There are 11 different types of CSCS Card. Each one pertains to a different area of the construction industry (there’s even one for visitors) and a different level of experience, competence or skill.
Individual applicants need to be aware of the different types of card and the requirements they have for successful award. Let’s start with the card colours.
Colours of CSCS Card
Each colour code relates to a different level of qualification or experience. The two colours denoting the least experience or qualification are Red and Green. Red CSCS Cards show that an employee has completed a relevant CSCS Test but has not yet achieved the qualifications he or she needs to be considered a skilled worker – or that he or she has just passed a basic NVQ or SVQ and requires more time on the job to be considered experienced (this last applies to graduates with industry recognised qualifications but no experience.
As your experience and qualification levels increase, the colours of your CSCS Card change, ascending (in order) through Blue, Gold and Black. White and Yellow or White and Grey cards are for Professionally Qualified Persons (like surveyors) who need access to construction sites. Yellow Cards are for visitors and simply denote that they have passed a Basic CSCS Test.
The Qualifications and Experience that Your CSCS Card Denotes
The CSCS Card is designed to be a proof of your level of competence, safety and knowledge in your area. NVQs and SVQs are standard industry measures of competence and are used as benchmarks for progression through the CSCS Smart Card hierarchy. Managers, for example, must have an NVQ or SVQ Level 4 or higher in order to qualify for the Black Manager’s Card. They must also pass the MAP (Managerial and Professional) CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test.
The construction industry is full of senior level managers with no qualifications, who have gained their roles through hard work, long standing experience and dedication. The CSCS Card Scheme has been designed to take this into account. Managers with no qualifications may achieve a Black Card through either the Experienced Manager (Red) Card, or through the Profiled Route for highly competent managers. There are certain types of manager that still require NVQ or SVQ achievement, dependent on the nature of the role.
What about Trades That Do Not Have NVQ or SVQ?
If you are in a trade that has no relevant NVQ or SVQ courses, you will still be eligible to apply for a CSCS Card. The CSCS Blue Card (Craft Unit Level) is designed for skilled crafts people who have no NVQ or SVQ to achieve.
These people will be able to take NVQ or SVQ units specific to their trades without doing enough to achieve a full NVQ or SVQ mark. Passing their trade specific units, and passing the Health, Safety & Environment Test appropriate to their trade will make these workers eligible for the Blue Craft Unit Level CSCS Smart Card.