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What are CSCS cards? The ultimate guide [2022 Edition]

What are CSCS cards? The ultimate guide [2022 Edition]

What is CSCS?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme, also known as CSCS for short, has been around since 1978 and it strives towards ensuring safety at all times during site activity by promoting safe practises among workers from different fields such as carpentry, plumbing & heating engineering etc.

What is a CSCS card?

The CSCS card is a necessary tool for ensuring the safety and well-being of construction workers. It certifies that an individual has been trained on site and can perform their job safely and competently.

Who needs a CSCS Card?

Whilst they are not a legal requirement, CSCS cards are an important safety tool for construction workers on-site. The card proves to employers their employees have the necessary training and qualifications, protecting themselves as well as co-workers from potential accidents or slip ups that could lead to injury or death. As an example, the Blue Trowel Occupations Card is necessary if you're going into bricklaying work because it proves your training meets industry standards.

What is the difference between CSCS and CITB?

Whilst both share many common goals, like construction site safety, the two bodies are two separate entities.

The Construction Industry Training Board, better known as CITB, oversees the training for the construction sector across England, Scotland and Wales. They work closely with the British Government to promote and ensure training and health and safety legislation meets the needs of employees and companies.

What is the easiest way to achieve a CSCS Card?

The best way to get your CSCS card is by applying for entry level positions. You'll have the option of choosing from cards like a green labourer's licence, which does not require a completed full NVQ but only includes instruction on safety standards and other basic knowledge about work in construction sites. You will have to complete one of the following:

  • RQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment
  • SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate
  • CITB Health and Safety Awareness
  • COSAC Safe2Site
  • DSA Health and Safety Awareness Course
  • IOSH Safety, Health and Environment for Construction Workers
  • NOCN Health and Safety Awareness in Construction
  • NPORS Site Safety Awareness Course
  • SPA Core Construction Course

Out of the above list, the CITB Health and Safety Awareness course is the most popular safety training option out there. It can be conducted online or in person, but it's good for five years once you finish! As well as the blue trainee or apprentice card, there's also a red one. The red trainee card is an excellent temporary solution for those looking to work in the construction industry. The Red CSCS Certification can be obtained if you've enrolled on an apprenticeship or NVQ without any relevant training, However it does require that applicants apply before they enrol themselves into one of these programs.

Which CSCS Card do I need to apply for?

There are many different types of CSCS cards available for those in the workforce, but they all serve an important function. The simplest way to understand these options is by looking at their colours:

Green CSCS Cards, commonly known as the labourer card, is a great place to start your career in construction. It's entry-level and has many benefits, like discounts at various locations and insurance coverage for injuries that happen on site!

Red CSCS Card is a temporary status for workers who do not yet have the necessary qualifications to become skilled. They come in five different levels with increasing requirements:

  • Apprenticeship For workers who have undertaken an apprenticeship

  • Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager: For supervisors or managers without the relevant NVQs, but who have job experience and do not belong to an approved professional body.

  • Experienced Worker: For workers who have relevant job experience but no formal qualifications such as a Level 2 NVQ/SVQ.

  • Trainee: For those who are looking to register for a relevant qualification in order gain an industry specific CSCS card

  • Provisional: For those who are working through a probationary period.

Blue CSCS Cards, also known as the skilled worker card, is given to workers who have successfully completed their Level 2 NVQ/ SVQ or relevant apprenticeship.

Gold CSCS Card are for those who have completed an advanced Level 3 NVQ or SVQ in their field. They can be obtained two ways: completing the course, and then taking a test; or going through training that covers all aspects of industry related knowledge necessary to pass these exams.

  • Advanced Craft: For workers who are trained and who have a high level of skill in their occupation
  • Supervisor: For workers who are working in a supervisory role overseeing personnel on site

Black CSCS Card, commonly referred to as the managers card, this is a card for construction site managers. Workers need to have completed a Level 5,6 or 7 NVQ/SVQ related to construction site management in order to hold one.

White CSCS Cards symbolises the highest level of knowledge and expertise. There are two types of white CSCS Cards:

  • Academically Qualified Person: For workers and academics who have completed and achieved construction related degrees.

  • Professional Qualified Person: For members of CSCS approved bodies who have been assessed

What is the cost of a CSCS card?

Once you have completed and passed all the relevant training and qualifications, the standard fee for the card is £36. There is an additional cost, which is not optional, the CITB Health & Safety Test which costs an additional £21 (depending upon location).

Can I do my CSCS Test online?

Whilst you may be able to complete parts of the relevant NVQ online, you would need to complete your CITB Health & Safety Test at an approved training centre.

How can I get my CSCS card faster?

No matter how you look at it, there is no real 'easy' or fast process for getting a CSCS card as they all require a certain amount of experience, training and qualifications. If you want to get your CSCS card as soon as possible, we recommend that you dedicate as much time as possible towards completing your relevant Level 5, 6 or 7 NVQ/SVQ.

Can I obtain a Blue CSCS Card with a Diploma?

In order to acquire any type of Card, workers need to have completed an vocational element in their training. Candidates must also show they can perform their role through workplace assessments found in NVQs.

Diplomas are only accepted as a way of applying for a Blue CSCS card if they include this NVQ element.

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