparing their clients to take the Certificate in Caravan Service Engineering.

The Mobile Caravan Engineers Association:

We are independent of this provider, therefore you must ascertain if their programmes are right for you. It is our understanding, however, that the above organisation may be able to help.

When you are ready to register, the assessments take the form of two examinations. A written exam taken at a regional exam centre (a list of centres can be found on our website) in March or November and a practical exam which takes place at a host workshop willing to host the exam for their staff and external candidates. External candidates are assigned to the nearest host workshop. The practical exams are planned on an on-going basis where we are able to marry up a host centre with at least two candidates in the area. We rely exclusively on the good will of host workshops to provide their facilities for the exam. If you operate a workshop and are able to host the exam we will work with you to fix a date that is convenient for you. Candidates who are unable to host the exam or do not have a workshop of their own will need to travel to their nearest host workshop when one becomes available. Unless you are a host, it is not possible to choose the date or location of the practical exam as it relies upon the availability and convenience of host workshops, however, if you are happy to travel we can schedule you into the next exam wherever there is availability.

Visit the Service Award section of our website here

+/- Why Us?

Caravan Industry Training (CITO) is owned by SkillsActive the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing. Sector Skills Councils are organisations that are assigned, by government, specific areas of UK industry to manage and develop the appropriate skills, qualifications and training that those sectors need. CITO is guided in this respect by the two industry trade associations and in particular the National Caravan Council (NCC) in the field of service engineering.

CITO has existed since the 1980s and therefore we are proud to say we have a long and rewarding relationship with many of our customers; most of whom we see every five years as they renew their qualifications. We work closely with businesses to advise the best routes for training in order to help them achieve their business plan for the future. It is always a positive experience to see businesses develop, and the fact that so many are able to return to us as the years go by, demonstrates the achievement and success of the UK caravan industry.

CITO exists exclusively to meet the caravan industry’s skill requirements as cost effectively as possible for you, our customer. To do this we rely upon the good will of the industry and especially those workshops kind enough to allow us to use their facilities for training and assessment. For many businesses, in particular our mobile customers, they simply wouldn’t be able to gain the training they need at an affordable rate without this support.

+/- Which course should I do first?

This is up to you. There is no particular order you should do the training in, although we recommend technicians have gained some solid service experience before attempting the Caravan Service Engineering programme. Getting into a routine and confidence in your work is important.

If you know the dates of the courses you want to enrol upon, it is possible to book our training all in one go; and the good news is we only invoice you four weeks prior the start of the course (with the exception of the Certificate in Caravan Service Engineering which is payable upon registration). This allows you to spread the cost somewhat and in theory, depending upon how fast you wish to complete and distance you are willing to travel; you could complete all the training programmes within a year.

We appreciate, however, that cost is a substantial factor to everyone. Therefore, if we had to prioritise the training, we would recommend taking the gas first, then electrics and finishing with the service certificate. This in mind, we do highly recommend planning – work out what you need (or how many of your staff need it), the timeframe you can afford to achieve this within and your existing workload. Then book your courses accordingly.

Our Service Technicians’ Handbook publication is available to purchase on its own, it is also part of the training material for the Certificate in Caravan Service Engineering. Unless you want an extra copy, if you are about to sign up for the programme there is no need to purchase the handbook. If you are not going to apply for training for several months however, you may find it a useful purchase in the meantime.

+/- How do I book training?

This is the easy part. Our website details just about everything you need to know. You will find the web address all over anything with our name on as we believe the information on the site is really very comprehensive and because information is updated so regularly, we are keen to save the trees and therefore don’t produce any glossy brochures anymore.

Each of the competencies described earlier has its own page and each page gives a course summary, content and outline and most importantly a list of dates, venues and the price. It is a good idea to check our website regularly as new dates and venues for gas and electrical courses are added as soon as they have been planned.

