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Construction

CSCS Card Types: Figure Out Which One is Right for You

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Nauman Farooq

Updated: August 29, 2023

Read time : 17 mins

Table of contents

Introduction
What Is CSCS?
What Is A CSCS Card?
CSCS Card Types
CSCS Green Card
CSCS Blue Card
CSCS Gold Card
CSCS Black Card
CSCS White Card
CSCS Red Card
Types Of Red Cards
CSCS FAQs
Wrapping-Up

different cscs card types

If you’re looking to work in the construction industry in the UK, you may have heard of a CSCS card. There are many types of CSCS cards and it might be daunting at first to understand which one is right for you.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of CSCS cards available. So whether you’re just starting out in the industry or looking to progress your career, keep reading to find out more about this essential certification.

Before moving on to discussing the CSCS card types, let’s first learn about CSCS.

What is CSCS?

CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme. It’s a recognised certification body in the UK, that approves its holders for their occupational competence in the construction sector. CSCS has made it easier for employers to employ construction workers, who have undergone appropriate training and relevant qualifications to work on a site.

To learn more about CSCS, check out our blog or visit their official site.

What is a CSCS Card?

A CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card is a type of certification that confirms an individual’s qualifications and training required to work in the UK’s construction industry. The card acts as evidence that the holder has obtained the required knowledge, skills, and understanding to carry out their job safely and competently on a construction site.

Despite the fact that holding a CSCS card is not a legal requirement, the demand for CSCS cards is very high in the UK’s construction industry. In fact, many construction and building sites won’t even hire workers without a CSCS card. This fosters a safety culture in a construction site, minimising the chances of accidents and injuries.

CSCS Card Types: All You Need to Know About the Different CSCS Cards

There are different CSCS cards, each reflecting the different levels of skill and competence in the construction industry. Each card represents a different occupation or role within the sector, ranging from labourers and apprentices to supervisors and managers.

These cards are categorised based on their colours (Green, Blue, Gold, White, Black, and Red). Some cards have been withdrawn by CSCS, they can still be used as long as they are valid, but cannot be renewed.

Deciding on which card specifically aligns with your career objectives might be tough for you. Hopefully, the table below can help you to decide which card to go for.

details of cscs card types

1. CSCS Green Card

cscs green card

A CSCS Green Card is designed for individuals working in labouring occupations within the construction industry, such as general labourers, cleaners, plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers. Having this card shows that the individual has a basic level of knowledge and understanding of health and safety in the workplace. It’s one of the most popular cards amongst the list of CSCS Card types.

It is not a legal requirement, but many construction employers require it as proof of a worker’s competence and commitment to health and safety in the workplace. So, if you hold a Green Card, you have an advantage over others and you’re more likely to get employed.

Eligibility Criteria to Get a CSCS Green Card

To be eligible for a CSCS Green Card, you must:

The first step to getting a CSCS Green Card is to enrol on a relevant qualification. At Hurak Learning, we offer the CSCS Green Card (Labourers Card) Course that prepares you well for the next step, the CITB Operatives HS&E Test. It’s a multiple-choice test, valid for two years. After having completed the relevant qualification and having passed your CITB Operatives HS&E test, you can then apply for a CSCS Green Card on the official website with proof of your qualification and a CITB test ID number.

Taking a free CSCS mock test is recommended before you attempt a real CITB HS&E test. It will help you test your knowledge and evaluate if you’re fully prepared to attempt the real test.

Validity of a CSCS Green Card

The CSCS Green Card is valid for five years and must be renewed before it expires. To renew the card, the individual must retake the CITB Operatives HS&E Test and provide evidence of any additional qualifications they have obtained since their last application.

Note, some qualifications, like the Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment do not expire. So to renew your CSCS card if you have completed the Level 1 H&S course in the past you just need to pass the CITB Operatives HS&E Test and apply for the card.

RQF LEVEL 1 COURSE

for CSCS GREEN CARD
Check the Course

2. CSCS Blue Card

cscs blue card

The CSCS Blue Card is designed specifically for skilled construction workers who have experience in services such as roofing, insulation, road-building, etc.

