The CSCS card is awarded to workers by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme in the UK to recognise skills and qualifications relevant to the field of construction. CSCS cards are fitted with Smart Card chips that contain up to date information about the holder’s qualifications, just like a portable CV.
In order to obtain a CSCS card you would normally need to have a relevant NVQ. NVQs are the most respected formal qualification in the construction industry, offering proof of a candidate’s practical skills in construction rather than just their theoretical knowledge – which is what a lot of classroom-based qualifications measure.
NVQs are conducted on site by a fully-qualified assessor who will observe the candidate during their work.
Why you need to have a CSCS card
The CSCS card makes life easier for both employees and employers: employees will always have proof of their qualifications, making it easier to find work and employers can ensure that their new workers are suitable for the roles they’re being hired for. These days, CSCS cards are becoming essential for those who want to find work in the construction field, with a ‘no card, no job’ policy often being in place.
How NVQs determine what CSCS card you can get
As the purpose of the CSCS card is to make it clear to employers just how qualified an employee is, CSCS cards are handed out on the basis on NVQ qualifications. The colour of the CSCS card denotes the highest level Construction NVQ that the holder has earned.
A green CSCS card will be awarded to those with a level 1 Construction NVQ,a blue CSCS card denotes a level 2 Construction NVQ and a gold CSCS card is awarded to those with level 3 Construction NVQs. Red CSCS cards are given to workers who haven’t gained any NVQ qualifications yet, but are registered or enrolled in a course and working towards their first NVQ. While the red card requires no formal qualifications, it will still show commitment and dedication to a potential employer.There are also CSCS cards for managers, supervisors and other senior construction roles, all of which help employers to understand who they’re employing and what role is best suited to them.
Although the CSCS card is the most widely recognised, there are other other cards in the construction sector which accept alternative qualifications.Candidates who have qualifications other than NVQs may apply for one of these cards, such as the SKILLcard which recognise other qualifications.
However, as the CSCS card (and NVQs) are the mainstay of construction qualifications, it would be advisable to start working towards an NVQ as well.
Working towards an NVQ doesn’t need to be difficult, and they’re offered all across the UK. NVQ qualifications are affordable and quick to complete, usually taking just a few months to obtain As a rule of thumb, level 2 Construction NVQs may take around twelve weeks to complete, while more advanced qualifications can take up to six months, with several days of assessment taking place.
As the most respected construction qualification in the UK, workers who intend to excel in the construction sector are highly advised to consider NVQs.