CSCS Card Types

Contents

Owning a CSCS card is fast becoming a requirement for entry into a construction site in the UK. Whether you are a construction worker or require access to a construction site a CSCS card reflects your skill level and occupation. The purpose of the card is to ensure that individuals entering a construction site have the necessary skills and safety awareness in order to keep the site a safe environment and ensure that an individual has the training required in order to undertake their role.The first step in securing a CSCS card is identifying which type of CSCS card you need. There are a number of different CSCS cards available and navigating the different types can feel a little overwhelming at first. In this article, we will take a look at each CSCS card type individually and explain the skills and qualifications required for this card and what occupation within the construction industry that it fits with.

What does the colour of the CSCS card relate to?

There are 13 different CSCS card types, coming in seven different colours which reflect the skill level, qualifications, and occupation of an individual. You will notice that the colour of the CSCS card changes as the skill level and qualifications required increase. The colours that relate to lower-skilled occupations are the Green and Red CSCS cards. These types of card are usually for entry-level workers who have a qualification in construction (such as an NVQ) and have passed the required CSCS Test.

As workers increase their skill level and achieve more qualifications the colour of the card they need will change. After the Green and Red entry-level CSCS cards, the colours move up in this order: Blue, Gold and then Black (for manager level). If you are entering a construction site as an academically or professionally qualified person your CSCS card will be White. Visitors to a construction site who are not qualified construction workers will be issued with a Yellow card (this could be property owners or company directors). While no qualifications are needed for this card, applicants are required to complete the relevant CSCS Test.

As it can be difficult to identify which card you should apply for, we have created a comprehensive guide to each of the 13 cards to make the application process more straightforward.

What are the CSCS Card Types?

Green CSCS Card – Labourer

About the card

As the name suggests, the Green CSCS Labourer Card is for individuals that work in, or are seeking to work in, labouring occupations on a construction site. While it is for entry-level workers, it does still require a qualification that shows you have a basic level of understanding of the workings of a construction site and awareness of important health and safety considerations.

Qualification Required

There are a range of qualifications that are accepted in application for the Green CSCS Labourer Card, the main ones being the QCF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate. There is a full list of qualifications accepted by CSCS which are listed here.

In addition to holding a relevant qualification, you also need to have passed the CSCS Test for Operatives in order to apply for the Green CSCS Labourer Card. This test has different levels depending on what card you are applying for and consists of multiple-choice questions related to the health, safety and environmental issues in construction. You can complete this test at a CSCS Test Centre.

What can I access with this card?

A Green CSCS Labourer Card is a great way of getting into the construction industry and allows you to try out a variety of different trades before deciding which skill you would like to pursue. Whether you wish to learn plumbing, bricklaying, tiling, electrics or carpentry this CSCS card will allow you to access the construction site and a breadth of opportunities to pave your way to your desired occupation.

Card validity and renewals

The Green CSCS Card is valid for five years and can be renewed after this time.

Red CSCS Card – Apprentice

About the card

This card is appropriate for you if you are either in the process of completing or have completed an apprenticeship on an accredited apprenticeship scheme that is recognised by CSCS. Securing the Red CSCS Apprentice Card means that you will be able to access a construction site and can acquire hands-on experience on site whilst undertaking your apprenticeship. Acquiring practical on-site experience during your apprenticeship will be an important stepping stone to achieving your desired job after completing your apprenticeship, so this card will be a valuable asset to have during your apprenticeship training.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for the Red CSCS Apprentice Card, you will be required to provide evidence that you are registered on a valid apprenticeship scheme. You can do this by supplying one of the following to CSCS:

  1. Letter from Managing Agency: The managing agency from your apprenticeship can provide a letter which confirms that you are registered with their body and state what apprenticeship you are currently undertaking. This needs to include a full list of the titles and pathways you are undertaking as part of your apprenticeship.
  1. Letter from your apprenticeship training provider: You can also provide a letter from the apprenticeship training provider to prove that you are registered on an accredited apprenticeship scheme. This needs to include which apprenticeship you are registered on and what qualifications you are undertaking including the pathways you are working on.
  1. Apprenticeship Agreement: Your apprenticeship agreement which states the occupation and qualification (including pathways) which you are working towards will also be accepted as a form of evidence in application for this CSCS card.

