About 80% of the UK construction industries and contractors require their workers to have a valid CSCS card. Every card is specific to the trade of an individual worker and has a computer chip on it, which stores information about the worker and can be checked on the site at any time.
The 'Construction Ckills Certification Scheme' card, often known as the 'SMSTS CSCS Card', also the 'Green Card' and sometimes referred to as 'The Labourers Card'. Why so many names? Perhaps because there are so many routes to obtaining one (which we will explain later in this article). It is arguably the most important qualification in construction and is a leading skill certification scheme within the UK construction industry. Individuals working in the field, that is, on construction sites, must have the right type of qualifications and training for whatever work they are doing, and this is the card that shows that they do.
How to obtain a CSCS card?
Either the individuals can apply for their card or their employers can apply for them. The application procedure is a bit different for both.
Individual applying for his or her own card
There is a huge list of occupations related to the construction industry. So, whatever occupation you intend to have, it might involve one or more qualifications as a prerequisite. You will also need to pass a relevant and appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment test for your occupation. The test is not the same for all the occupations.
To be sure of the test you need to take for your particular occupation, use the card finder tool on the CSCS website.
To find out about the qualifications you may need to have, refer to the website mentioned above. You must pass the qualification first and then email it to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the application form from here: http://www.cscs.uk.com/about/resources/?resource_category=2
Fill it and send it with the required documentation and payment. The CSCS cards cost £30, and the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test costs £19.50. You may need to pay extra if you're availing some additional services.
Employer applying for the CSCS card
It is the duty of the employer to ensure, before applying, that all the applicants have passed the required CITB Health, Safety and Environment test for their occupations. The appropriate test for an occupation can be found on the website above in the same way as before.
Once, that has been ensured; the application form can be downloaded from here: https://www.cscs.uk.com/resource/employer-applications-for-multiple-cards/
The filled in form, with its required documentation and payment, can be sent to: email@example.com
The information provided in the forms must be correct. Moreover, if there is a qualification required for any of the occupation of any of the applications, it must be emailed to the same address above along with the application form.
You may also consult an organisation offering application services for the CSCS card for example https://www.constructionhelpline.com/cscs-green-card.php
However, one must remain aware while consulting the third party services because they may charge double or triple. Make sure that you aren’t paying more than you’re getting in return.
Health, Safety and Environmental test
Usually, it is taken as a PC based touch screen test and is valid for 2 years in most cases. The aim of this test is to ensure safety and productivity at the site. It assesses a wide range of topics. You may find the preparation and revision material on the street or online booksellers.
Exemptions from the test
- If you are applying for the CSCS card for the occupation of the NVQ or the SVQ and already have a construction related NVQ or SVQ achieved within the previous two years.
- SOLAS can act as an exemption for the Operative or Specialist CITB Healthy, Safety and Environment test requirement, but not for the Supervisor or the Manager and Professional level CITB Healthy, Safety and Environment test.
Types of Cards
There are currently 13 types of cards available to be issued:
- Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager
- Experienced Worker
- Trainee Card
- Skilled Worker
- Advanced Craft
- Academically qualified person
- Construction related occupation
- Professionally qualified person
- Site visitor
All the cards have different expiration dates like some expire within 6months, others may take 3 or 5 years to expire, depends on the type of cards. Moreover, some can be renewed, and some cannot be.
Refer to the website above to find all kinds of details about the cards. The required qualifications and the type of CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test, is also mentioned. In 2011, a Profiled route was introduced. It was a route to Black or Gold card for construction supervisors or site managers who have some on-site experience but didn't have a nationally recognised qualification in construction and had not passed the required tests. This route has, however, now been closed by the Construction Leadership Council, effective since 1st April 2016.
The reason for the discontinuation of this route is that it arises doubts amongst the leadership council about it producing the required trained and qualified workforce. Meaning, that the aim of the CSCS card is to produce a very qualified workforce by making the individuals pass the necessary prerequisites like the necessary health tests and qualifications and being able to obtain a card without all that poses a substantial risk.
However, the card obtained via Profiled route will remain valid for the individuals who are already in possession of it. They can also renew their cards if they are doing it in line with the CSCS scheme requirements.
Renewing a card
You need not apply for a new one every time your card expires. There is an option to get a renewal. The option remains valid for 6 months before and after the expiration date of the particular card. If you have changed your occupation since you have got the old card, the authorities must be informed. I hope all your worries about the application process of CSCS card have been resolved. The best way to apply is via the official website. Good luck!