CSCS cards shake-up: full details of new Green and ‘academic’ cards

25 September 2013

The CSCS card scheme has revealed details of a new shake-up that seeks to set a higher competence standard for holders of the operative's Green card by linking it to a new Level 1 qualification [corrected] from July next year.

In addition, there is a move to recognise a wider range of qualifications beyond NVQs with the introduction of a new Academically Qualified Person's card, for holders of HNCs, HNDs and degrees.

The new AQP card is available from later this week and will be valid for five years. It is non-renewable, so that any holder will then be required to pass an NVQ in order to acquire a permanent occupation-based card.

Alternatively, anyone holding a CIOB Site Management Qualification will be able to apply for a Black or Manager's CSCS card.

The Green card will in future be known as a Labourer's card and will be linked to a forthcoming Level 1 test in Health and Safety for Construction Labourers. In addition, applicants for both cards will have to sit the CITB online HS&E test.

More detail and reaction to CSCS change

Graham Wren, chairman of CSCS, told CM: “The new AQP card is driven by a lot of comments for the industry saying that CSCS is based on NVQs, but we have a lot of professionals, graduates and HNDs and holders of NEBOSH and CIOB certificates and the level they come in at is at least as high as the Vocational Qualifications they're being asked to do. So introducing the AQP card recognises academic qualifications, but it's non-renewable. During the five years, we expect them to work towards a higher vocational award or a Professionally Qualified Person's card.

Wren said that the card was aimed at new graduates, college leavers and entrants to the industry who currently don't have a card aimed at them and were instead “told to get a vocational qualification”. “We know there are people who are newly qualified getting on site with a visitor's card,” he commented. “It should reduce the number of visitor cards issued.”

Full details of all the courses and qualifications that will entitle an individual to apply for an AQP will be available on the CSCS website later this week.

On the new Green card regime, which will kick in for any cards renewed from July 2014 onwards, CSCS believes that the new qualifications hurdle will reduce the current total of 600 000 Green cards in circulation, but will also up-skill a large group that works part-time in the industry.

“The reality is that people who dip in and out of the industry are a risk to themselves and those around them,” says Wren.

Wren: “affordable level”

He added: “We want to make sure that other people don't view the Green card as an easy route to get on site – we know there are some supervisors and even managers who hold Green cards – and we hope they might be deterred from holding it.

“Many card holders are holding the wrong card for the job, so when it comes to renewal, we hope they will get the right card for their occupation.”

But the Green card shake-up comes as many contractors are starting to fear that the current upturn in the industry's fortunes could bring labour shortages. Asked whether the training and assessment involved would create an additional constraint on the availability of labour, Wren said: “I can foresee that being a concern, but the industry thinks the Green card is unacceptable in its current form. We've tried to set the bar at a level that's affordable, we are still in tough times. The assessment shouldn't be time-consuming for the individual, and it can be delivered in a number of ways.”

CSCS hopes to pilot the new Level 1 qualification later this year and the beginning of 2014, allowing the new regime to be implemented from July 1 2014.

CSCS cards are quasi-mandatory in the industry, and are required by anyone working on sites managed by contractors in the UKCG, NSCC and Civil Engineering Contractors Association.


Hi there. Hopefully I'll be quick. I currently stand as a 25 year veteran of construction, qualifying as a bricklayer in 1988, and since then I have worked on many sites working my way "through the ranks" so to speak, from assisting to run/manage sites to the point of becoming a Site Manager in 2005 through to 2008, after which the "owner" of the building company whose sites I was successfully managing, pulled the plug and kindly made the company bankrupt (2 months later he started up again under another name! least said the better there). But I thought no problem, move on to the next job. This is when I found out despite my years of experience and time spent in managing sites, qualifications were all that everyone wanted, so unemployed, I began my long, self-funded journey to get the necessary qualifications everyone's asking for. First 2 years ago I achieved my "National certificate" (D.Distinction grades), then 18 months ago achieving my HNC (Merit grade) and now I am currently studying for my HND, but despite all that, and now employed, I currently only hold the red "Trainee Supervisors" card that I was given, after being tested for it whilst still unemployed, (which I feel may be one of the few things holding me back from acquiring a better high level job), and which I was told could not be upgraded for a much higher level card.
Can I please ask why this is? and if it could or should be a higher level card, what is the best I could expect, under the current or new proposed regulations, and what do I need to do to get it, i.e. tests, qualification etc.
Thank you very much for your time and patience, and any possible help and information that you may supply me.
kind regards
Jeremy Beighton

