OSAT and the Experienced Worker Practical Assessment
To get a CSCS card you are normally required to have an NVQ, with the actual NVQ level needed being dependent on the type of card you want to get — level 1 for a green operative card, level 2 for a blue skilled worker card, level 3 for a gold supervisor card and level 4 or higher for a black manager card.
Attaining the required NVQ levels normally means undertaking formal training, which can involve taking time off work to attend college and participate in tests. All of this can all be very costly in terms of both time and money. If you’ve been working in the industry for several years, it can also be annoying because the experience you’ve gained on the job covers many of the points that are dealt with during the NVQ training course.
Having to go through the NVQ training to cover the same ground may seem like an awful waste of time. The problem is that to get work on a major construction site you need a CSCS card and to obtain that essential card you must have the appropriate Construction NVQ level.
On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) is one way you can overcome this problem because it is completed on-site during normal working hours, with little need to attend college. It’s based on the compilation of evidence to prove your competence which will help you attain NVQ level 2. With this, you can obtain a blue skilled worker CSCS card and in time move up the career ladder by obtaining additional NVQs at a higher level which will qualify you for a supervisory role.
An alternative is the Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) , which is a process for assessing your skills and knowledge. This is undertaken at an agreed location, which may be on a site or at an approved assessment centre.
Satisfying EWPA Criteria
In order to qualify for EWPA, you must have a good understanding of written and spoken English and, of course, will need the appropriate construction experience. To test the latter, there will normally be an initial profiling session that will identify your skills and determine what additional training might be needed.
You will be required to take and pass the CSCS Heath, Safety and Environment test, which is mandatory for all types of CSCS card except cards issued to trainees. Additionally, you must provide evidence of your work experience, which may be in the form of witness testimonies that can be provided by your employer or supervisor. You must also provide a record of employment, qualifications, education and formal training. There will be assessment through formal discussions as well as theory and practical tests, plus practical assessment to determine that you can work to industry specifications and tolerances.
While going through the EWPA process, you will be eligible to obtain the red experienced worker CSCS card, which will at least allow access to sites. On successful completion, you can then move up to the blue skilled worker card, having gained your NVQ level 2 through the process.