In some cases, those who are working towards an apprenticeship may be exempt from taking the CSCS Test. This will be possible if you can provide the following as evidence that you have met certain health and safety requirements as part of your course:

  1. A letter from the Managing Agency where you are taking your apprenticeship which confirms that you have met their Health and Safety requirements. This needs to clearly state who the Managing Agency are.
  1. A certificate for a one day Health and Safety Awareness Course.
  1. Evidence that you have undertaken a Health and Safety unit in your apprenticeship course.

If you are unable to provide evidence of any of the above then you will need to take the required CSCS Test before applying for the Red CSCS Apprentice Card.

What can I access with this card?

With the Red CSCS Apprentice Card, you will have demonstrated that you have met the health and safety requirements needed to enter a construction site. Once you have completed your apprenticeship you may be qualified to apply for a Blue Skilled Worker card or a Gold Advanced Craft card.

Card validity and renewals

The Red CSCS Apprentice Card is valid for 4.5 years and cannot be renewed.

Red CSCS Card – Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager

About the card

The Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS card is a temporary card which is available to Technical Workers, Managers and Supervisors who have at least one years experience working within this role on a construction site (this experience needs to have taken place within the last three years).

This card is designed for those who have on the job experience, and are currently working towards a construction-related qualification. As a temporary card, it is designed to be upgraded once the construction qualification has been completed.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for this card, in addition to having the on the job experience referred to above, an applicant must be in the process of completing either a construction-related NVQ or SVQ Level 3 or higher. They must also not be a member of an approved Professional Body.

You can check if the qualification you are taking is approved by the CSCS though the card finding tool on their website.

To apply for the Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS card you will need to provide evidence from your Training Organisation that you are undertaking a construction-related course – this must include:

  • Applicants Name: your name must be clearly stated on the evidence
  • The title of your NVQ/SVQ qualification in full including the level you are taking
  • The date you registered on the course (this must be within the last two years)

In addition to this evidence, you will also need to have passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test that is relevant to this card. This needs to have taken place within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

Holding the Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS card will enable you to access suitable roles relevant to your experience in the sector whilst you complete your construction-related qualification. Once you have a SVQ or NVQ at a level 3 or higher you will be eligible to apply for a Gold Supervisory card or a Black Manager card depending on the level of your experience.

Card validity and renewals

The Red Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS card is valid for three years and cannot be renewed.

Red CSCS Card – Experienced Worker

About the card

This card is designed for those who have on the job experience of working on a construction site but do not have any construction-related qualifications but are currently working towards such a qualification. It is a temporary card which will be upgraded once an individual has completed their recognised construction qualification. To be classed as an ‘experienced worker’ you will need to have worked at least one year out of the last three in a construction-related occupation.

Qualifications Required

In addition to having at least one year’s work experience in a construction-related occupation, you will need to provide evidence that you are currently undertaking a CSCS recognised NVQ/SVQ qualification in order to apply for the Red CSCS Experienced Worker Card.

This piece of evidence must come from your Training Organisation and include the following:

  • Applicants Name: your name must be clearly stated on the evidence
  • The title of your NVQ/SVQ qualification in full including the level you are taking
  • The date you registered on the course (this must be within the last two years)

As with the other CSCS cards, you must also pass the appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment test which corresponds with this card. This needs to have been undertaken in the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

This card will provide evidence to prospective employers of your experience in the construction field, as well as showing that you are in the process of completing a construction-related occupation. Once you have completed your qualification you will be able to progress onto a blue or gold skilled worker card.

Card validity and renewals

As this is a temporary card it is only valid for one year and cannot be renewed.

Red CSCS Card – Trainee

About the card

This is another entry-level card which is designed for individuals who are just starting out in the construction industry as a trainee. Holding the Red CSCS Trainee Card will demonstrate to employers that you are currently enrolled in a relevant training course, that you have met the industry requirements, know the rules and regulations attached to your role and have passed the essential health and safety knowledge test.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for the Red CSCS Trainee Card, you need to provide evidence that you are currently enrolled onto an approved construction-related qualification (which can either be vocational, academic or professional). This will normally be a NVQ or SVQ course but it can also be a non-NVQ diploma, an Intermediate Construction Award, a Foundation Construction Award or a degree. For a full list of the types of qualifications accepted by CSCS see here.