Jeremy Beighton, 23 September 2013

Interesting read, however it would be nice if Mr Wren talked about the current 5 day, back door route into construction management. The institute claims that they champion CDP yet I recall attending one of the CDP events, only for a platform be provided for a SMSTS course provider! Surely the acceptance of SMSTS as an industry accredited qualification, with it's 97.5% pass rate is a complete contradiction of all the institute stands for. The CSCS card, and NVQ 6 which is required to attain it proves competence, it tests an individual's experience, and train of thought. One can not wing it easily, SMSTS on the other hand is practically impossible to fail. The institute rarely talks about freelance workers, the powers that be within the institute assume, or are only interested in full time workers, and even then they are only interested if that company is a large well resourced institution. SMSTS has and still is cheapening the achievement of further education. It is completely out of touch with why people are motivated to attain higher levels of education and knowledge. They do it to gain work and enhance their careers, many are struggling and have paid thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours of their time to attain them. It was not long ago when the institute was contemplating removing the right of ICIOB members from using the letters after their name, unless they take NVQ 7! Yet there are people, and employers who would accept an individual who holds a labourers CSCS card and an SMSTS certificate, and are getting site mangers jobs! How can Mr Wren claim "people who dip in and out of the industry are a danger to themselves and those around them." Without acknowledging the link between the widespread acceptance of this 5 day, extremely expensive farcical exercise. At present a labourer's CSCS card and SMSTS certificate is considered more important than being FCIOB and NEBOSH trained. But Mr Wren and the institute will refuse to acknowledge these facts, let alone encourage debate on the subject, which is why the CIOB is losing members. The CIOB is construction's version of a Masonic lodge, lavish award ceremonies for the nation's biggest and most well resourced companies, who no doubt are also the largest contributors, find themselves invited to and receiving an award, from from the institute. These awards are then used for marketing and tendering for work. Mr Wren, wake up and smell the Coffee!

Anthony porter, 23 September 2013

Regarding the thread by Anthony Porter, I sympathise to a degree but would like to point out an important point that I think has been overlooked. Holding an SMSTS cert does not make anyone a Site Manager. It does, however, teach people ( that want to digest and embrace it) the fundamental rules and procedures concerning the H&S aspects of a Site Managers role.
H&S is only 1 aspect of a SM's role albeit, a very important one.
What makes a competent SM is, H&S knowledge, technical knowledge, people management skills, collaboration skills, programming skills and experience...among other things. The SMSTS is a vital part of that.
Academic achievements alone do not automatically make people into competent SM's. It a combination of all of the above and being able to demonstrate them to a certain standard.
The CSCS scheme, in my experience is all about ensuring that the people that come onto sites have the basic H&S awareness to carry out their task, it has not been a reflection of their competence.

Derek Wright, 24 September 2013

In response to Jeremy’s comment above, from Monday 30th September you could apply for the AQP (Academically Qualified Person’s) Card. This is available to applicants who hold one of the following construction related qualifications:-

• HNC and HND
• Degrees
• NEBOSH Construction Certificates and National Diplomas
• CIOB Certificates

A full list of the accepted academic qualifications is listed here:

If you then become a member of a recognised professional organisation listed at you could then apply for the PQP Card (Professionally Qualified Person).

Kind regards
Graham Wren
CSCS Chief Executive

Graham Wren, 27 September 2013

CSCS recognises the scheme has been diluted by misuse of green cards which is one of the main reasons for the changes being introduced over the next few months. The scheme is not about the Health, Safety & Environment (H,S&E) test only. CSCS cards provide a method for site managers and supervisors to verify individuals hold the relevant qualifications and training for the work they undertake. This is why it is important for principal contractors to carry out efficient card checks. In addition to holding recognised qualifications, card applicants need to pass the relevant H,S&E test.

Kind regards
Graham Wren
CSCS Chief Executive

Graham Wren, 27 September 2013

Whilst it is in everyones interest that construction safety is paramount and this is a driving factor behind CSCS, because of their over-whelming desire that an SVQ/NVQ be attained, they are essentially devaluing academic qualifications. A person can hold multiple academic qualifications up to Masters degree level but unable to get on site without an SVQ. Many are not in a position of having the necessary funds to pay out thousands for SVQs to the equivalent level and therefore financially unattainable in specific sectors. Therefore they are resigned to being highly qualified but on site holding a green labourer or visitor card. Is an SVQ which can be obtained in 6 months really equal to an academic degree which takes 3 or more years to attain???. CSCS thinks so!.

Kevin Moore, 9 December 2013

All well and good your talk about hnc's, hnd's and degrees my qualification is covered by the NHSS and Lantra so does that mean i and many in my industry will have to go through the NVQ
process which will mean more of our money being siphoned by another government style department?

Kelvin Bagley, 11 January 2014

Upshot is that it's geared towards making money by making people take courses that they have to pay for. What happened to experience gained through hands on roles!?