Eligibility Criteria to Get a CSCS Blue Card

To be eligible for a CSCS Blue Card, you must:

  • Achieve an NVQ Level 2 or equivalent qualification
  • Pass the CITB Operatives or Specialists HS&E Test
  • Apply for a CSCS Blue Card

The first step to getting a CSCS Blue Card is to obtain NVQ Level 2 or equivalent qualification relevant to the job you aim to do at a construction site. Next, you must pass the CITB Operatives or Specialists HS&E Test, which is valid for two years.

Validity of a CSCS Blue Card

The CSCS Blue Card is valid for five years and must be renewed before it expires. An individual must retake the CITB Operatives or Specialists HS&E Test before applying for the card.

3. CSCS Gold Card

cscs gold card

The CSCS Gold Card is for experienced professionals. It’s an advanced-level card intended for Advanced Crafts and supervisors within the construction industry. This card is proof that the holder of this card has the capability to supervise personnel in a construction environment.

Eligibility Criteria to Get a CSCS Gold Card

To be eligible for a CSCS Gold Card, you must:

The first step to getting a CSCS Gold Card is to obtain an NVQ Level 3 or 4 qualification. After that, you must pass the relevant CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test. This test is valid for two years so you must apply for CSCS Gold Card before the test expires, or you will have to pass the exam again.

Validity of a CSCS Gold Card

The CSCS Gold Card is valid for five years. To renew the card, you will have to pass the CITB Health Safety & Environment Test again before applying for it.

4. CSCS Black Card

cscs black card

The CSCS Black Card is for experienced professionals. It indicates that the holder of this card has the knowledge, skills, capability, and experience to manage high-level tasks in a construction environment. It’s given to individuals who have achieved an advanced level qualification in the field of construction and also have managerial experience.

Eligibility Criteria to Get a CSCS Black

To be eligible for a CSCS Black Card, you must:

  • Achieve a minimum of an NVQ Level 4 qualification
  • Pass the CITB Managers and Professionals HS&E test
  • Apply for a CSCS Black Card

To obtain the CSCS Black Card, it is mandatory to pass the CITB Managers and Professionals HS&E test. This particular test requires a higher level of knowledge compared to others, as it’s meant for people who intend to lead others on a site. Therefore, a more comprehensive understanding of health and safety regulations and procedures is required.

Validity of a CSCS Black Card

The validity of a CSCS Black Card is five years, after which it will need to be renewed. It is important to keep the Black Card valid, as it’s often a requirement by employers, and failure to renew the card can result in loss of work opportunities.

5. CSCS White Card

cscs white card for professionally qualified person

cscs white card for academically qualified person

The CSCS White Card is the highest level among all the CSCS Card types. There are two types of white CSCS cards: one for the Academically Qualified Person and the other for the Professionally Qualified Person.

An Academically Qualified Person is someone who has obtained a higher level qualification in their area of expertise, such as HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates, a NEBOSH diploma, or a degree. Examples of professionals who fall under this category are electrical and civil engineers.

The second type is a Professionally Qualified Person, whose job role may require occasional visits to a construction site, but they are not restricted to a particular construction site. Professionals who fall under this category include architects, surveyors, and structural engineers.

Eligibility Criteria to Get a CSCS White Card (Academically Qualified Person & Professionally Qualified Person)

To be eligible for both types of CSCS White Cards, you must:

  • Achieve a minimum of an NVQ Level 7 qualification
  • Pass the CITB Managers and Professionals HS&E Test or an approved alternative
  • Apply for a CSCS White Card

Applicants of a Professionally Qualified Person White CSCS Card must also provide evidence of their current membership with a professional organisation at a level that CSCS accepts. They can submit any of the following documents:

  • A membership card
  • A receipt of payment for membership
  • A membership certificate
  • An up-to-date letter or email from the professional body
  • A clearly dated screenshot showing your current membership

Validity of a CSCS White Card

The White CSCS Card expires after five years. However, the Professionally Qualified Person card cannot be renewed and when expires, you have to apply for a new card just like you applied for the first time.

6. CSCS Red Cards

There are a few different types of Red CSCS Cards. The following table will help you understand the different types

Types of CSCS Red Card 

Suitable For

Validity

Trainee

Trainees registered to complete a construction-related qualification.

5 years

Apprentice

Individuals who have started a CSCS-recognised apprenticeship framework

4 years and 6 months

Provisional

Workers serving their probationary period.

6 months

Experienced Worker

Workers enrolled on a Level 2 NVQ or higher qualification and have on-the-job experience.