You will need to provide evidence of the qualification you are undertaking. This needs to come from the Training Organisation or Professional Body with which you are taking your qualification, or your university if you are undertaking a degree. The evidence needs to include:

  • Applicants Name: your name must be clearly stated on the evidence
  • The title of your qualification in full including the level you are taking
  • The date you registered on the course (this must be within the last two years)

In addition to the qualification requirements, you will also need to have passed the Operative level CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

The Red CSCS Trainee Card will enable you to undertake real work experience on a construction site whilst you complete your related qualification. It demonstrates to potential employers that you can work safely on the construction site and will ensure you are granted access to construction sites where you may be undertaking work experience as part of your qualification.

Card validity and renewals

The Red CSCS Trainee Card is valid for five years and cannot be renewed.

Red CSCS Card – Provisional

About the card

The Red CSCS Provisional Card is only available to those who have not held a CSCS card previously. The purpose of this card is for those working through their probationary period and are not yet registered on any construction-related qualification to be able to access their working site. It allows a worker to access a construction site whilst the employer assesses their suitability for employment.

Qualifications Required

You do not need any formal qualifications in order to apply for this card but you do need to have passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test within the last two years. This is a temporary card with a requirement to have registered on a construction-related qualification before the card expires, and have applied to the relevant CSCS card to the job they are pursuing.

What can I access with this card?

This card will show to employers that you have met the health and safety requirements in order to access the construction site. This card gives you the flexibility to try out the trade before committing to a qualification but does require you to have signed up for a construction-related qualification before it expires. This gives you six months to see if the industry is for you and, if so, what sort of career you may want to pursue in the construction sector.

Card validity and renewals

The Red CSCS Provisional Card lasts for just six months and is non-renewable.

Blue CSCS Card – Skilled Worker

About the card

As the name suggests, a Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card is for individuals who have already achieved a relevant construction-related qualification or have completed an apprenticeship programme that is approved by CSCS.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for the Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card, you will need to have completed an NVQ or SVQ level 2 in a construction-related subject. The other route to acquiring this card is through completing an apprenticeship, this needs to be an Employer sponsored apprenticeship, a City and Guilds of London Institute Craft Certificate or a CSCS Approved Trailblazer (for more on this see here). You will be required to provide clear evidence of achieving one of these qualifications including your name, qualification achieved and the date it was awarded in order to receive this card.

As standard with CSCS cards, you will also be required to complete the appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test within the last two years in order to fully qualify for this card.

If you have been working in construction for a number of years and have experience in your role then it might be that you have clicked on this card only to find you do not have the required qualifications. If this is the case, it may be that you will be eligible for the Red CSCS Experienced Worker card which is for workers with experience who are currently undertaking a recognised construction qualification but have not yet completed it.

What can I access with this card?

With the Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card, you will be able to demonstrate to employers that you are both an experienced skilled worker, and are fully trained in all of the health and safety requirements of a construction site in the UK. It will also demonstrate that you meet all of the legal requirements in order to practice your specific trade. In terms of next steps, as you develop in your profession and acquire further qualifications you may progress to a Gold CSCS card.

Card validity and renewals

The Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card is valid for five years and is eligible for renewal.

Gold CSCS Card – Advanced Craft

About the card

As the colour of the card indicates, the Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card is an advanced level card which is reserved for individuals who are highly skilled within their field in the construction industry and have advanced NVQ/SVQ qualifications.

Qualifications Required

In order to be eligible for the Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card you will need to provide evidence of one of the following:

  1. NVQ/SVQ Level 3: Level 3 qualifications for both NVQ and SVQ construction-related qualifications are for those who have extensive experience within the construction industry. When you have completed a level 3 qualification you will be eligible to apply for a Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card.
  1. Approved Indentured Apprenticeship: If you have completed a CSCS approved indentured apprenticeship (e.g. with NJCBI, BATJIC, etc.) you will be eligible to apply for the Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card.
  1. Employer Sponsored Apprenticeship: If you have completed an employer sponsored apprenticeship which included the achievement of a City and Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate you will be eligible to apply for the Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card.

