Many of the trades available in the construction industry are skilled, and are best learned through apprenticeship. Indeed, the traditional “way in” for most new employees in the construction trades is through apprenticeship, where most of the wage is paid in experience and qualification.
Getting an apprenticeship in a skilled trade will give you the chance to learn things that no amount of books can teach you. You will, though, be required to achieve some paper qualifications so you can be allowed to work on British building sites.
Qualifications to Back Up a Skilled Apprenticeship
These days not many are able to work on a UK building site without a CSCS Card. The Card is evidence of your level of competence in the trade you perform. It is also evidence that you have completed a relevant Health, Safety & Environment Test, which means you’ve mastered the health and safety basics necessary to perform the apprenticeship duties you have taken on.
The CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test you will need to complete will depend on the nature of your apprenticeship. There’s a specified CSCS test for every one of the trades that form a part of the construction landscape – from basic site operative to master electrician. Whatever your apprenticeship is for, there will be an appropriate CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test to back it up. Construction Support Line offers links from its website to help you find out which test is right for you: or you can speak to a Construction Support Line agent.
Getting Your CSCS Card
As an apprentice on site, you will need a CSCS Card in order to work. Just contact a Construction Support Line agent and he or she will help you work out which card you need. You’ll also need to find out which NVQ or SVQ you need to complete: your CSCS Smart Card requires you to be studying for Level 1 NVQ or SVQ in order for you to be eligible.
Construction Support Line takes care of all your booking and documentation needs when you apply for the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test. You’ll take the test in order to qualify for your Card. Once you have passed your test, Construction Support Line will submit your documents to CSCS and your Card will be sent to the address that you supply.
Moving up the Construction Ladder
Once you have completed your apprenticeship you will doubtless be looking to start furthering your construction career. The CSCS Card you hold as an apprentice will be Red: once you have finished your training you can start working towards a skilled Blue Card by applying to start a Level 2 NVQ or SVQ. If you complete a full indentured apprenticeship or an employee sponsored apprenticeship you may be eligible to apply for a Gold Card – the skilled CSCS Card equivalent to the NVQ or SVQ Level 3.
Your CSCS Smart Card will hold all relevant information on an electronic chip. Site supervisors all over the UK will be able to call up your qualifications and competencies whenever you apply for work – which means you get the work you deserve after all that effort.