1 year

Experienced Technical, supervisor or Manager

Experienced technical, supervisor or managers enrolled on a Level 3 NVQ or higher qualification and have on-the-job experience.

3 years

Types of CSCS Red Cards

A CSCS Red Card is a temporary card assigned to a construction site worker. Each Red Card has a different validity ranging from 6 months to 5 years. One of the benefits of having this card is that you can still start working on site while working towards getting a skilled CSCS card. 

The CSCS Red Cards cannot be renewed. Once you complete the required qualification, you can progress to a skilled Blue Card or Black Card.

There are 5 types of Red Cards, and you can check out each type in detail below and figure out which one is best suited to you.

Trainee Card

cscs red trainee card

The CSCS Trainee Card allows you to temporarily join a construction site and continue your academic qualification in parallel. It’s valid for 5 years, and you must complete the course during this time period and progress to a CSCS skilled card. 

To apply for this card, you must enrol in a recognised qualification and pass the CITB HS&E test. 

Apprentice Card

cscs red apprentice card

The CSCS Apprentice Card is for workers who have started a CSCS-recognised apprenticeship framework. It’s valid for 4 years and 6 months.

To apply for this card, you must complete an apprenticeship in a construction setting and pass a CITB test within the last two years.

Provisional Card

cscs red provisional card

The CSCS Provisional Card is for individuals who are new on a job and serving their probationary period. For this reason, this card is valid only for 6 months and you cannot renew it once it expires.

To apply for this card, you must not have obtained any other CSCS card.

Experienced Technical, Manager or Supervisor Card

cscs red card for experienced technical, supervisor or manager

As the name suggests, this card approves your skill level to be employed as an experienced technical, manager, or supervisor on the construction site. It’s valid for 3 years.

To apply for this card, you must have an NVQ Level 3 or higher qualification and at least one year of on-job experience in the last three years. 

Experienced Worker Card

cscs red card for experienced worker

This card is for experienced workers with at least a year of experience at the construction site. The Red Experienced Worker Card is often confused with the Experienced Technical, Manager or Supervisor Card. However, there’s a difference between the two as this card is only valid for a year and requires an NVQ Level 2 or higher qualification.

To apply for this card, you must have an NVQ Level 2 or higher qualification and at least a year of experience at the construction site.

How Much Does a CSCS Card Cost?

The cost of getting a CSCS card is £36, which is the same for all the CSCS cards. This fee is paid to CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme). The CITB health, safety, and environment test is a mandatory requirement for getting a CSCS card and it costs £22.50. Together, the total cost of your CSCS card application and CITB test is £58.50.

Checkout our blog on CSCS card price to learn more about cost breakdown.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a CSCS card to be approved?

The time it takes for a CSCS card to be approved can vary depending on the type of card being applied for and the application method used. Typically, once your application is approved, your CSCS card will be dispatched to you on the following working day. Most cards are delivered to their specified location within 3-5 working days after the approval of the application.

How do I apply for a CSCS card?

You can apply for a CSCS card in different ways, such as online, by post, or over the phone. The application process for a CSCS card involves providing evidence of your qualifications and passing a required health and safety test. We recommend applying online, as this is the quickest way.

Is it mandatory to have a CSCS card to work in a construction company?

While having a CSCS card to work on-site is not legally required, many construction companies and sites require their workers to obtain a valid CSCS card as a measure of competence and safety.

Can I get a CSCS card without any qualifications?

You cannot obtain a CSCS card without any qualifications, as the application process for all the cards requires evidence of your skills, qualifications, and health and safety knowledge.

Are there any exemptions or discounts available for CSCS card fees?

To know about the exemptions or discounts on the CSCS card fee, check the CSCS website.

Can I use my valid CSCS card in other countries?

CSCS cards are only recognized in the UK construction industry. However, some international construction companies may accept CSCS cards as evidence of knowledge, competence, and experience.

What happens if I lose my CSCS card?

In that case, you can apply for a replacement card online or by post. There is a fee for replacement cards, and it may take several days to get a new CSCS card.

Wrapping Up: 

Obtaining a CSCS card is an essential step for individuals who intend to work in the UK’s construction industry. It ensures that the workers are qualified and competent to perform their job safely and effectively. Overall, the CSCS scheme plays a vital role in promoting a safer and more professional construction industry, and it’s essential for workers to be aware of the options available to them.

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