CSCS Card

Everything You Need to Know about the CSCS Card

Anyone in the field of construction is aware of the CSCS card.  CSCS is an abbreviation for “Construction Skills Certification Scheme”.  It is required if you operate a construction site or work as a construction worker in the UK.  The possession of the CSCS card ensures your site is run safely and efficiently. 

This article is intended to supply you with all the information needed to apply for the CSCS card. Additionally, it will aid you in understanding what you can anticipate regarding the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test.  This test is also referred to as the CSCS Test. This article is intended to make you knowledgeable about the nature of and the application process for the CSCS card.

A Brief Synopsis About the CSCS Card

Construction workers are required to have a CSCS card in their possession if they plan to work in the UK. The CSCS card allows the employer of the site to know the person they plan to hire has the proper training and qualifications.  Having a CSCS card also verifies the construction site is safe to work at and maintains the highest of standards.

Working construction in the UK, you will notice most building companies and contractors make it a mandatory prerequisite to possess.  Before stepping foot on a construction site in the UK you may need a CSCS card relevant to the job. Yet currently, this is solely up to the contractor’s discretion, as there is no legislative demand.

Why is the CSCS Card required?

The CSCS card was introduced in 1997 by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). It was introduced to ensure that workers were competent in their job roles, and it also serves as an essential tool for employers. The government set up the scheme to provide a nationally recognised standard for construction workers, and the CITB manages it.

Directors from the CITB have stated that the scheme is important because it:

  • Ensures that workers have the right skills and knowledge for the job
  • Assures employers that workers are competent and safe in their job roles
  • Encourages a focus on health and safety and high standards of work quality.
  • The CSCS card is more than just a card; it also provides employers with access to skilled workers’ national database.

Who Administers the CSCS Card?

Originally organised as a not-for-profit company by the government. This company’s primary objective is for improving working conditions and lessen work-related accidents at construction sites.  The company we are describing is the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). The CITB is responsible for the administration of the CSCS card.  The CITB is also responsible for establishing that construction workers have the skills and training acceptable for every job. As well, it aims to establish the UK’s name as being one of the world’s commanders in the construction industry.

There are union representatives and leaders within the construction industry that are administrators with the CSCS blueprint.  This blueprint is backed by the Construction Leaders Council (CLC).  In 2015, it was specified employers should only accept CSCS cards in connection with the CSCS game plan.  There is also an initiative referred to as the One Industry Logo.  This initiative requires card blueprints to exhibit their card has the CSCS logo.  This provides the One Industry Logo with standards that are agreed upon across the board.  This identification enables employers to recognise future employees qualifications and skill set just by looking at the logo on their CSCS card.  Allowing for said employee to be placed in a job that correlates with their abilities.

Do I Really Need a CSCS Card?

We know it is not legally necessary to have a CSCS card. As well, contractors and employers cannot legally demand employees to have one to enter a job site and work. The necessity to have a CSCS card is more prevalent in the midst of large-scale contractors than smaller ones. 

Therefore, if you desire to take advantage of business connections in construction, it would be wise to obtain one. It is evidence you are a competent worker with the skills and experience to back you up. Having possession of a CSCS card will show potential employers that you meet their primary requirements for employment. 

Types of CSCS Cards – Everything You Need To Know

Do you want to work or acquire access to a site of construction within the United Kingdom? It is quickly becoming a necessity to possess a CSCS card in order to do either.  The CSCS card in your possession will mirror your occupation and level of skill.  Upon coming on a site for construction, you must show it as proof you possess the required safety awareness training and skills.  This ensures you are able to commence with your role and do the job you came to do. 

The first thing you need to do is recognise which CSCS card is required.  Since there are several CCSC cards available, this task may seem pretty overwhelming; however, that is why this article was written.  To assist the individual as they navigate through the various CSCS card types and choose the one right for them. 

Each section of this article is going to examine carefully each type of CSCS card available. As well as cover the qualifications and skills necessary, and what job in the industry of construction it accommodates.

How does colour relate to each CSCS card?

Of the 13 various types of CSCS cards, there are seven colours indicating the individual’s qualifications, occupation, and skill levels. As the person’s skill levels and qualifications increase, the colour of the card changes. For example, a green or red CSCS card indicates occupations with lower-skills. This colour indicates an entry-level position, with NVQ qualifications in construction.  

Each CSCS card colour changes as the workers qualifications and skill levels advance. Following the entry-level Red and Green colours, they advance in the following ways:  Blue to Gold,  to eventually, the managerial level, Black. With professional or academic qualification, you will be issued a White CSCS card for entrance to the site of construction. Someone with no qualifications is issued the Yellow CSCS card to differentiate they have no construction knowledge.

A person having the Yellow card might be the company director or property owner.  Although there are not any qualifications needed to be issued this card there is still a CSCS test one must take for relevance. 

