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

To check if CSCS accepts your qualification, you can use the CSCS Card Finder. Select “search by qualification”, type in your qualification and see if your qualification appears.

If you have lost your qualification certificate, please click here.

CSCS does not deliver courses or qualifications, so if you need a qualification then you will need to find a college or training provider which delivers the qualification you need.

To find a college or training provider which delivers the qualification you need, enter the qualification name into the OFQUAL register of regulated qualifications. This will show which awarding bodies offer the qualification you need. By proceeding to the websites of these awarding bodies, you will be able to find the college or training provider nearest to you.

There is a common misconception that CSCS only accepts NVQ/SVQs as proof of qualification. In reality, CSCS accepts a wide variety of qualifications, which are listed below:

If you do not have a recognised qualification CSCS can issue you with a temporary card. Before a temporary card can be issued you must be registered onto the appropriate qualification for your occupation. The card you receive will not be renewable, but it will be valid for long enough for you to complete your qualification. You can then apply for one of CSCS’ skilled cards.

Vocational Qualifications

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)

Description: 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 card, Advanced Craft card, Supervisor card, Manager card


Description: 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 card, Advanced Craft card

Academic Qualifications

Higher National Certificates (HNCs)/Higher National Diplomas (HNDs)

Description: 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). You can find out more about the AQP card here.

Cards available: AQP Card

Degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas/Certificates

Description: 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. You can find out more about the AQP card here.

Cards available: AQP Card

Professional Qualifications

Professional Body Membership

Description: 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. You can find out more about the PQP card here.

Cards available: PQP Card

Historical Qualifications

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

  1. City and Guild Craft/Advanced craft
  2. Employer/Indentured/Approved Apprenticeships

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

If you hold an historical qualification, submit it to our customer services team, via the Contact Us form on the CSCS website*.

Please select the field “You can’t find your qualification on Card Finder” and upload

A member of the team will then contact you to confirm if you are eligible for a CSCS card.