Getting a CSCS card when you work in construction is essential because, without one, you’ll struggle to gain access to most major sites and so will be very limited in the work you can do.
The main problem is that to get a CSCS card you will, in most cases, have to attain a specified NVQ level. If you don’t have the appropriate NVQ qualification, you’ll be very restricted as to the type of CSCS card you can get — basically only a trainee or visitor card, which won’t be good enough if you actually want to work on site.
Fast Track Route to NVQ
The problem is that most people are too busy working and can’t take time off work unpaid to get their NVQ. This is where On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) can help.
OSAT is a fast track route to obtaining an NVQ and is available for many types of construction occupations that include bricklaying, plastering, plumbing and groundworks.
OSAT is available to anyone aged 19 or over and who has at least three years experience in a relevant trade. In order to achieve your NVQ and gain your CSCS card, you will normally go through a number of stages:
• Undergo a profiling session to identify what additional training you will need in order to complete your NVQ
• Successfully complete the CSCS heath, safety and environmental touch screen test that is required to gain a card
• Register for the Construction NVQ
• Apply for the Experienced Worker version of the CSCS card (coloured red). This is a temporary version that is valid for one year. However, it will allow you to access construction sites while you are trying to obtain the NVQ that will then enable you to apply for a full card.
• With the help of an assessor, compile a portfolio of work-related evidence. This indicates your competence and will result from an on-site assessment being made.
• The portfolio will be checked before being submitted to the Construction Skills Awards for approval.
• The NVQ is awarded.
• A full Skilled Worker CSCS card is applied for and obtained.
Further NVQ Levels
The whole process should be completed in 3-6 months, the actual length of time depending on your experience. Once you have completed this stage, you will be in a position to progress to the next level. This is NVQ level 3, which is required to obtain a gold Skilled Worker CSCS card.
OSAT enables you to achieve your CSCS card much quicker than conventional methods since it takes account of existing skills, which may be evidenced through witness testimonies. As a result, you only need to undertake training where your skills are found to be deficient. You also have the benefit of not losing working time since assessments are carried out on site. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may even receive funding for your training and so become qualified at no cost to you.