The decision upon which CSCS card to make an application for maybe a difficult task in itself. With 13 cards to choose from, there is now an all-inclusive model in which explains the application process.  This extra guidance provides a much more straightforward way to decide the right card for you.

A Comprehensive Look at each CSCS Card Type

In the previous section, we mentioned there are 13 colours of CSCS cards to apply and possibly qualify for.  This section is going to takes a look, one more comprehensive, and in-depth.

The Green CSCS Card: Labourer

cscs green labourer card

This is the card for an individual seeking a labour position in the industry applies for. Intended for workers with beginner skills. Yet, one must still possess a degree of understanding that is standard regarding how a site of construction works. As well, this individual must be aware of all imperative safety and health considerations at the construction site.

Necessary Qualifications

Before you apply for the Green CSCS Labourer Card there is some very important information you should know. One of the primary things is the QCF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate or Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment.We have listed below a list of the qualifications the CSCS accepts below.

Application for the Green CSCS Labourer Card requires one to successfully take the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test.

What’s needed for this card:

  • The first requirement is the “RQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in a Construction Environment”.
  • An SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate
  • A CSCS approved alternative qualification.  A person can only use an alternate qualification that is expired only one time. Therefore,  it will be necessary to take these qualifications again to reinstate the Labourer card.

To obtain one of these qualifications reach out to the Jobcentre Plus, a training centre, or a local college. You can also get advice from one of these organisations about the availability of any assessment or training.

Besides having a qualification relevant to holding the Green Card, one must be able to pass the CSCS Test for Operatives. This is a requirement before completing the Green CSCS Labourer Card application.  Dependent on the card applying for, there are varying levels to the test. This test subsists of questions all multiple choice and associated with environmental, health, and safety concerns with construction.  This test may be concluded at a CSCS test Centre.

What can this card access?

Earning a Green CSCS Labourer Card not only allows one to gain entry into the industry of construction. Also, you will be enabled to test a number of trades before choosing the skill you wish to seek. If you’re interested in bricklaying, plumbing, electronics, carpentry, or tiling,  a CSCS card affords you a wealth of opportunities. Your new CSCS card will permit access and pave the way to a desirable career in the industry of construction.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any qualifications or courses available through CSCS. 

Once you receive your CSCS card for the length of five years it will remain valid. 

The Labourer card is unable to be renewed. This card is not renewable once expired. It will be necessary for you to re-apply for the card to get a new one.

The Red Apprentice CSCS Card

cscs red apprentice card

If you are working on finishing an apprenticeship, or have completed one already, the Red CSCS card is for your. One other stipulation is the apprenticeship must be accredited and CSCS recognised.  Attaining the Red CSCS Apprentice Card gives you entry to a site of construction.  It also allows one to gain expertise hands on while you continue with your apprenticeship.  This practical experience you are acquiring will be proven imperative as you advance toward your career choice. You will discover having the Red CSCS card would be an asset valuable to your training and apprenticeship.

Required Qualifications

If it’s the Red CSCS Apprentice Card that you want to qualify for there are some requirements that must be met. As well as you must provide verification of being registered in an apprenticeship scheme that is valid.  The following proof may be submitted to the CSCS:

  • A letter by the Agency managing your apprenticeship:  The agency managing your apprenticeship must give verification affirming registration with their body in the apprenticeship you are involved in.
  • Letter from the training provider of your apprenticeship:  This is a letter in which the training provider of your apprenticeship verifies your registration within an accredited apprenticeship scheme.  Consisting of the apprenticeship that you registered and the qualifications you are involved in and the avenue you are engaged in.
  • Agreement of apprenticeship:  This is an arrangement stating the activity and competence (avenues) you are striving for.  Also, this agreement will be an acceptable piece of verification for this type of CSCS card.

Inability to show evidence of the above items requires taking the CSCS Test. This will be necessary before submitting an application for the Red CSCS Apprentice Card.

What is accessible with this card?

Once you have received your Red CSCS Apprentice Card, it proves you meet all safety and health conditions.  It allows your access to come in a construction site. When your apprenticeship is finished you may be eligible for another application for a new card.  The Blue Skilled Worker or Gold Advanced Craft CSCS card.

How long is the card good for?

The Red CSCS Apprentice Card is only valid 4.5 years; once this is up you may not renew it.

The Red CSCS Card for Experienced Technical, Supervisor, or Manager

cscs supverisor card

This is a card made available to Managers, Supervisors, and Technical Workers as a temporary card.  A minimum of one year expertise working on a site of construction in this capacity (experience within three years of applying).

To be eligible for this card, they must not only possess the above job experience, they must meet other requirements.  They must be working on completing one of the following.  Either completion of a construction-related NVQ or SVQ Level 3 or above. This person may not be associated with or hold membership of an authorised Professional Body.

You will be able to verify all the eligibility requirements by visiting the CSCS website’s card finding tool.

