Holding a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card has become an essential certification for tradespeople wanting to work on a construction site in the UK, with nearly all site managers now making this a mandatory requirement. 

There are a number of different CSCS cards available to tradespeople, each signifying the kind of work the holder is qualified to carry out whilst on site. To apply for any level of CSCS card, workers must complete a CITB Health, Safety and Environment test

Below we’ve taken a look at the different types of CSCS cards, and the qualifications needed to obtain each one. 

What is CSCS?

CSCS is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry. CSCS cards are a way of providing proof that an individual has the necessary training and qualifications to safely carry out work on a construction site. 

Green CSCS Card - Green Labourer / General Operative

The Green CSCS card is aimed at those expecting to complete entry-level, manual labour tasks on site. To hold one, you must complete your Operatives Test and show evidence that you’ve completed the QCF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment one-day course.

Blue CSCS Card - Skilled Worker

Blue cards are issued to experienced workers who have completed the relevant training needed to fulfil their duties on site safely and effectively. The card is awarded to those who have achieved a construction-related NVQ or SVQ level 2, an apprenticeship, or another industry-approved qualification.

Red CSCS Card - Provisional

This is for people working through probationary periods with an employer. You can only apply for a provisional card if you have not held a CSCS card before and this card can only be applied for once. The card lasts for six months and is not renewable.

Red CSCS Card - Experienced Worker

This temporary card is for workers with on the job experience who are registered to complete an approved construction related NVQ/SVQ level 2, SVQ at SCQF level 5 or higher.

Red CSCS Card - Experienced Card (Technical, Supervisory and Management)

This temporary card is valid for three years, and is available to supervisors, managers and technical workers with on-the-job experience and who are registered to complete an approved construction-related technical, supervisory or management NVQ/SVQ Level 3, SVQ at SCQF level 6 or higher.

Red CSCS Card - Trainee

Valid for five years, cardholders are expected to complete a construction-related qualification by the time the card expires and apply for a skilled CSCS card.

Red CSCS Card - Apprentice

Available to those on a recognised apprenticeship, the card is valid for four years and six months, and cannot be renewed. 

Gold CSCS Card - Advanced Craft

This Gold CSCS card recognises workers with advanced skill sets, and is available if you have achieved a construction-related NVQ or SVQ level 3, completed an approved indentured apprenticeship, or completed an employer-sponsored apprenticeship which includes the achievement of a City & Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate.

Gold CSCS Card - Supervisor

The Gold CSCS Supervisor Card is for experienced professionals that work in a supervisory role and have been awarded a construction-related supervisory SVQ or NVQ level 3 or 4.

Black CSCS Card - Senior Manager

The CSCS Black card is for those who hold senior management positions. To be eligible, the applicant must have passed the CITB Managers and Professionals (MAP) Health, Safety and Environment Test and achieved NVQ/SVQ levels 5, 6 or 7 in a relevant construction management level qualification. Alternatively, you may hold a pre-existing NVQ level 4 in construction management.

White CSCS Card - Professionally Qualified Person

These White CSCS cards are on offer to those who don’t necessarily hold a construction qualification, but still need to visit a construction site, such as architects and surveyors. To apply, you will need to complete a CITB HS&E test.

White CSCS Card - Academically Qualified Person

Aimed at those who don’t hold recognised industry qualifications such as an NVQ, this White CSCS card grants access by recognising a number of alternative qualifications, which you can find here.

If you need any more information, then the CSCS card finder tool can help you find the level of card that’s suitable for your requirements.