Everything You Need to Know About CSCS

By Ryan on October 19, 2018 in CSCS Information with 0 Comments

Being in a construction industry is not an easy job. Aside from months, or even years of constructing buildings or highways for the benefit of the public, you need to make sure that you are properly equipped in terms of skills and technical and safety knowledge.

Because of the risks associated in the construction site, the CSCS or Construction Skills and Certification Scheme was launched. Since its inception in 1995, CSCS has become the largest scheme in the construction industry, covering 220 occupations.

What is CSCS?

Construction Skills and Certification Scheme, also known as CSCS, was introduced in 1995 to improve the quality and efficiency of work while making sure that all the workers in the industry have basic health and safety knowledge. As a leading competency card scheme for construction recognized in the UK, CSCS ensures that accidents, injuries and any other risks related to construction will be reduced significantly.

How do I qualify under the scheme?

Several tests were created in order to ensure competency, efficiency and safety in the site area. And depending on the field you wish to apply, different requirements must also be complied with.

In order to be CSCS certified, you need to comply with the following requirements –

  1. You must be able to demonstrate the qualifications required for your occupation.
  2. You must complete the CSCS Application Form.
  3. You must pass the relevant Health, Safety and Environment Test.
  4. You must pay for the corresponding fees – £19.50 for the test and £30.00 for the CSCS card.

If you are able to fulfil all the requirements mentioned, a CSCS card will be issued as proof of achievement and competence.


What is the Health, Safety and Environment Test?


The Health, Safety and Environment Test, also referred to as the HS&E Test, is a type of test organized by the CITB to improve safety and productivity in the site. It is aimed towards raising the standards across the construction industry while ensuring that workers are equipped with basic knowledge on health, safety and environmental awareness before going on site. It also introduced updates in order to raise construction standards in this changing industry.

Composition of the Test

The HS&E Test is composed of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered within 45 minutes. 12 questions will be related on the behavior and response to health and safety situations in a construction site while the remaining 38 questions will focus on the individual’s awareness on health, safety and environmental issues.

A grade of 47 is needed in order to pass the test.

Types of Test

The HS&E Test you will take depends on your skills and trade. The basic test is the Operative HS&E test that is taken by majority of workers such as carpenters, dry liners and laborers. Otherwise, an individual should take the corresponding test depending on the occupation. Tests may be –




In case you have achieved a construction-related NVQ or SVQ within two years at the time of the application, there is no need to take the HS&E Test. Also, if you have FAS (Eire) Safepass, you are also exempted from taking the Operative or Specialist HS&E Test.


How about the CSCS Card?


A CSCS card is considered as the most important qualification in the construction industry. Aside from proving the skills needed for the job, it shows that you have the health and safety knowledge that enables you to work safely. It also lists relevant certificates or qualifications obtained to prove your competency.

Type of CSCS Cards

The CSCS card is issued under a colour system. This will depend on your level of training, experience and qualification and is specific to your occupation. Aside from proving your expertise in the field, the card also contains your information recorded in the site.


  • Red CSCS Card. This card is issued are in further education or are still working towards NVQ or SVQ. It also has four types – graduate, trainee, experienced worker and experienced technician and supervisor or manager.
  • Green CSCS Card. This type of card is issued to workers with non-specific skills. It requires NVQ Level 1 and must pass the HS&E Test.
  • Blue CSCS Card. This requires either a Level 2 NVQ/SVQ or completion of employer-sponsored City and Guilds Apprenticeship.
  • Gold CSCS Card. To be issued with a gold card, this means applicant must have an indentured apprenticeship or NVQ/SVQ Level 3. This card can also be issued for skilled workers and supervisors.
  • Black CSCS Card. This card is designed for managers who were able to achieve a Level 4 SVQ/NVQ.


Take note that for all the card types, the worker must pass the relevant Health, Safety & Environment Test.


Is there other way to obtain CSCS Card?

Yes, through apprenticeship. It can either be Employer’s Apprenticeship or Approved Apprenticeship.

Under the employer’s apprenticeship (blue card), you need to provide a completion certificate from your employer together with the details on when it was completed. A copy of the City & Guilds (Craft or Advanced) certificates must also be provided.

For the approved apprenticeship (gold card), you must provide a copy of fully indentured apprenticeship documents gained from an apprenticeship provider. A City & Guilds certificate should also be submitted.

Nonetheless, the HS&E Test must still be taken.

Why do I need a CSCS Card?

Upon the introduction the scheme, fatal accidents and other construction-related risks reduced significantly. It also provided a method to check the workers’ competency and knowledge before allowing them to enter the sites. Because of these benefits, acquiring a CSCS card has become a mandatory requirement for most construction companies.

The CSCS Card is your way of proving your competency in your stated occupation. It is also a proof that shows your awareness in terms of safety and health concerns. Without the card, you may even be denied access on the site.

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