You will be required to show evidence you are involved in a training course related to the industry of construction.  This information must come from the Training Organisation and include:

  • The name of applicant: your name needs to be stated clearly on said verification provided
  • The NVQ/SVQ title qualification must be declared in full.  This is inclusive of what stage you embark upon
  • The date (within the past two years) of your course registration

Besides providing the above verification as evidence you are required to successfully take the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test.

What does a Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor, or Manager CSCS Card allow me to access?

Once the Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor, or Manager CSCS Card  is in your possession you are allowed access to many suitable roles. These roles, of course, will be dependent on your level of experience.  This experience must have been completed while in the sector of completing your competencies associated with the industry of construction.  When you earn your SVQ or NVQ  level 3 or more you can do another for a new card.  This being the Gold Supervisory card or the Black Manager card. Of course, both are dependent on your level of expertise.

How long is the card valid for?

After acquiring the Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor, or Manager CSCS card it will be credible for three years. This card isn’t renewable, one must retest for it to qualify for a new card.

The Red CSCS Card – Experienced Worker

cscs red manager card

If you have work experience at a construction site but no other qualifications associated with construction, this is your card.  The Red CSCS Card–Experienced Worker is the card for this person who is striving towards acquiring the necessary qualifications. This card is a temporary one that may be upgraded when the person has completed the qualifications needed. In order for an individual to be classified as being “experienced” the person must have experience working in construction. That work must have been for at a minimum of one year within the past three years 

Required Qualifications

Besides working in the field for a minimum one year, one must verify they’re presently in a CSCS accepted NVQ/SVQ.  This is another qualification that must be completed before an application for the Red CSCS Experienced Worker Card can be made.

This evidence is required to be obtainable from the Training Organisation in which you are attending and include:

  • Applicant name: full legal name be fixed on the documentation provided
  • Complete title of NVQ/SVQ  eligibility, as well as what range you are enrolled in
  • The date of registration in said course (within the past two years)

Verification of completing a pertinent CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test, just as you with the other CSCS cards. This test must have been initiated within the past two years.

What is accessible to me when I have this card?

With this card, you will be able to show future employers verification of your experience in the industry of construction. In addition, you have evidence of your progress towards the competition of an occupation relevant to construction.

How long is this card valid?

This card is valid for a period of one year, because of it’s temporary status and it is not renewable.

Red CSCS Card Trainee

cscs trainee card

This is an entry-level card made for persons interested in beginning a career as a trainee in the industry of construction.  Having the Red CSCS Trainee Card shows an employer current enrollment in pertinent courses of training.  It also verified the person meets all conditions of the industry.  That they are aware of all rules and regulations in connection to the part you play in the industry. Additionally, this card is proof of successfully passing the requisite knowledge test for safety and health.

Required Qualifications 

Just as the other CSCS cards, applying for the Red CSCS Trainee Card is going to require some evidence.  The proof you need to supply is your present enrollment toward an acceptable qualification related to the industry of construction.  This verification may be of a professional, academic or vocational level.  Typically, this evidence  is a course for NVQ or SVQ. However, it may also be a  non-NVQ diploma, Foundation Construction Award, an Intermediate Construction Award, or degree.  You may check out our complete listings of qualification types the CSCS accepts on the website.

Whatever you may be undertaking for a qualification will need to be provided as your evidence. This verification needs to be provided directly by the Training Organisations or Professional Body of which hold said qualification. Or the university for which you have earned the degree.  Just as long as this piece of evidence is inclusive of the following information:

  • Name of applicant: Full, legal name must be clear and concisely note on this verification
  • The complete title of qualification as well as the level you were at
  • The date within the past two years of your registration to the course of current enrollment

Besides these requirements for qualifications, one must be successful in taking the Operative level CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test. This test needs to be taken and passed within the past two years.

What is accessible with this card?

Upon earning the Red CSCS Trainee Card you will be able to experience real work on a site for construction. This can all be acquired while you are finishing up the qualification requirements.  Now that you have the Red CSCS Trainee Card in your possession you show future employers you are capable of working while on site.  It also ensures you approved entrance when arriving at the construction sites of which said work experience will be undertaken. Possession of the trainee card will prove to open many doors on your way to achieving your goals of working in the industry.

How long is the card valid and may it be renewed?

It is valid for five years upon the date of issuance after that period, it may not be renewed.

The Provisional Red CSCS Card

cscs red provisional card

If you have never had a CSCS card previously, the Red CSCS Provisional Card is available. It’s objective is to assist people employed during their probation period. But they do not have any qualifications that are construction-related to be registered. Therefore, they are not enabled to gain entry to the site they are working.  This provisional card permits the worker to enter the site during the time an employer is gauging their employment suitability. 

Required Qualifications

Besides the need to successfully complete the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test, there aren’t any explicit qualifications.  Just ensure it has been within the past two years you passed the test.  A temporary card issued with the condition one will register a qualification that is relevant to construction before it expires. As well as applying for the CSCS card related to the career in their pursuit.