Once you know where and when you want to go, all you have to do is return a booking form. We will send you an email to acknowledge receipt; however, we won’t be able to confirm the course until minimum numbers have been met usually about 4 weeks prior to the start date.

+/- What is the difference between CITO, The NCC and the AWS?

We are all part of the same big family and are quite interconnected; however, we are all individual organisations and have specifically different purposes.

The NCC (National Caravan Council) is a trade association. They have a membership scheme which provides their members with specific benefits. Primarily their role is to represent the interests of employers in the industry, whether they are the manufactures, dealers, workshops, mobile engineers or holiday parks. The NCC works with the government over legislation, regulations and policies that effect on the industry.

The AWS (Approved Workshop Scheme) is owned by a tri-part relationship between The NCC, the Camping and Caravanning Club and the Caravan Club. The scheme exists to benchmark reliability and ensure conformance to a high standard of service for the consumer. It does get a little confusing as the day-to-day running of the scheme is handled by The NCC, although their memberships are quite different.

CITO is the training and development provider for the industry. We are owned by SkillsActive which works with employers (as represented by The NCC), to ensure the industry has the training and qualifications it needs to access a competent workforce. As part of SkillsActive we work with government departments and agencies responsible for getting these skills recognised. We also deliver much of the training. Being not-for-profit means relevant training is kept affordable and investment remains within the industry. SkillsActive also works closely with funding organisations and the regional / national governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to access funding. We have successfully gained recognition by several funding initiatives so that our customers can access funding to help support the cost of their training.

This is then all tied together: whilst we know a thing or two about training, The NCC partially funds CITO’s core objectives and provides essential guidance to us on technical matters and the employer requirements they represent. Therefore because of this partnership, we also become a benefit to the NCC membership by providing their members with a discount on our services. This in turn helps those hoping to become AWS members meet their objectives as quickly, efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

+/- A last few notes

All the information that is available about our programmes can be found on our website, including the dates, venues and prices. This is always the best place to start for information (the CITO offices are not open at weekends or evenings but our website is there 24hrs a day and doesn’t ever take a holiday).

A useful find on the resources section of our website is an example of a pre-training agreement. If you are an employer you can help protect your investment in training by asking your staff to make an agreement with you that places some financial responsibility on them, if they choose to leave your employment within a few months of paying for their training. Please note, despite whoever is financially responsible for paying the training, any qualifications gained are the property of the person who took the assessments. We can’t withhold certificates even if they leave your employment.

Please ensure you read our terms and conditions carefully when you book on our training. You will always find these on the reverse of a booking form (or next page if viewing them digitally). As explained previously, because we are a not-for-profit organisation and do not mark-up our delivery prices, unlike commercial providers, we must ensure every course we run pays for itself. Once we have confirmed a course we make a financial investment on your behalf with the venues, providers and awarding bodies.  Therefore, our terms and conditions are always strictly adhered to.

If you book on a course you must make yourself aware of the date by which you can cancel your booking without incurring any cancellation charges. Once this has passed you will be responsible for paying even if you decide not to attend! The good news, however, is that in most cases you are paying for a place and we are always happy to accommodate a change in name wherever possible as sickness and unforeseen events do occur.

Finally, we wish you all the very best in joining our industry or expanding further into it. We like it and hope you do too. Our contact details are everywhere on our website and at the bottom of our information print-outs – don’t be afraid to call us to find out more.

+/- Summary of Training

The main competences explained in this booklet which you should have, and are required by the Approved Workshop Scheme are as follows:


  • ACoPs Gas Competence Certificate;
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Electrical Maintenance of Touring Caravans and Motorhomes (Test & Inspection);
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Electrical Maintenance of low voltage and extra low voltage systems, equipments and circuits;
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Caravan Service Engineering.

Download Welcome Guide

Caravan Service Award Syllabus


Contact Us

Caravan Industry Training

2nd Floor, 5 Alexandra Terrace

Alexandra Road



GU11 3HU


Tel: 01252 310 540

Fax: 01252 310 533

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