How to gain your Construction Skills Certification Card (CSCS)
The CSCS card is a nationally recognised scheme that reflects an individual’s level of knowledge and experience. It demonstrates that the person is qualified to carry out their role safely and effectively on site. Whilst CSCS cards are not a legal requirement, most developers insist that all operatives working on their sites hold the relevant CSCS card thereby promoting a safer working environment.
Different colours of cards reflect different levels of competence.
Green Labourer’s card
The card many operatives hold to enable them to work on site is the Green Labourer’s card. This is the basic card from which people can build on as they work to attain higher levels of CSCS cards as their careers in construction progress.
Their are a few steps required in order to apply for this card.
Applicants must either attend a Site Safety Plus Health & Safety Awareness course or complete an online course called the Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment.
The Site Safety Plus ourse is a one day course that you must attend a classroom for. Upon completion of this course, the certificate you are awarded is valid for 5 years. Costs vary but you can expect to pay around £175 + VAT.
The Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment is fast becoming the more popular route as the award is valid for life. It can be taken online in your own time during the evenings or weekend. It doesn’t then require attending a classroom which would result in you having to book the day off work. For more information and how to book, please click here.
Once this course has been completed, you need to sit an exam which shows that you have understood the course. The exam is also taken online and is invigilated (monitored) so the governing body can see that the person taking the course is who they say they are and also not referring to any course material.
Regardless of which route you take, you then need to sit and pass the CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test (also known as the touch-screen test).
There are 3 different tests that can be taken as outlined below:-
- Manager & Professional
Click here for more information on the different types of test. For the Green Labourer’s Card, you will need to sit the Operatives test.
The test can be booked online by clicking here. The cost for this is £22. It’s always a good idea to revise as there can be some tricky questions. I would recommend the CITB HS&E app available for all smartphones. You’ll need the CITB Op/Spec HS&E app to revise for the Green Labourer’s Card.
Once you have passed this, you can then apply for your card. Click here to be taken through to the area to apply online. This costs £36.
Blue Skilled Worker card
The next level of card is the Blue Skilled Worker card. This is a card which many developers are now insisting more people achieve to demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and competence in their respective areas of expertise.
To achieve this card, you also need to sit the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test for Specialists. This test covers everything in the Operatives test plus extra material required for your specialist area, such as working at height or supervision. To revise, you will need also need the CITB Op/Spec HS&E app.
You will also need to demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and competence by holding a nationally recognised qualification in your area of expertise. For example, if you wanted to apply for a Blue Skilled Worker card in bricklaying, you would need to hold one of the following qualifications,
- Certificate of Training in Bricklaying (MSC Skills Centre)
- Craft in Bricklaying (City & Guilds)
- Employer Approved Apprenticeship
- Level 2 Bricklayer Apprenticeship Standard
- Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying & Concreting
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (City & Guilds)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (NOCN/Cskills awards)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (GQA)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (CAA)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (TQUK)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (SQA)
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (OCNWM)
Assessing Competence in the Work Environment
If you don’t hold any of these qualifications, then you can be assessed on the job by a qualified assessor. This is to then prove that the learner possesses the necessary skills to be awarded a Level 2 diploma/NVQ. The assessor would gather together a portfolio of evidence using a number of different methods such as,
- Photos and videos
- On-site observations
- Witness testimonies
- 1-to-1 discussions
This portfolio would then be sent off to an external assessment centre who would then issue you with your diploma enabling you to then apply for your Blue Skilled Worker Card. For more information on workplace assessment, please click here.
Gold Supervisor card
This card is available to all people working on site in a supervisory role.
Again, you will need to sit and pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. This time, however, you will need to take the Specialist test including the Supervisory section.
You will also need to hold a Level 3 or equivalent qualification in your chosen field.
As with the Blue Skilled Worker card, a Level 3 qualification can be awarded using Workplace Assessment. More information can be found here.