How long is the card valid?

Card is valid for 6 months, and not renewable.

The Blue CSCS Card – Skilled Worker

cscs blue card Skilled Worker

This card is meant for people who already have a qualification that is relevant and construction-related.  Or, one who finished their CSCS approved apprenticeship programme.

Required Qualifications

To be eligible for the Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card, one is required to finish a level 2 NVQ or SVQ subject pertinent to construction.  Another path would be via an Employer sponsored apprenticeship, CSCS Approved Trailblazer, or the City and Guilds of London Institute Craft Certificate. When using one of these qualifications the applicants name, type of qualification, and award date must be included.

In addition, the applicant must also successfully take the applicable CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test. To qualify completely for the Blue card these qualifications must be done within the past two years.

What is accessible with this card?

This card allows you to show employers and others you are an experienced worker. A worker who has been completely trained in the safety and healthy needs of a UK construction site. It also establishes you meet all statutory conditions required for proceeding in your desired occupation. As your career evolves, your qualifications may advance you to the next level–a Gold CSCS card.

Card validity and renewal

The Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card remains effective for five years and at the end of this period may be renewed. 

Gold CSCS Card Advance Craft

cscs gold card Advanced Craft

The level of person eligible for this card is indicated by its color.  The Gold card indicates the individually in possession of it is extremely skilled in their area of expertise within the construction field.  In addition, this person has NVQ/SVQ advanced qualifications.

Required Qualifications

There are several qualifications a person  must provide as evidence of their Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card eligibility. Below are these qualifications:

  • Level 3 NVQ/SVQ:  construction-related qualifications that are level 3 in both NVQ/SVQ.  This indicates extreme expertise in the industry. Possessing the qualification of level 3 guarantees eligibility to a Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card.
  • An endorsed apprenticeship: completion of an apprenticeship endorsed by CSCS makes you eligible to apply for this gold card.
  • Apprenticeship employer-sponsored:  Completion of an apprenticeship sponsored by an employer, which includes obtaining the City and Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate, gives you eligibility to apply for this card.

As with the other CSCS cards, it is mandated to successfully take the CITB Health, SAfety, and Environment Test within the past two years. Your occupation depends on which test you take; however, it will be either the Specialist or Operative test.

What is accessible with this card?

When you have this card you will be able to show employers your extreme skillfulness within your occupation.  It is evidence of leading skills establishing your credentials for safety and health are relevant to the role you undertake. 

Validity and renewal of the card

This card has a five year validity and may be renewed.

Gold CSCS Card Supervision

cscs gold card Supervisory

If you work as a supervisor in the industry of construction, the Gold CSCS Supervisory Card was made for you. It is for people of heightened levels of skill,  and experience with leading workers at a construction site. 

Required Qualifications

An individual requires extensive expertise in the field of construction supervising others to qualify for this card.  The CSCS will need verification of either the level 3 or 4 (occupational or site supervisor) NVQ/SVQ qualifications.  It is also necessary for you to successfully take the Supervisory CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test for eligibility to this card.  It must have been passed within the past two years.

What is accessible with this card?

The Gold CSCS Supervisory Card shows future employers you’re capable of supervising a site of construction.  It also proves your qualifications are advanced and meet your expertise levels. Possessing this card enables you to apply for roles of supervision within your occupation.

Validity and renewal of the card

The Gold Supervisory card is valid for five years; at which at the end of this period may be renewed.

Black CSCS Card Managers

cscs black card manager

If your occupation is within the managerial and technical levels, this is one of the most advanced cards to apply for.  It requires an advanced skill level in the industry of construction within the scope of managing. 

Required Qualifications

You are required to hold either a level 4, 5, 6, or 7 NVQ/SVQ Construction Management/Technical relevant business. This qualification may be completed while employed and employer’s often support their workers to acquire these levels.

The CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety, and Environment test is a required undertaking within two years of applying. 

What is accessible with this card?

Your experience in the sector of construction is extensive if you want to apply for the Black CSCS Manager Card. This is an imperative stage in the development of your career should you achieve possession of this card. It will enable your application for positions within the industry of senior status. Acquiring the Black CSCS Managerial card is an imperative stride to take in the progression of your career.

Validity and renewal

This card is good for a term of five years and if desired may be renewed.

AQP White CSCS Card – Academically Qualified Person

cscs white card Academically Qualified Person

If you have a degree, HND, HNC, CIOB Certificate or NEBOSH diploma related to construction, this is your card. It’s intention is to recognise qualifications related to construction besides NVQs.  With this card your qualifications are recognised and you can also enter the construction site.

Required Qualifications

You will need an academic construction-related qualification to apply for this card. There is a list of acceptable degrees and qualifications on the CSCS website. 

Basically, qualifications should be in construction, building, engineering, or an applicable area of property services.