Further to acquiring one of the above qualifications, you will also be required to complete the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test and have passed this within the last two years. The test you complete will be dependent on your occupation but will either be the Operative or Specialist test.

What can I access with this card?

The Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card will demonstrate to an employer that you are highly skilled in your occupation. It will provide evidence of your advanced qualifications and demonstrate that you have the relevant health and safety credentials in order to undertake your role.

Card validity and renewals

The Gold CSCS Advanced Craft card is valid for five years and is eligible for renewal.

Gold CSCS Card – Supervisory

About the card

The Gold CSCS Supervisory Card is the card to apply for if you are working in a supervisory role within the construction industry. This card is designed for workers who have a high skill level as well as experience in supervising other workers within a construction role.

Qualifications Required

To qualify for this advanced level card you will need to have employment experience in supervising workers within the construction industry. In addition to this, CSCS will require evidence of achieving either a level 3 (occupational work supervisor) or level 4 (site supervisor) NVQ or SVQ qualification in a construction environment.

CSCS will also require you to pass the Supervisory CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test in order to be eligible for this card. You will need to have passed this test within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

Once you have acquired the Gold CSCS Supervisory Card you will be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have experience in supervising workers in a construction setting and that you have advanced qualifications that go alongside your work experience. With this card, you will be eligible to apply for supervisory roles in your related occupation.

Card validity and renewals

The Gold CSCS Supervisory Card is valid for five years and can be renewed.

Black CSCS Card – Manager

About the card

The Black CSCS Manager card is one of the highest level cards available and is available to manager and technical occupations. This advanced level card requires both experience in a managerial capacity within the construction industry as well as the acquisition of high-level construction-related qualifications.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for the Black CSCS Manager Card, you will need to have an NVQ/SVQ level 4, 5, 6, or 7 within a Construction Management/Technical related subject. Many construction workers complete such a qualification whilst they are working and this is often supported by an employer in order to achieve this.

Managers are also required to undertake the specific CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment test and have completed this within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

If you are considering applying for the Black CSCS Manager Card you will already have extensive experience within the construction sector. Achieving this card is an important step in career development and may involve undertaking an additional qualification in order to acquire it. Once you have achieved the Black CSCS card it will enable you to apply for senior positions within the construction industry and be an important step in your career progression.

Card validity and renewals

The Black CSCS Manager Card is valid for five years and can be renewed.

AQP CSCS Card – Academically Qualified Person

About the card

This is the card to apply for if you have completed a degree, HND, HNC, CIOB Certificate or NEBOSH diploma in a construction-related subject. This card aims to recognise other construction-related qualifications other than NVQs. The AQP CSCS Card will enable you to have your qualifications recognised and allow you to access a construction site.

Qualifications Required

To qualify for this card you need to have completed an academic qualification related to construction. This includes degrees, HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates and NEBOSH diplomas. CSCS have a list of the qualifications they accept in application for this card on their website.

Generally, the subject of your qualification needs to be in either building and construction, an engineering subject or in a relevant property services area.

The CSCS will require a copy of your qualification certificate, as well as information about the units you have completed as part of this qualification. In addition to this, you will also need to pass the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test and have passed this within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

This card was introduced after criticism that the CSCS card scheme favoured NVQ qualifications over others, thus excluding those who had achieved construction-related qualifications through other certifying bodies. With the AQP CSCS Card, you will be certified as an Academically Qualified Person and thus can provide evidence to employers of your academic credentials and experience.

Card validity and renewals

The AQP CSCS Card is valid for five years and can be renewed after this time.

PQP CSCS Card – Professionally Qualified Person

About the card

The Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) Card is for those whose profession requires them to visit a construction site but they may not be regularly based on a site. Examples of such professionals are surveyors and architects who will need to visit construction sites from time to time. Such professionals still require a CSCS card to provide evidence that they are aware of health and safety standards on a construction site and have the skills and knowledge required to work in this setting.

Qualifications Required

The PQP CSCS Card is awarded based on a professionals membership of an approved professional body. The CSCS recognises that to become a member of such a professional body an individual will have been required to meet strict access criteria, and have provided evidence of qualifications in order to meet this. For this reason, proving that you are a member of an approved professional body is sufficient evidence to be able to access the PQP CSCS Card.

