It’s possible to hold multiple CSCS Cards, or CSCS Cards plus affiliated CSCS Cards, depending on the job you perform and the trade you are in. A UK construction worker who has passed a CSCS Working at Heights Test, for example, may also be required to carry out specific skills in other parts of his or her job. Basically wherever duties are linked for different parts of the same trade, it is possible to hold specific CSCS Cards or affiliate CSCS Cards that cover you for everything you need to do.
Examples of Auxiliary CSCS Cards and CSCS Affiliate Cards
A White refrigerant handler’s card is awarded jointly by the Engineering Services SKILLcard body and the ACRIB (the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board). This auxiliary CSCS affiliate Card is specifically intended to denote an accreditation in one area of the HVAC and refrigeration industries. Simply holding a SKILLcard for refrigerant handling is not enough to perform all the duties required by your trade: but not having a SKILLcard for refrigerant handling will of course restrict you.
The ACRIB refrigerant handling card is an example of a combined CSCS Card affiliate where bodies that have a particular remit (in the case of ACRIB, the remit is to ensure safe handling and environmental responsibility) join with others to produce a more sensible means of accreditation.
Some CSCS affiliate Cards, like the Black CPCS Tester Card, or the Grey CPCS Trainer Card, are in line with the Construction NVQ Levels you are familiar with but might technically be held in conjunction with other CSCS Cards. For example, if you are a qualified construction plant tester or trainer, you would hold one of these CSCS affiliate Cards: while you could at the same time be in possession of a CCDO Card (the CSCS affiliate Card for Demolition workers) if you also operate plant for demolition purposes.
Keeping the Number of CSCS Cards Manageable
While some interdependent tasks, accreditations and disciplines cannot avoid multiple CSCS Cards, the goal is always to keep the total number of Cards owned, or CSCS affiliate Cards owned, as low as possible.
The whole point of the CSCS is to offer an industry wide standard of accreditation, enabling employers, sites and workers to use the same system for reference no matter what part of the building trade they are in.
To that end, CSCS Cards are deliberately designed (as are the affiliate CSCS Cards) to cover the widest possible range of Construction NVQ Levels and Health, Safety & Environment Test passes within a single Card. That is to say, you can possess a Blue CSCS Card or a Gold CSCS Card (or a Black Manager’s Card, or a Green Site Operatives Card, or any one of the Red CSCS Cards) across a wide range of trades, jobs and duties. Ideally that one CSCS Card shows your employers everything you are qualified to do, keeping the number of Cards that let UK construction workers onto sites as manageable as possible.