Andy Ollier, 9 February 2014

I totally disagree with the cscs card. It has not cut back on accidents. Everyone who works on a site should be aware of health and safety. I did a 3 yr apprenticeship and class myself good at what I do. I had a card for 5yrs when it first came out. I took a test last year and could not believe I failed. At £17.50 a time and no work it's quite expensive. I will not sign the dole. I have passed numerous sites screaming for bricklayers and it makes you wonder where all the tradesmen have gone. Hence a government money making scam. If we did not have so many foreigners in our country this would never of happened. 38yrs in the trade. And no the wonder posts cannot get filled. A very dissatisfied bricklayer with this country

Paul stoker, 29 April 2014

40 years in the business time served 5 years apprenticeship and college, this CSCS card is a rip off don't pay for them they will soon come back when there are no tradesman left with cards.

Kenny Foster, 20 May 2014

I do wonder at the reason for having to sit through a basic health and safety touch screen test when I have passed the much more thorough SMSTS. Apparently, according to the CITB website and the CSCS employee I spoke with on the phone, the SMSTS combined with my honours degree, CIOB approved degree in construction management, in ADDITION to on site experience will not furnish me with adequate qualifications for a black CSCS card.

Owen Harkin , 23 May 2014

20 years plus, SMSTS, NEBOSH Construction cert, PMI, CIOB, MSc Construction Project Management, BA Hons Business Management. budgets of £20m plus mega projects. Can I get a Black Card?, No!. CSCS is a Government Scheme for cash milking. CSCS cards give nothing back, complete waste of time in my opinion. I now waiver CSCS cards on my projects.

John Johnson, 31 May 2014

This CSCS, SMSTS SSSTS, and so on is a complete farce. I started as a bricklayer over thirty years ago and worked my way up to a Project Manager level in Canada. I returned to this country to find that the money I paid to be assessed for my NVQ level 4 back in 2006/7 was a waste as the assessor failed to put all my paperwork in. Failing to find work I listened to the job centre and attended University at the age of 46 to study my BSc in construction project management (NVQ level 6) equivalent. When it came to getting my card to continue in Management I am only entitled to the graduate card. Over thirty years and all I get is the same as some spotty faced twit who couldn't find their way around a lego set.
What grinds my bones are the kids on the phone for this money making machine telling me that because I have over thirty years and only a degree with honours I have to be assessed for an NVQ level 4, NO YOU CAN'T you cannot be assessed at a lower level than you have so to be assessed for a level 7 MSC equivalent I have to be a director, how in the hell do you become a director when its difficult enough to continue in the position you have held for nearly 20 years.
Mr Wren start smelling the BS your shovelling us and start recognising the achievements those of us with these years of experience have and have contributed to your cash machine over the years. START GIVING US SOMETHING BACK. If you wish to carry on with this then start with those who are only now coming into the industry.

Stephen Rhodes, 4 July 2014

Owen Harkin and John Johnson, you two make great points.

I have been in the industry for 8 years, never taken my smsts because it seems like a money making waste of time. I have my degree in Construction Management and have been running sites for years. Yet I am still told I have to do an NVQ of lower level to my degree to obtain a black card.

The system desperately needs a restructure to distinguish the labourers with SMSTS and a degree qualified experienced site manager. I am aware this is kind of being done through the White AQP but everyone I speak to still regards the Black card as the highest card possible, when it clearly is not.

There should also be a language test with the CSCS labourer card. We get so many guys on site that cannot understand basic safety signs. (I make them read out one of the near by safety signs or ask them what one of the site rules is, and if they cannot understand it I am faced with no choice but to ask them to leave site) This may not seem fair to them because they get away with it on so many sites and they do not understand why I am not letting them work.

T Bamber, 7 July 2014

Hi, I have been a painter for 34 yrs, but I never finished my time as my employer passed away, I then went self-employed, I have been working in Ireland for the last 14years, what card do I need to apply for and do I need to complete an NVQ. Regards John

John McAllister, 21 July 2014

Looking at the reponses to this government-backed organisation, one can only assume experience without paper is insufficient and not practicable to meet the government's expectations or agenda. I fully agree with the majority of posters who have what clearly looks like a wealth of knowledge but are being penalised for having such knowledge. Why should someone who has been in a particular profession for x amount of years be scrutinised and made to pay to go to work!
My personal experience has developed me to recoqnise who has the right credentials and who's need massaging.
It really does beggar belief that large building companies had to resort to this kind debacle to ''get the site qualified''. I have seen too many arrive with gift wrapped qualifications over-flowing from brief cases, and not one inch of experience other than fast track nonsense.
In summary it looks like the ''old school'' has been dismantled and the experience destined for the scarp heap and the dumbed down NVQ CSCS and other parodies likely to succumb. In true form the government bodies will be looking outside the country to fill the voids of ''real'' workers, whom have no time for paraphernalia.

