The Construction Skills Certification Scheme, or CSCS, is the industry standard measure of competence and health and safety knowledge. The CSCS Card, which is awarded to all construction site workers who have completed the relevant CSCS Test, denotes the level of experience and qualification each worker has in his or her field: and acts as proof that he or she has achieved a passing grade in the all important test.
The CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test, like the cards, is targeted according to the trade or profession that you work in. Depending on your trade or site position you will need to complete different health, safety & environment test before you are eligible to apply for a CSCS Smart Card.
History of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme
The Construction Skills Certification Scheme began in the mid 1990s, as a way of trying to pull together the various trades that compose the construction industry. With more than 350 trades to look at and a lack of standardised health, safety & environment tests available, the industry as a whole was finding it difficult to gauge the relative competencies of the trade workers on a building site. CSCS offered a chance for a single measure of ability and past experience – and let the industry develop a recognisable qualification that could act as a benchmark for every one of the different disciplines that make up the industry.
These qualifications are what we know as NVQ or SVQ. There’s a full NVQ or SVQ for most trades in the construction industry, and a selection of modules relevant to those trades that do not have a full course attached to them.
How Did CSCS Become the Industry Standard?
Just after the turn of the century, the Deputy Prime Minister ordered a Review of the British construction industry, which found that the C&D sectors were in need of a standardised system of health and safety training. The Review recommended the CSCS Card and the uptake of the scheme increased exponentially. Current figures show that 80% of British building sites now accept the CSCS Card as the only guarantee that a worker has completed the relevant CSCS tests, and has been trained to a level commensurate with his or her position on site.
Where there are industry sectors that have always had their own health and safety bodies, CSCS has incorporated recognised qualifications into its remit. The CSCS Card has affiliates in the electrotechnical; HVAC; and PEMS sectors – all of whose cards are accepted as part of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
What is the future of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme?
As an initiative now well over a decade old, CSCS has recently been subject to a review. The Scheme experienced initial problems with the CSCS Card, in that construction sites were not always able to distinguish between types and levels of Card. Modern CSCS Smart Cards, which store a site worker’s details on an electronic chip, now let site supervisors access a full work and qualifications history.
With the CSCS Card entering its new phase, the old “No CSCS Card, No Job” signs on UK building sites are being replaced with “Wrong Card, No Job” signs. Thanks to the Scheme, the industry is getting safer still.
To apply for the correct CSCS Card, contact a Construction Support Line representative or book directly from the website.