You will need to provide the CSCS with any duplicate qualification certificates. Also, information regarding units completed in acquiring this qualification.  It is necessary to complete the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety, and Environment Test successfully within the past two years. 

What is accessible with this card?

It was following criticism about this CSCS card scheme that made this a favourite NVQ above others. Therefore, blocking those acquiring related construction qualifications from opposing bodies of certification.  This card will give employers the necessary evidence of your experience and academic credentials. 

How long is the card valid–can it be renewed?

This card holds its validity for five years and following that may be renewed.

PQP White CSCS Card – Professionally Qualified Person

cscs white card Professionally Qualified Person

This is a card that is for the person who has an occupation in which they may need periodic access on a construction site.  This would be land surveyors or architects.  These professionals need a CSCS card to verify they are familiar with the standards for the safety and health of the site. 

Required Qualifications

This card is bestowed upon professional individuals who are members of an authorised professional body.  It is recognised by the CSCS to be a participant of this body one must meet rigid criteria for access.  To be a member of this body this individual has already shown the verification of this evidence.  Being able to show proof of membership to this authorised professional body is sufficient to acquire a PQP CSCS card.

In addition, the individual must be successful at the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety, and Environment Test.  The person must be able to prove this has been done within the past two years.

What is accessible with this card?

With this card in your possession you show verification of your professional certification in your occupational field.  It also shows you have credentials appropriate to safely gain entry onto a site for construction.  It is becoming more commonplace for construction sites to require a CSCS card to those requiring access to a site.  Therefore, in order for you to do your job efficiently, it will be necessary to have the PQP CSCS Card.

How long is the card valid/can it renew?

The PQP CSCS card is good for a term of five years and following that may be renewed if desired.

CSCS Cards that have been Discontinued by the CSCS

The CSCS has discontinued a variety of cards over the years. If you possess a discontinued card you will need to renew and apply for the appropriate new version.

Most recently, the Yellow CSCS Card expired on 31st August 2020.  These cards will not be issued any longer as of the 28th February 2020. 

Trainee (Craft and Operative) Card removed August 2016: If you hold this card you must re-apply for a Red CSCS Trainee Card. 

Trainee (Tech, Supervisory and Management) this card removed August 2016:  This is now the Red CSCS Trainee Card.

Construction Site Operative (CSO) card removed July 2014: This card is now called Green CSCS Labourer Card.

Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card withdrawn April 2017: Check on the CSCS Card Finder site to determine what card now fits the current occupation you are in now.

Conclusion

You will discover that in order to be employed in construction it is becoming a mandatory requirement to hold one of these CSCS cards.  It doesn’t matter what your position is; from entry-level to professional, possessing one of these cards is a necessity. 

Check out the CSCS card online guide to determine which card is right for you.  You can also use this site to keep yourself aware of any changes when they occur.  

I want to apply for the CSCS Card – What qualifications Do I Need?

Before you apply for the CSCS card, it is important to know what qualifications you need.  What your capabilities are is what determines the type of CSCS card you will get.  This article will go into further detail about these qualifications and card types in the following sections.

Acceptable vocational qualifications:

A good fact to know about how to qualify for one of these cards is that a GCSE or A-level is not necessary.  It is acceptable to have an NVQ qualification; yet, this is not the only vocational qualification that is approved.  Even without other standard school competencies, one can still receive a CSCS card. This card allows acceptable admittance into the construction industry.

Apprenticeships

You can apply for the CSCS card with an employee-sponsored or apprenticeship approval from NJCBI or BATJIC.  The City of Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate apprenticeship sponsorship also qualifies as proof of eligibility to apply for the CSCS card.  One qualifies for application of the Skilled Card or Advanced Craft Card when qualifying for an apprenticeship. 

NVQs or National Vocational Qualifications 

The NVQ is a qualification that recognises the persons skill they have within a certain industry. This also recognises the person has learned tasks both practical and work-related.  This enables the development of needed skills for employment within the desired field. Rather than testing to determine a person’s eligibility, the NVQ uses evidence from assignments as a portfolio of experience and skill. If the assessor believes you have acquired the standards necessary they will sign off particular levels of the NVQ course.  For example, a construction-related Level 2 NVQ allows for an application for CSCS cards with blue-skill.  Construction management qualified levels 5,6, and 7 NVQs may apply for the black CSCS card. If you desire a career in the construction industry then having a qualifying NVQ provides all the proof needed for CSCS card access. Depending on your NVQ level determines what type of CSCS card you are eligible to acquire.

Acceptable Academic Qualifications

There is yet another way to qualify for a CSCS card, and that is by having an academic qualification. This is the Academically Qualified Person (AQP) Card. A Higher National Certificate/Diploma or Undergraduate/Postgraduate degree in a construction-related field will get your application accepted by CSCS. This section goes further into detailing these qualifications.