Daryl Brown, 1 September 2014

I have been working in the construction industry for over 20 years in operative, supervisor, and contracts manager roles, I have no formal qualifications or NVQ's but lots of on the job experience. When I first realised the need for a CSCS card to access construction sites I obtained the basic labourer's card. This has now expired so I undertook the manager's and professional H and S test touchscreen test. Now to apply for the card, I thought that I would apply for the experienced workers/ managers card, the first person I spoke to at CSCS said without an NVQ I would not be eligible for any card, it was only the fact during a second phone call that i mentioned I have IOSH managing safety which is equivalent to SMSTS that allowed me to have a card at all, and this is a red trainee card! There are many managers out there in this situation, managers' NVQ's cost around £3000, many companies cannot afford to pay this.

Wayne, 8 September 2014

Contracts Manager, Bsc Hons in Construction & Project Management, NVQ 3 in joinery & a NEBOSH but still no black card... To be taken seriously why not scrap the current scheme and release 7 coloured cards ranging from nvq 1-7 or equivalent and you get a coulour based on your level, so my degree is recognised as the same level as nvq 6 and I therefore get the same card, rather than walking around with my gold joiners cards... For old timers assess their competence and give them a higher level accredited card based on 30yrs experience ... The current system does not work. I will not be renewing mine and I dont understand how an NVQ can be equivalent to a degree.

Tom Bunting, 26 September 2014

CSCS cards are just a money making machine, when they opened an office in Eastern Europe the writing was on the wall, job for the boys.
A good apprenticeship training and old man's experience count for a lot, also good qualifications courses that you may want to take should stand up to scrutiny.

I worked overseas in civils as site supervisor for a number of years and on my return my gold card had expired. I also hold NEBOSH HSE quals but just because my CSCS card was out of date major construction sites would not employ me

CSCS are just a money making machine .

GB, 31 October 2014

Started in construction at 16 as an apprentice joiner now I have over 30 years construction experience, a NEBOSH Construction Certificate, a HNC in Construction, was a director of a construction company but can I get a black card no but can pigs fly !!! I'm not even getting looked at for employment because I've no black card and employers or employment agencies won't accept my AQP card. It's an absolute joke as I've now got to spend another £2000 to get an NVQ level 6 so I can qualify when people were getting them handed to them after passing an SMSTS. This CSCS cash cow needs to be stripped right back to basics as even people from CITB say it's a joke with so many grey areas. Sort this out Mr Wren it's making the industry a laughing stock !!!!

David Wright, 9 November 2014

Bring back the city and guilds craft - the nvq is a joke

zaid hussain, 8 January 2015

It was a joke when it first came in and it is still utter twaddle. "CSCS destroying lives"
is how it should be advertised. Only in Britain could something that should have been simple be made so complicated. We should get together and sue them for lost earnings.

Robert Smith, 13 January 2015

CSCS is a total rip off !!!

Mark Strachan, 19 January 2015

The CSCS cards are out of control and over the top. I know lots of people with experience no qualifications and they're not on sites. There people with no experience and got qualifications are on sites. Now there's something missing here and CSCS need to wake up. We can't all have everything we all start from somewhere. So things need to be made easier for us all to obtain cards with or without experience as long as we have references. Then people without those can be on the trainee levels etc. The CSCS cards can't go on as they are its killing the building trade and workers are leaving or ones who want to work can't get a CSCS card. I Have all sorts of cards and upgraded driving licences to work on roads. But the only problem I got CSCS cards I can only get a 6 month trainee card which can't be renew. What about people in and out of temp work the trainee card will not work due to not having enough experience etc. The 6 month card not long enough for a trainee shocking. So within the 6 months I need to be on a course or nvq who is paying for all this time and money. The CSCS card and Mr Wren need to listen to people who work on building sites and not in a office making the rules up so it suits CSCS.

Peter Cosgrove, 12 February 2015

What a load of rubbish, I've been a contract/site manager on EWI sites for the last 8 years, and no i do not have any formal qualifications to get a black card. Yes i have SMSTS and IOSH but that does not allow me to now have a job has a site manager. More and more clients/employers are requesting the black card.... why? I now have to shell out for a NVQ level 6, which means I need to have a job on site, which I can't get has no one will now give me a job!!!!!!...... talk about swings and roundabouts.
Am I correct in saying it is not a legal requirement to have a CSCS card on site??????? and it doesn't prove you are a competent person.....