You can use the PQP search tool on the CSCS website to check if the professional body that you are a member of will be accepted in application for a PQP CSCS Card. Once you’ve confirmed that your professional body is accepted the next step is providing evidence of your membership. This evidence can either be a membership certificate, photos of both sides of your membership card or a letter or email from the professional body confirming your membership. All pieces of evidence must clearly state the expiry date of your membership.

To be eligible for the PQP CSCS Card you must also pass the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test and have passed this within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

The PQP CSCS Card provides evidence that you are a certified professional in your field and that you have the appropriate credentials in order to safely access a construction site. As more and more construction sites are making ownership of a CSCS obligatory for those wanting to access a site, acquiring this card will become necessary if your job requires you to visit construction sites.

Card validity and renewals

The PQP CSCS Card is valid for five years and is possible to renew.

Yellow CSCS Card – Construction Site Visitor Card

About the card

The Yellow CSCS Construction Site Visitor card is designed for those individuals who need to visit a construction site but do not have any construction skills or qualifications. Such individuals may be property owners or company directors. A visitor card will be issued to those who are not going to be involved in any active work on the construction site, however, a certain level of health and safety awareness will need to be demonstrated in order to access this card.

The CSCS have said that this card will be discontinued from 28th February 2020 and that all cards issued from 3rd September 2018 will expire on 31st August 2020 and are non-renewable. The reason for the withdrawal of this card is the desire to move towards a fully qualified workforce, and resolve the issue of this card being used by non-qualified workers on a construction site. The aim is to ensure these workers are undertaking a qualification so that they can acquire a skills-based card. Visitors to construction sites will not be required to obtain another CSCS card but it will be the responsibility of site supervisors and managers to induct these staff and ensure they are kept safe on the construction site.

Qualifications Required

In order to qualify for a Yellow CSCS Construction Site Visitor Card, applicants must take the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment Test. This test must have been taken within the last two years.

What can I access with this card?

Being the holder of a Yellow CSCS Construction Site Visitor Card will enable you to access a construction site in the UK. As stated above, this card is being phased out and visitors who will be involved in non-construction related activities on a construction site will not be required to have a CSCS card in the future.

Card validity and renewals

Existing Yellow CSCS Construction Site Visitor Cards will expire on 31st August 2020. You can still apply for a visitor card until the 28th February 2020 but your card will still expire on 31st August 2020. No further cards will be issued from 28th February 2020.

Discontinued Cards

There are a number of cards that have been discontinued by CSCS over the past few years. If you are the holder of one of these cards and you need to renew your card please see below which card you should now apply for.

Trainee (Craft and Operative) Card (withdrawn August 2016): If you wish to renew this card you will now need to apply for the Red CSCS Trainee Card. If you are no longer a trainee, check the other cards above to see which one you now qualify for.

Trainee (Tech, Supervisory and Management) Card (withdrawn August 2016): If you wish to renew this card you will now need to apply for the Red CSCS Trainee Card. If you are no longer a trainee, check the other cards above to see which one you now qualify for.

Construction Site Operative (CSO) Card (withdrawn July 2014): If you wish to renew this card you will now need to apply for the Green CSCS Labourer Card. If you no longer work as a labourer, check the other cards above to see which one you now qualify for.

Construction Related Occupation (CRO) Card (withdrawn April 2017): If you wish to renew this card you will now need to check the CSCS card finder to see which card suits your current occupation.

Summary

If you work in the world of construction or are seeking a job in the construction industry, being a holder of a CSCS card is fast becoming a requirement for entry into many construction sites. Whether you are at entry-level or an experienced professional it can seem confusing as to which card you should apply for, but our helpful guide should point you in the right direction and answer any questions you have about qualification requirements, validity and the purpose of each card. As the CSCS card develops, it has undergone some important changes with some cards being discontinued in favour of more appropriate cards. In 2019 there are currently only plans to discontinue one card (the Yellow CSCS Construction Site Visitor Card), but it is worth regularly checking the CSCS website to keep abreast with any further changes.