Under/Postgraduate degree qualifications: 

This type of degree is completed in three to four years and is awarded by a university.  Undergraduate degrees such as Bachelor Degree, Master’s and Doctorate degrees are all postgraduate level degrees accepted.  However, CSCS doesn’t accept all degrees; therefore, you will need to verify whether your degree is one that will qualify you to apply. Use the CSCS search tool on the website to determine if your degree is listed.  If it is not, you can call CSCS to get their advice on what your next steps should be.

Higher National Diplomas(HNDs)Higher National Certificates (HNCs)

This is another academic qualification you can use to apply for a CSCS card. These degrees are the Higher National Certificates (HNCs) Higher National Diplomas (HNDs). Both are qualifications of higher education that have work-related or vocational content.  With an HNC you get a Level 4 qualification and an HND gets you Level 5.  Both qualifications have a “learning by doing” focus and are offered by higher education colleges.

In just one year you can finish an HNC and an HND may be completed in two years if you go to school full-time.  Yet, you can get each of the qualifications part-time also. Assessed via a series of projects, practical tasks, and assignments, these qualifications are attempted at full length during the course.  When applying for an Academically Qualified Person Card the HNCs and HNDs are considered in how they relate to the construction subject.  To determine whether your HNC or HND qualifies, go to the CSCS website search tool and look for your degree/certification.

Can My Membership with a Professional Body be useful evidence?

In accessing the membership criteria of professional bodies the CSCS accepts certain memberships as equal evidence to quality.  Access to the Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) card is possible through membership to certain bodies of professionalism.  How you verify said membership is the actual membership certificate, membership card (photocopied on both sides), or a current email confirming membership.

As with other qualifying methods, to verify your membership is a qualifying one, use the CSCS search tool on the website.  If it is not listed, reach out to the CSCS to get advice about what are the next steps in completing your application.

Are there any Historical Qualifications?

Perhaps you have been working in the construction field for some time and none of the qualifications mentioned thus far apply to you?  Can you still qualify for a CSCS card? This does not necessarily mean the end of the road for your application process.  It just means you must take a different path along the course.  You are going to need to contact the CSCS and discuss in a personal conversation what your historical qualifications are.  Reach out to the CSCS at 0344 994 4777 to discuss what your qualifications are that you believe might qualify you for a card. 

What if I have No Qualifications? How do I get a CSCS Card?

Without any qualifications, you might believe getting a CSCS card and a construction job is an impossible feat.  However, there are other paths to take to gain an entry-level CSCS Labourer Card.  This section is going to take you down those paths. There are ways to obtain the CSCS card with a health and safety qualification the CSCS recognised.

Level 1 – An Award in Health & Safety in a Construction Environment

If an individual doesn’t have any previous knowledge about employment within the construction industry this is an available qualification. A training course was created to enable an individual with a simple understanding of the spectrum of employment and educational backgrounds.

This qualification envelopes extensive information comprehensive about health and safety at work and its maintenance. The course goes over all responsibilities of a construction site which encompasses legalities and the importance of health and safety techniques.  There will be lessons about wearing protective equipment included in this course.

As well as the importance of reporting an accident on site and how to react to an emergency situation. 

Dependent on your existing skills, this training will take from 6 to 40 hours and will be performed at an approved centre.  The exam is normally taken online, to pass you must get 32 out of 40 answers correct.  You may locate the approved centres for this training by visiting use online.  When visiting the centre for training you will be advised of timescales and prices upon concluding this qualification.

A Site Safety Plus Health & Safety Awareness Certificate

This certificate may be realized by completing a classroom-based, one-day training course.  This course is yet another path to take to gain access to the CSCS Labourer Card.  The Site Safety Plus Health and Safety Awareness Certificate training encompasses all concerns regarding health and safety on a construction site. This includes what one’s individual responsibilities are for maintaining one’s own as well as others’ safety. The health and safety awareness course will also go over some common hazards and how to deter them from happening at a construction site. In addition, the course covers all legal liabilities and requirements.  As well as measures for working safely in height situations, preventing fires, manual handling, occupational, and work equipment health.

At the conclusion of the health and safety awareness course applicants are to take a test with 25 questions, all multiple-choice.  You must answer 20 correctly in order to acquire the certification.  There is a list of training providers who are registered in giving this qualification on the CSCS website. 

IOSH Working Safely Course Certificate

Imperative safety and health amplitudes in the workplace are covered in the IOSH certificate course.  If this certificate is received through a different online course, CSCS is unable to accept it.  CSCS is only able to acknowledge the IOSH qualification certificate face-to-face.  You will need to pass a quiz on hazard awareness that are all multiple-choice questions.

A valid JTJ Introduction to Construction Course Certificate

This is another acceptable verification of evidence when attempting to acquire a CSCS Labourer Card.   As long as it is still valid and it was an introduction to a construction course.

