To apply for a skilled level CSCS card, an applicant must hold a nationally recognised construction related qualification.
There is a common misconception that CSCS only accepts NVQs as proof of qualification. In reality, CSCS accepts a wide variety of qualifications, which are listed below:
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 workmen 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.
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.
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). To find out if your qualification is accepted for an AQP card, use the AQP search tool 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 all levels get the same kind of CSCS card. To find out if your qualification is accepted for an AQP card, use the AQP search tool here.
Cards available: AQP Card
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. To find out if your professional body is accepted for a PQP card, use the PQP search tool here.
Cards available: PQP Card
CSCS recognises that construction workers may hold a number of older qualifications which are no longer available. If you hold one of these historical qualifications, then please call us on 0344 994 4777 to find out if you are eligible for a CSCS card.