Holding a CSCS Black Card is becoming an almost essential requirement if you want to work as a manager in a construction setting. It demonstrates to employers that you are competent in your specified occupation and will increase your employability.
The CSCS Black Card is for individuals who hold a management position in construction. It is one of the highest level CSCS cards and is only available to manager and technical occupations. In this article, we look at everything you need to know to gain a CSCS Black Card.
CSCS Black Card Requirements
The CSCS Black Card is an advanced level card. It demonstrates that the holder has the experience and knowledge to work as a manager in the construction industry.
In addition to experience, this card also requires the holder to have passed a high-level qualification in construction. This relates to a Construction Management or Technical related NVQ/SVQ level 5, 6 or 7. Even with years of experience in a managerial position, you will not be able to acquire a CSCS Black Card without a high-level NVQ qualification.
Passing the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test is a requirement for those applying for a CSCS Black Card. This is to ensure that you meet the required health and safety standards to undertake your role. There are no longer any exemptions to taking this test as the exemption was
withdrawn in September 2019.
The CSCS Black card costs £36 and is valid for five years.
CSCS Black Card without NVQ
Many individuals who have worked in a managerial position on a construction site for years find that they are not eligible to apply for a CSCS Black Card. This is because they do not hold the required NVQ qualification. One of the purposes of the CSCS scheme is to increase the number of workers on-site who have a nationally recognised qualification that is relevant to their occupation. For this reason, therefore, you will need to gain a Level 5, 6 or 7 NVQ before applying for this card.
High-level NVQs are reserved for those who have worked for several years in a managerial role on a construction site. This is because they are designed to qualify someone who has gained their experience over time. Deciding whether or not you have adequate experience to undertake a Level 6 or 7 NVQ qualification can be tricky. For this reason, it is a good idea to get advice from a registered NVQ assessor who can look at your CV and experience and advise you on what NVQ you are eligible to apply for. Such an organisation can also provide you with additional assistance to complete your NVQ if you require it.
It can take anything between three months to a year to complete your NVQ. During this time, you can apply for the Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS Card. This card, therefore, is for those who have on the job experience in a managerial capacity and are currently completing the relevant NVQ. This card lasts for three years and is non-renewable.
CSCS Black Card Test
As with all CSCS cards, the CSCS Black Card requires you to pass a CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test, also known as the CSCS Test. The Health, Safety and Environment Test for Managers and Professionals (also known as the MAP test) is a specific test for managers who are working in construction. This test assesses your awareness of important health and safety factors on a construction site and your roles and responsibilities within these as a manager.
The test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, of which you will need to answer 46 correctly to pass the test. You will have 45 minutes to complete these questions. The test will take place on a computer (using a touch screen) at an approved CSCS test centre. The test costs £21 each time you take it and the pass result is valid for 2 years.
How do I prepare for the MAP test?
The content of the CSCS Test for Managers and Professionals will consist of core knowledge questions. To prepare for the test there are a range of options available. This website contains all the revision material you need to pass the test. Sign for an account here. Revision guides are available in hard copies that you can purchase online. However, if you’re buying these second hand make sure they are the most recent version. There is also a mobile app that can be used to revise for the MAP test. This allows you to practice the knowledge-based questions. Through the mobile app, you will also be able to locate your local test centre and book your test.
How to apply for this card?
When you have your NVQ qualification and have passed the health and safety test you can apply for your CSCS Black Card. Contacting CSCS directly on 0344 99 44 777 is the simplest way to do this. They will have received the result from the health and safety test via the computer-based assessment. However, you will need to provide evidence of your NVQ qualification. This can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acquiring the CSCS Black Card is an important step in your career as a manager in the construction industry. It will demonstrate to employers that you have years of managerial experience behind you and that you have a nationally recognised qualification to support those skills. Holding a CSCS Black Card is fast becoming a requirement to be eligible to apply for managerial positions on a UK construction site.
A high-level NVQ is necessary to be eligible for the CSCS Black Card and you will also need to have passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test for Managers and Professionals within the last two years. The CSCS Black Card costs £36 and will last for 5 years before it needs renewing. You can apply for this CSCS card by contacting CSCS directly on 0344 99 44 777.