A valid Priestman Association Principles of Construction Site Health and Safety Course Certificate

This training course is from 1-5 days long. It is offered by Priestman Associates. The course is made for apprentices, new-starters, and labourers; it covers essential information regarding construction site health and safety.  The CSCS allows this if you are applying for the green Labourer CSCS Card as acceptable verification of evidence.  This type of training would likely be a condition of employment as a construction worker instead of an actual training course.

HABC Level 1- Award in Health and Safety for Construction Certificate

This one-day training was created for individuals with entry-level expertise in the construction field.  The HABC Level 1 Award in Health and Safety for Construction Certificate covers common hazards as well as safe practices at work that all employees should be made aware of. 

A valid DSA Health and Safety Awareness Course Certificate

This is another one-day health and safety awareness course in health and safety and is offered by the Drilling and Sawing Association.  You will be assessed based on a paper test and constructive assessment. Once you earn this certificate it is good for 3 years.

Besides acquiring any of the above certifications in health and safety in construction, the CITB Operatives Health, Safety, and Environment test are also necessary to qualify for the Labourer CSCS Card.  This test will be covered later in this article in full detail.

For those with financial hardships making it difficult to afford the costs of these training qualifications, some funding options are available.

  • The CITB Levy and Grant System: This is a training levy meant for individuals who are currently working for a construction company.  An individual may be able to qualify for a grant to aid in acquiring the needed competencies for a CSCS card. 
  • (LEPs) Local Enterprise Partnerships: This is a partnership between local authorities and businesses which have been designed to provide economic growth and job creation in a definitive area.  Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are an excellent area to begin when seeking assistance with job-related training or funding sources.
  • The Job Centre: Another way to find opportunities for training and financial assistance is from your local One-Stop-Shop or Job Centre.  This offers excellent funding and training opportunities in relation to the CSCS card and working in the construction industry.  The Job Centre or One-Stop-Shop representative is able to give you the guidance necessary. Enabling you to apply for appropriate financial assistance to get the construction job qualification you choose.

How do I apply for the CSCS card?

First, you must know before applying for this card that it comes in a variety of forms. Prior to beginning your application, you need to determine which CSCS card fits your skill level. We have a guide available that provides comprehensive explanations to assist you in choosing which CSCS card is right for you.

Applying as an individual

Depending on whether you are an individual person or a corporation. There are a variety of reasons and ways to apply for a CSCS card. 

Let’s start with applying for a CSCS card as an individual. Below are the steps you should follow in order to start the application process. 

  • First step: collect all verifications you will need to support your list of qualifications for the job applying for
  • Once you get everything together which validates your qualifications you will need to email the information to [email protected]
  • The last step in obtaining your CSCS card is to take and pass the CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test (CSCS Test).  You need to show evidence of passing this test at some point in the past 2 years.

After collecting the required information, in order to complete the application, you must pay for your new CSCS card.  The CSCS does not accept applications through the postal service and there is no option for a refund. 

Once your CITB Health, Safety, & Environment test results are received; we can go into further explanation according to your qualifications.

Applying as an Employer

Occasionally, an employer may need to apply for their employees CSCS card on their behalf. This process has been made simpler due to an online application that the employer fills out.  If you are an employer and you have more than one employee in which you need a CSCS card for, this online form is required.  Following your completion of the form online, we will reach out to you in order to accept payment for the employees listed on the application.

An employer may also apply for an individual employee by following a process similar to the one above.  Just email the employee’s pertinent capabilities to [email protected]. Once you do this, call 0344 994 4777 to pay the fee and continue on with the process of applying.

In addition, the employer must schedule the employer they are applying on behalf of for the CITB Health, Safety Environment Test.  This step is also on the CSCS site or the employer may call 0311 944 4488 to schedule the test.

How long does it take to get a CSCS Card?

You can start the whole process at any time, but some of the schemes have waiting lists in place because they are so popular. If you apply for a scheme with a waiting list, then CSCS will send you information about when you can expect a place on the scheme and what other options are available to you. If you do not want to wait until your preferred scheme is available, other options such as scaffolding and ITE occupations have shorter waiting times.

What if I need to retake an CSCS exam?

If you fail an exam, you can retake it as many times as is necessary. You will generally have to wait for six weeks before retaking the same exam, but you can also pay extra for a shorter waiting period.

How long is the processing time for a CSCS card?

After completing the application and around 20 days following submission you (or your employees) should get your/their CSCS card. The CSCS might need to contact you during the period leading up to you receiving the card if they need anything clarified so watch your email closely.  If after 5 weeks have passed and no card then you must contact the CSCS to find out what is causing the delay.

Ensure to closely track the status of your application. If 90 goes by and you haven’t received the card, you will be required to start a new application and pay another fee to receive the card.

What Types of CSCS Cards are available?

Because there are numerous careers available in this industry known as construction, there are an equal amount of CSCS cards.  For example,  the “Labourer” card is meant for workers with entry-level skills.  This card requires a person to have at least the minimum basic competency levels.  Yet, the labourer card also necessitates the need to prove to the employer they can meet standard employment qualifications.   