Richard Burgess, 19 February 2015

Reading through the comments here, the consensus seems to be that the cscs system is just a money making scam which I agree. I also have 25 years experience in the construction industry and a Masters degree in engineering services, taking many years of studying then someone comes along does a one week course - nebosh and is equal to me in the eyes of the system. what a farce..... James

James Flynn, 3 March 2015

I find this CSCS scheme ridiculous.....I've been a bricklayer for 38 years and was only able to get a green card as the company I did my apprenticeship with back in the 70's holds no records past 30 years. I am told by an idiot on the phone that I would only be issued a green card, may I say this, the CSCS is not proof of trade competence, I've seen plenty on site, even gold card holders who wouldn't know the difference between a fletton and a grape, it's laughable. Jobs for the boys, and especially for the idiots who aren't tradesmen. More and more jobs are H&S driven which in my mind is wrong, gloves and glasses crap, all this PPE should be task related but it's not......
Do we need H&S? of course we do but it's gone way too far the other way, yellow cards, red cards, we are treated like kids on site, sick of it

Sean Hourigan, 16 March 2015

From my limited experience of trying to get cards for my team it is a ridiculous money-making scheme - on every level.
When I have managed to get through to them directly the customer coordinators are about as knowledgeable as I am. It is frustratingly ridiculous.
Through my online searching it seems as though it has been a waste of time for more than ten years!

Stephanie, 17 March 2015

NVQ L2, NVQ L3, HNC in Building Surveying, Bsc Design and Construction Management, SMSTS, 11 years on tools and 6 years site management. I need to renew my card and I thought it was time for me to upgrade to a black card. Now, guess what? I can not, even though I have a lot of experience and academic qualifications to make up for two NVQ Level 6s. Why would I want to pay for an NVQ Level 6 when I already acquired a degree that it is LEVEL 6. This is outrageous! And what is more disgraceful is the fact that when applying for a job I am asked to provide a black card! I am forced to update my gold card and hope for the best!

Nick Schiau, 30 March 2015

These cards were a con from day one when all the large companies were self certifying staff as managers. I have 28 years experience, served an advanced craft apprenticeship (3 years on crap wages) worked for 20 years as a supervisor/manager. My gold carpenters card can not say "supervisor" on it? No NVQ?? The industry is littered with "managers" that can't be trusted with the shopping, and office-based accountants with black managers cards and any attempt to upgrade is met with the "NVQ" answer. No wonder so many have the wrong card for their job. It's easier to get a green card and work at whatever job you can, it only comes to light when someone dies!

Chris, 14 April 2015

These so called health and safety cards are holding people back, including myself. I am a company director and will not take on jobs where cscs is required. I have done in the past but had to get subbies in that had the cards but no idea how to do the works. In the meantime my better fixers were sitting at home.
I have asked them to get the cards but they are stubborn like myself because we see it as a money making scheme pointless for the workers.

paul brown, 18 May 2015

CSCS is just a money making machine that is killing the building trade

David Gregory, 3 June 2015

I'm a metal shelving installer, this is considered a non-skilled job, but you still need a CSCS card to get on any site, the green site operative card worked for this, and if your a supervisor a SSSTS/SMSTS with it, I have 18 years on site experience and 10 of those as a supervisor. All training is done on site, there is no formal qualifications for shelving installers as its still considered a non skilled trade. If I sit a NVQ it will be for the closest trade to mine (so nothing to do with my job) making it a pointless waste of money and me no more skilled than I already was. Also if I now need to sit an NVQ in order to get on site, that would in effect make me skilled, so I'm assuming if CSCS is now making my trade skilled they will also enforce the rates to go up like all the other skilled trades, how else will anyone in our trade be able to afford this?

Amber Quinnell, 9 June 2015

I was apprentice joiner back in 2000 for 3 years, I attended college and achieved al the qualifications required and worked onsite as a CITB apprentice where I would 4 alternative weeks at college and on construction sites. The company I worked for made everyone redundant and I found employment in other industries. Would I have to sit this test for this CSCS card or would my NVQs be enough?

Kevin Milne, 22 June 2015

I am yet another frustrated person who is unable to get any form of CSCS card. I have worked in the construction industry for 32 years as a self employed builder with a carpentry/ joinery apprenticeship. I have been a foreman on large housing projects and a manager of a company with multiple site responsibilities. In 2000 I left the UK to work abroad and have just returned to find that all my experience counts for nothing and am unable to get a card to work. I have recently completed the SSSTS which counts for absolutely nothing. I managed to get 2 weeks work as a handyman on a Jewsons refit where the site manager didn't know anything about the trade at all and had apparently got his card by cheating on 'the profiled route'. Where does this farcical system leave good honest experienced tradesman like me?

