The CSCS scheme

What's CSCS?

The Construction Industry Training Board or CITB is the body established for training and managing certifications for the construction industry. The CITB is funded by and works with industry to encourage training, which helps to build a safe, professional and qualified workforce. CSCS is a certification scheme, accredited by the CITB and provides an official and straightforward means of checking and proving construction related experience and training. Because many construction projects are short-term and workers move from site to site, it’s a really useful scheme for employers, site managers and workers in the UK. In this post, we outline exactly what CSCS is and how it works.

What does CSCS stand for?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is the leading skills accreditation organisation for the UK construction industry. It keeps a database of people working in construction who have achieved or are committed to achieving a recognised construction related qualification. It’s a not-for-profit limited company with directors from employer organisations and unions who represent the breadth of the industry - so it’s a trustworthy and authoritative stamp of approval.

Why was the CSCS scheme created?

Although holding a CSCS card isn’t a legislative requirement, many major contractors and builders require their workers to hold a valid CSCS card. A CSCS card acts as proof of the cardholder’s: A CSCS card number is unique, a bit like a National Insurance number. How can a CSCS card benefit you as a worker? Whether or not grafters are required to hold a card before they’re allowed on site is subject to the discrepancy of the employer, principal contractor or client. The cards can increase job opportunities for grafters because there may be situations or projects which grafters wish to work on that require them to hold one. What benefits do they bring to employers? CSCS cards can’t guarantee the standard of work or comprehensively record the worker’s skills or how much experience they’ve gained. But holding one verifies the grafter/worker’s identity and shows that they’ve undergone the required training, qualifications and experience for the type of work they carry out on a construction site. How do you get one? Many training organisations are currently able to carry out the training required to get a CSCS card however this is changing such that those that have achieved Approved Training Organisations (ATO) status will stand out as the leaders in the market. They will also be able to tap into the CITB grant funding. To get a CSCS card, you need to have the appropriate construction related qualifications and training and in most cases, you need to have passed the CITB Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Test within the past two years. This is to improve safety on sites and is usually taken as a PC-based touch screen test.

Types of CSCS card

There are various different card types which cover multiple occupations. All types of CSCS card currently offered are summarised in the table below. The colour of your card is important so we've highlighted this for each card. All CSCS card applicants must pass the relevant CITB Health, Safety and Environment Tests.
CSCS Card Name Description
Labourer - Green Demonstrates you’ve obtained a knowledge-based qualification and met the health and safety and environment requirements to work on a construction site.
Apprentice - Red Demonstrates that you’ve commenced on a recognised apprenticeship framework. Valid for four years and six months but cannot be renewed.
Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager - Red Demonstrates that you’ve gained on the job experience as a supervisor or manager (normally for at least one year in the last three). It’s for people who have not achieved a construction related NVQ or SVQ level 3, 4 or 5 (or construction related QCF NVQ Level 6 or 7) and are not a member of an approved professional body. Valid for three years and can’t be renewed. All applicants need to be registered for the relevant Construction related NVQ or SVQ and have passed the CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test within the past two years.
Experienced Worker - Red Demonstrates that you’ve worked in a hands-on role within a construction environment (normally for at least one year in the last three). Valid for one year and can’t be renewed. All applicants need to be registered for the relevant Construction Related NVQ or SVQ.
Trainee Card - Red Demonstrates that you’re currently a trainee and registered for a qualification that leads to a skilled CSCS card e.g. NVQ/SVQ. This card has replaced two types of outdated trainee cards. Find out more here.
Skilled Worker - Blue Demonstrates that you’ve achieved a construction related NVQ or SVQ level 2 or an apprenticeship, e.g. employer sponsored apprenticeship, a City and Guilds of London Institute Craft Certificate or a CSCS Approved Trailblazer.
Advanced Craft - Gold Demonstrates that you’ve: achieved a Construction Related NVQ or SVQ level 3, completed an approved indentured apprenticeship (e.g.with NJCBI, BATJIC etc.), or completed an employer sponsored apprenticeship including the achievement of a City and Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate.
Supervisory - Gold Demonstrates that you’ve achieved a construction related supervisory NVQ or SVQ level 3 or 4.
Manager - Black Demonstrates achievement of: a Construction related NVQ/SVQ levels 5, 6 or 7 in the relevant construction management level qualification or a pre-existing NVQ level 4 in construction management.
Academically Qualified Person - Yellow/White Demonstrates achievement of certain construction related degrees, HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates and NEBOSH diplomas. A list of the qualifications accepted is here, or you can use the AQP search tool to see if your degree or HND/HNC is accepted.
Professionally Qualified Person - Yellow/White Demonstrates that the card holder is a member of CSCS approved Professional Bodies. Valid for five years. You can use the PQP search tool to see if your professional body membership is accepted for a PQP card.
Provisional - Red This card is for people currently working through probationary periods while employers assess their suitability for employment.
Construction Site Visitor - Yellow As with all cards - applicants must pass the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment Test. Newly issued visitor cards have a fixed expiry date of 31.08.20. This card doesn’t relieve site managers from their legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people entering their sites. 

Grafter is a new online worker network, connecting UK businesses with workers. Workers with and without CSCS card can search our building and construction jobs and employers can advertise jobs to fill their staffing needs across six different industry sectors. Join the Grafter network to receive more industry news and jobs like this today.