There are three main types of CSCS cards, and they each signify the different levels of competence for a job role:

White card: This signifies that an individual has completed ‘entry level’ training and has a basic knowledge of the job role. For example, a white cardholder may complete basic tasks such as carrying materials up and down scaffolding but cannot undertake any more complex tasks.

Green Card – This signifies that an individual has completed ‘intermediate level’ training and is competent to undertake various tasks related to their job role. This might include tasks such as applying mortar and working with different tools. The green card holder can also supervise others who have not yet achieved this level of competence.

Blue card: This signifies that an individual has completed ‘advanced level’ training and is competent to oversee others’ work. They would supervise the work of green card holders and carry out various tasks connected with their job role independently.

I have my CSCS card – How long is it good for?

Your CSCS card is good for five years at the end of this period, you have the option to renew it. Now, should your skill level be the same as it was five years ago, you may want to renew and request a new card.  However, should your knowledge and/or level of skills advance you have another option.  You may want to see if you are eligible to apply for a CSCS card reflecting these changes.

What about the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test?

There is one other thing necessary to get a CSCS card, besides having appropriate qualifications.  There is another relevant test you must pass.  That is the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) test.  More popularly called the CSCS Test, and it goes along with whichever CSCS card you apply for.  You can access the CSCS Card Finder tool.  This will enable you to discover which test, at the occupation/level of card you require, you are required to take.

To familiarize you with what this CSCS test is about, it is a series of multiple-choice questions.  Each question has to do with the construction industry and issues relating to health, safety, and the environment.  This test will assess an individual’s knowledge about a variety of topics. It is intended to make the person taking it more aware of imperative features, i.e safety, when on a construction site. The aim of this quiz is to advance the knowledge of each person applying to that person who is aware of what makes a construction site both effective and productive.  This test is normally administered on a touch-screen computer. You may contact the website to find out what the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test cost. Once you pass it, you will be accredited for the next two years. 

How do I Schedule a CITB HSE Test?

You can schedule to take the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test through the CSCS website booking system online.  When you go online at this site you will be able to find the closest testing centre and find a time slot to book that is convenient. If you prefer, you can call 0344 994 4492 and book a test date/time as well as talk to someone about the requirements for accessibility. 

If you need to have your employees take the HSE test; we have an ideal solution. The CSCS has a mobile testing station that is capable of coming to your work site to administer the test.  The only requirement is that you have a  minimum of 16 workers who will simultaneously take the test. This mobile testing unit saves employers time and money because you can ensure all (or most) of your employees are tested at once. The number listed in the previous paragraph is the same number you call for this mobile option.

Are There any Exemptions Available for taking the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test?

If any of the following scenarios match your situation, you may be exempt from taking this CSCS test:

  • SOLAS Card: This is the SOLAS Safety Awareness Training Programme card. If you have taken this test and had a SOLAS Safe Pass Registration Card issued to you, then it is not necessary for you to take the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test. This is true only if you completed the SOLAS in the previous two years prior to application for a CSCS card.
  • Involved in an Apprenticeship: If you are participating in an apprenticeship that is relevant and finished within the past two years all requirements for health and safety you will be exempt from taking this test if you possess the following verifications:
  1. Documentation from the agency managing your apprenticeship which states you have met all their requirements for health and safety.
  2. Successful take a Health and Safety Awareness, one-day course and have the certificate to prove it.
  3. Proof that as a factor of your qualifying apprenticeship you have the Health and Safety module completed.

If you are in an apprenticeship, it would be worth your time to get in touch with the CSCS to see if you are exempt from taking the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test.  Just reach out to the CSCS to clarify whether you will be required to take this test that could be imperative to the future of your construction career. 

Your Rights when you have a CSCS Card

All staff at a construction site is required to have all the right training and qualifications in order to handle the job they are hired to do.  This is the reason CSCS cards were introduced.  When an employee carries the appropriate CSCS card they ensure others of their ability to work safely.  Because of how imperative it is for construction workers to have the CSCS card, the CSCS tries to make it as affordable and straightforward as possible to get one.  Avoid the use of third-party hassles by applying for the CSCS card directly on the website.  The CSCS has a set price for the card and test; going through a third-party guarantees extra fees will be involved. 

Another thing construction workers should beware of and look out for– ‘CITB levy’ –this is an extra fee that some employers may charge.  As it is, a lot of construction companies are forced to pay a CITB levy.  This is a fee employers pay to ensure their employees receive adequate training and skills development.  This levy is part of a UK initiative to ensure the UK has the leading construction reputation.  However, this levy is never paid by the employee, the employer pays for this since it benefits employers.

When you get hired from a construction company, you need to verify that no “CITB Levy” is being deducted from your wages. This is not your responsibility as the employee to have to pay this fee.  

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