Martin West, 25 September 2015

i served a three year apprenticeship as a joiner but never got to finish college as the company was struggling and was told i could go to college and not get paid or work and get paid as they couldn't afford to pay me. All the guys I worked with told me i didn't need qualifications nobody ever asked for them which was true until CSCS cards came into operation i have over 30 years experience and have just about managed to stay in work . I am not looking for a site managers card or even a supervisors card just a card that will let me work as a joiner that won't cost me a fortune any suggestions.

Allan Richford , 28 September 2015

I'm 53 worked on construction sites for over 35 years and manage people .
It's so disappointing that a CSCS system is in place but H/S is the most important thing I agree
BUT it also about all our trades and how over the years we have picked up skills off all our workmates and the years we have worked in our post but cscs don't care about this at all, just not bothered. Poor show boys
Kind regards

Tony, 3 October 2015

Would like some advice from cscs person, I have been in the construction trade since I left 2009 the contruction trade went into a deep recession, prior to that I done 2 years city & guilds in carpentry and joinery because it was YTS at 16 where I worked as a carpenter on various jobs, big man in contractor residential and commercial projects, I worked my way from a carpenter and after some time I progressed into a carpentry foreman on various new build projects and refurbishments and commercial, I then progressed into management for main contractors such as St James , Barratts, J'oshea as a site manager stroke finishing foreman, I did not leave the industry out of choice but because the industry came to a halt.

I have a lot of experience in the industry and recently I took my smsts and 3 day first aid at work, I do have a cscs operative card which will expire in 3 years , I have been offered a job back in construction as carpentry foreman will that be enough until I apply for the profiled route a supervisor, I still have glowing references and a great c.v detailing my past in the industry. Need some clarification from cscs that what I have will be sufficent for the time being till I acquire more certification.

Steve , 22 October 2015

I assume when a first aider is sued for doing something wrong they will receive full financial backing from CSCS for any court costs and loss in earnings as you are forcing people to do.

Robert Smith, 27 October 2015

I agree with the comments above the CSCS scheme is just another unproductive , money making layer of bureaucracy. I have been working as a bricklayer on a green card. I think this is the legal minimum for an employer not to be charged with corporate manslaughter if I had an accident and died as it would be my fault as I know the risks. If employers start demanding some gold or platinum card that I have to go on an expensive course to prove that I can do what I have been doing for 30 yrs I think I will call it a day.

John Kemp, 10 November 2015

I am sixty one years old and been in this industry all my life. I am a time seerved joiner and have a black card that was given to me when I was a contracts manager in 1999. I wasn't asked for any proof of qualifications. I was given a book to study and took the test. Since when has it become necessary to take a 40 hour course to sit a H&S test? I feel sorry for those entering this industry now. There is no substitute for experience, CSCS is just a money making scheme that is worthless. Yes I renew my card but only because some numpty decided it was important.

Ray Collins, 18 November 2015

Hi I am a 47 year old catering equipment installer with 17 years experience I currently hold a 'green card' as I have no qualifications but I have managed at least a dozen turnkey installs, supervised hundreds of installs, surveyed scores of jobs, done umpteen jobs outside of my remit, stood alongside qualified trades and done the task they did or didn't want to do. Does experience really count for nothing now?

mark, 3 April 2016

Absolute joke- I have YEARS of experience, IOSH, SMSTS and all the other abbreviations. No formal quals and I've been issued a red trainee manager card... The whole system is a complete joke, I'm disgusted CSCS. Sort it out, you're making a joke out of the industry.

Rik Aindow, 6 April 2016

Part time workers on sites are no more a risk than full time workers it's the individual's attitude Mr Wren .
The chap that caused my injury to my arm is a supervisor and full time at that , didn't see the practicalities of kick boards at height on scafold and decided to play football with a bolt the size of a lump hammer .
Proves any muppet can pass your cscs test and then proceed to do as they like when they like .

James wohlters, 1 August 2016

I have been managing sites for the last 12 or so years.
Started out in the industry as a carpenter as a lot of us do (and other trades) so I am qualified (according to the cscs up to a level 3 in NVQ.

Following on from that, as a freelancer, I have had to pay for my smsts every 5 years (the course is a joke).

I am nebosh trained as I had an interest in that side of the industry and have run projects well into the double million pound figures sucessfully.

So why, according to the cscs am I only a "supervisor"?

Is it to squeeze just a little more money out of me so that I can get my managers card?

If it is truely to make a safer industry, why do I have to retake my "safety test" (personal best time is just under 5 mins to complete by the way) while it is still vlid to gain a scaffold inspection ticket?
If a "test" is valid for 5 years, then why, if it is older than 2 years old, do you have to retake it to gain another ticket?

