The Construction Skills Certification Scheme is designed to be an accurate reflection of your industry relevant skills, experience and qualifications.
The system was designed in the mid 1990s and came to prominence when a Government Review in the early 2000s deemed it the best way to meaningfully compare levels of skill and competence across the industry.
Bearing in mind that the C&D industries encompass a huge number of trades and jobs (the varieties of CSCS Card represent an estimated 350 of them), the Scheme represents a significant achievement and has enable site supervisors all over the UK to know exactly who is working on their site and what they are qualified to do.
There are 11 different types of CSCS Card, which have been designed to accurately reflect these 350 plus trades and the varying levels of skill and experience that workers in them may have.
Is There a Difference Between Qualifications and Experience?
One of the reasons that CSCS has become the industry standard is its ability to recognise the value of long term experience and all the skills that the jobs in these 350 trades confer. While there is ultimately a difference between skills and experience, in that the CSCS requires almost all candidates to get on the NVQ or SVQ path they need for the CSCS Card they are applying for, the Scheme has been able to make experience count for a lot.
In most trades, CSCS allows experience to be “swapped” for NVQ or SVQ Levels or other trade equivalents. This is most prominent higher up the scale, where highly competent management and supervisory staff are even given the option to bypass the NVQ altogether by having an Applicant Evidence Sheet compiled on their behalf.
Temporary CSCS Cards and their Skilled Equivalents
Where a worker has the relevant experience and skills but lacks the NVQ or SVQ to be measured, CSCS allows for them to apply for a Red CSCS Card. The Red CSCS Card is divided according to the skill level and job type of its applicants – which can range from Trainee through Graduate to Skilled Worker or Skilled Manager, Supervisor or Technician. Holding a Red CSCS Card shows that you either have the experience without the NVQ and SVQ Levels normally required for a skilled card; or that you have achieved a qualification but have no experience.
When you apply for and receive a Red CSCS Card either for an Experienced Worker or an Experienced Manager, Technician or Supervisor, you are expected to replace it in due course with a Blue CSCS Card, Gold CSCS Card or Black CSCS card.
These coloured CSCS Cards are representative of, respectively, Level 2 NVQ or SVQ; Level 3 Construction NVQ or SVQ; and Levels 4 and higher NVQ or SVQ.
The Red CSCS Cards for Experienced Workers, Managers, Supervisors and Technicians are not re issued: so you have the length of time they last to achieve the NVQ or SVQ Level you need. Experienced Workers have one year to achieve this; Experienced Managers, Supervisors and Technicians have three.