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To apply for a skilled CSCS card, an applicant must hold a nationally recognised construction related qualification.

If you do not have a recognised qualification, CSCS can issue you with a temporary card. However, before a temporary card can be issued you must be registered onto the appropriate qualification for your occupation.

CSCS does not deliver courses, qualifications or exams. Qualifications and training will need to be arranged with a college or training provider.

To find a college or training provider which delivers the qualification you need, enter the qualification name into the OFQUAL register of regulated qualifications.

Qualifications accepted for CSCS cards

NVQs measure your competence against a set framework for a particular skill. This framework is known as a National Occupational Standard.

NVQs have multiple levels. Higher levels require an applicant to demonstrate more complex skills. Level 2 NVQs are required for blue skilled CSCS cards, level 3 NVQs for gold CSCS cards and level 5, 6 and 7 NVQs (in a construction management qualification) for black cards.

NVQs are assessed on practical assignments and a portfolio of evidence that an applicant builds up. Normally an assessor will observe the applicant working and question them about the work they do. The assessor will then sign off individual units within the NVQ once the applicant has reached the required standard.

Experienced workers can do an NVQ via On Site Assessments (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessments (EWPA).

These assessments result in the achievement of full NVQs but are quicker and cheaper than a traditional NVQ assessment. However they require the applicant to have several years experience in their occupation.

Scotland uses Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) instead of NVQs, but the fundamentals of the qualifications are the same.

Cards available: Skilled Worker card, Advanced Craft card, Supervisor card, Manager card

In an apprenticeship, an employer formally takes on an apprentice as a paid employee and provides them with training along a recognised apprenticeship standard while they work. This is followed by an assessment at the end of the apprenticeship.

Cards available: Skilled Worker card, Advanced Craft card

HNCs and HNDs are courses provided by higher and further education colleges in technical skills.

HNDs are one level higher than HNCs and so take longer to complete. HNC courses last one year (2 if taken part time) while HND courses take 2 years (4 if taken part time).

Cards available: AQP Card

A degree is a qualification awarded by an academic institution such as a university. There are different levels of degree, including bachelor’s, master’s and doctorates, but not all degree levels will get a CSCS card.

Cards available: AQP Card

The membership of certain professional bodies has been approved by CSCS as equivalent to a qualification. These professional bodies assess the competence of their members as part of their membership.

Cards available: PQP Card

CSCS recognises that construction workers may hold a number of older qualifications which are no longer available, these include:

  • City and Guild Craft/Advanced craft
  • Employer/Indentured/Approved Apprenticeships

This is not an exhaustive list and there will be other historical qualifications that CSCS may accept.

If you hold a historical qualification, please submit it to our customer services team, who will then contact you to confirm if you are eligible for a CSCS card.