I have noticed a trend in the building industry over the years, and 99.9% of the industry feels that the cscs card is just to make money from us on site.

The other 0.1% think its great as they work for the cscs.

Rob Little, 16 September 2016

I got the CSCS red card a few years ago, having demonstrated that I was a graduate.

It was brilliant how my professional qualifications as an Architect were dismissed along with my (then) 17 years post-grad experience as well, because they in another country (not in the EU)

Meanwhile spot nosed gits who knew nothing about construction but who had passed their ARB Part 3 with doing sketchup models as the entireity of their experience, were getting recognised as professionals because they had a piece of paper...pathetic, and one reason I have little time for this nonsense.

Charles, 18 September 2016

what a scam !! I have my Nebosh and am a H&S advisor yet I still have to sit a basic H&S! ridiculous

vicki, 21 September 2016

Confused after doing CSCS managment and professional test.

I dont know if anyone can clear this up for me but I did a managment and professional CSCS test and passed and got a yellow construction site visitor card issued but my boss got the black card.
He has a degree I have a HNC and was told this is why he gets a black card.
How can this be fair? We did the same test dosent this mean we should get the same card!?
Has there been a mistake here?

GGO, 29 September 2016

I have just realised out of all the site experienced staff we have our newly qualified apprentice who has never ever worked on a site is the most qualified man to do our site work.............joke

dave taylor, 21 November 2016

I have been a Labourer on over 50 construction sites working through construction agencies throughout this time. I am 58 years old coming this april. I have had CSCS cards since I can remember. Last year I took the new CSCS card with the level 1. From a point of view of getting further into this industry it's been financially impossible to do. I would like to do more in health and safety in construction industry but with work always off and on and agencies always construction sites go through them to obtain labour I find I cannot do anything in changing my situation because on what labourers pay is it's just enough to pay bills and survive on.
There is no ready availability to get my funded start on health and safety that I could do at home. The work as a labourer gets harder and harder for me now at my age with back pain and neck arm and legs. I wish I was fortunate enough like so many who can take and pay for further qualifications in construction in a completely different role. I don't want to get out of the industry because it's what I like and have a passion for. But in the end how long can I keep going like this?
All these people complaining about these higher qualifications to the top people who run this industry and they feel that they are getting some sort of injustice done to them or it's simply a money making situation created by the top people who contribute the most.
Personally as a simple labourer I would welcome the chance and would see it as an opportunity to improve myself not a obstacle at all. You're the lucky ones who can afford to do it. You have a better choice when you have the money to spend many thousands of pounds to further yourself I don't have the choice, money gives you choices in life. Which I don't have. I just wanted my say on this from many of these comments I have read at this site!

Philip Wilson, 8 February 2017

The CSCS card scheme is attempting to set verifiable and consistant standards for the construction Industry at all levels.
Its implementation, whilst being inconvenient to a lot of "time served" construction professsionals, Is long overdue.
This said I think that a card for proven and verifiable experienced workers/managers could be introduced based on the age of the applicant, which could be fazed out over time.
Anyone under say, the age of 30 would not have been in the workplace long enough to meet this "experienced" standard, and within 30 years everyone that held the "experienced" card would have retired. From that point everyone in the Industry would be fully qualified to the card standard.

Chris Finch, 14 February 2017

What an interesting read. I read all the comments from first to last and the only one that grabbed my attention was Phillip Wilson, a 58 year old labourer who cannot afford to even move to an NVQ 2 ( Blue Card ) for all the grumblers above.
I started as a labourer 9 years ago worked my way up to Painter and Decorator and then to Supervisor Gold Card.

If you want your CSCS Manager card get off your high horses forget those high fallutin HNC/D blah blah. and get that NVQ 4 or 6 and leave CSCS in peace. You don't like it because it's not working for you.!!! But it works for most people

Phil Bon, 2 June 2017

Just want to ask about AQP card ( Civil Engineer), what I can do with it ? Can I get something like Gold or Black cards without attending to any courses or there is only way by studying and achieving NVQ ? Maybe there is any short cuts to get these ?

Justinas, 16 July 2017


I have been installing shelving and checkouts for 28 years (24 of them as company owner) I have lads that work for me that have been doing it longer. The shelving and checkout installer card has been removed, and we have now been lumped in as Shopfitters. Fine, whatever. the only problem is the 4 qualifications we need for this card are 1) Diploma level two-Joinery 2) Level two certificate in wood occupations 3) Diploma level 0ne in wood occupations 4)Diploma level three in wood occupations. Great so why would people who fit METAL shelving have any qualifications in WOOD ??? The answer is they wouldn't so what dull idiot put us in there ? I have rang CSCS and the very helpful lady told me its ok you can pay £150 per person and go on a one day Site safety plus health and safety course on top of your CITB operatives health and safety course (another £19) then pay the £30 for the card and then we can give you a labourers card and you can use that. So that's £199 pounds and a days lost work, for the privilege of getting a labourers card. I don't want a labours card and I certainly don't want to pay £199 to get it. Its a joke. They reckon there are around 2,000,000 cards out there so roughly 400,000 a year are renewing every year at £49 that's approx. £19.6M but hey its not for profit, its to make us all safer. after all if I have done 2 H&S tests I'll be twice as safe on site :-)

ian james, 24 July 2017

I work as a painter and decorator with 38 years experience.
I have never had and refuse to ever have a CSCS scam card as it's corruption based on fake safety by idiots.
I've to this day never been out of work, I refuse to work on building sites with inexperienced nvq people who have no experience as they are dangerous.
Be like me and don't be fooled by this government money making scam.

Alan, 9 November 2017

Just moved to the UK from Australia. Have 17 years of experience in the civil construction industry. My last role was the equivalent of a UK contracts manager looking after capital works on a 13,000km road network. Direct work force of 50, inclusive of 3 project managers, 8 project engineers and 10 supervisors. Additional work force of up to 150 subcontractors at any one time. Turnover of 50 million per annum. Told by CSCS that I need to do a NVQ to get a managers card... No UK qualifications but have worked world wide in management roles.
If CSCS is about safety awareness my business unit had a TRIFR of 0.00 and I helped develop a back to work safety video that was watched by 5,500 employees throughout Australia and New Zealand. As well as actively promoting zero harms in person at all my sites on a regular basis by interacting with both my Blue and White collar personal
If the CSCS is about qualifications / experience check my CV.....
What route is there for people with overseas experience (not qualications) to get the appropriate card?

Dave, 14 December 2017

I've been a site Carpenter for 35 years, my father taught me my trade so i have no qualifications. My CRO CSCS card will soon expire, I have no intention of buying an NVQ2 - cost £1,500 for a one day assessment. What a joke CSCS is - half of these gold carded kids today can't even cut a traditional roof!
The construction leadership council (CLC) sets CSCS requirements, since the CLC board is made up of corporates who have invested in prefab off-site build factories, it is obvious that CSCS is designed to drive up cost of traditional build for the benefit of a few prefab corporates. Right con it is! And the unions only back CSCS because they hate the self-employed worker and see CSCS as a way of driving us out of the industry.

Paul Fear, 7 January 2018

They are causing suicides, repossessions, and severe financial hardships on hardworking tradesman, working people who have never been on the dole are not entitled to any help. Who made the CSCS judge, jury, and executioner? I have served my time twice, specialising in sheeting/cladding/slating/tiling/felting/leadwork/roofing joinery/steel erecting/curtain wall fixing, there isn't an NVQ course to cover what we do, they will not give me any type of card – I can't even get a job as a labourer as I’m not qualified, I have the touchscreen, have a level one qcf (a classroom ticket they made me get) and still won’t issue any card type, because i have had CSCS cards before. I am proud of the fact that I’ve never signed on the dole, currently I have no food in the house or gas, but I still have the £30 card fee, they just won’t take it, I have a well paid job waiting.

markus, 12 February 2018

I am of the generation whose government introduced a training scheme to get school leavers jobs, i am talking about the Young Thick and Stupid scheme or YTS. I started my YTS in 1987 and have never thought of it as a failure until i have been asked to get my CSCS card.
When i started my YTS i was expected to go college on a day release basis which i did while working for an electrical contractors as an apprentice (well i thought i was). As a 16 year old i knew nothing about indentures or the JIB but always assumed my on the job training and my C&G qualifications would always be sufficient for my future career.
I finished my obliquity 2 years YTS and was formally employed carrying on with my college course on a day release basis. I obtained my Pt1 and Pt 2 then proceed to do my Cert C. After which my employer agreed for me to carry on and do an ONC and HNC in electrical engineering. I then left my employer after 6 years to go and get a Degree in Electrical Engineering.
I now have my own company doing office refurbishments and often still do electrical work. Unfortunately i loose work because i can not get a CSCS card for electrical work because C&G qualifications are not recognised. The electrician i worked under as an apprentice who has 40 years experience as an electrician has just had to do an NVQ to enable him to get work because his C&G qualifications are not suitable.
Its not that i don't agree with monitoring qualifications onsite but dont ostracise half the workforce because there existing qualifications do not match current requirements, experience does count.

Andrew Johnson, 3 May 2018

There are some very valid points raised in this room, but it seems strange that there has been no response from the CSCS since 2013? Perhaps he has inadvertently lost the link to the thread......?

Andy, 9 November 2018

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