Reviewed for 2018
If you want to work in construction, you’re going to need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card. A CSCS card shows that your work-related skills have been certified. In other words, it’s proof you can do all the things you say you can.
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Applying for a CSCS card
First, you need to find out what type of CSCS card you need. You can check card types on the CSCS website. Once you’ve selected your occupation and level of training, the system will tell you which kind of card you need to apply for.
Next, you’ll need to complete a Health, Safety and Environment test. The type of test you need to take depends on your trade and what training you already have, and it costs £21 from 18 June 2018 - up from £19.50 before.
Once you’ve done that you need to send off copies of your training certificates to firstname.lastname@example.org, then call them up on 0344 994 4777 and pay £30 with a credit or debit card. Your CSCS card will then be posted to you.
Or, if you prefer to do things on paper, you can download an application form. Once you’ve completed it you need to post it to CSCS, PO Box 114, Bircham Newton, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6XD, along with copies of your training certificates and £30 cash or cheque.
How long does it take to do a CSCS test?
The Health, Safety and Environment test, which you need to take to get your CSCS card, is 45 minutes long, and during this time you’ll have to answer 50 multiple choice questions including case study and knowledge questions. The test is taken on a computer at a CITB-approved test centre and you need to arrive 15 minutes before your test begins.
Can’t I just buy a CSCS card?
If you’re thinking about skipping the rigmarole of applying and instead just paying for your CSCS card, you wouldn’t be the first person. Earlier this year CITB revoked over 4,500 CSCS cards after it emerged that a number of training centres had been issuing the cards for cash.
Are CSCS cards a legal requirement?
CSCS cards are not a legal requirement, but most major contractors require workers on their sites to hold them. The law states that anyone undertaking construction work must be competent, and the certification scheme is one of the main ways of demonstrating relevant skills and training.
So do I need a CSCS card?
Getting a CSCS card can open many new doors for a skilled tradesman and most employers will insist you have one before you can work on their site. You’ll find that many job adverts state that workers must have CSCS cards as proof of their competence.
How long does it take to receive a CSCS card?
The good news is that once you’ve paid for your CSCS card, it will be posted the next working day, so you shouldn’t have to wait long for it to arrive. If you’re using a postal application form, it can take up to 10 days.
Once you’ve applied for your CSCS card and are ready to establish yourself, you might want to check out our quick-start guide to building your brand as a tradesman.
How long does the CSCS card last for?
How long your CSCS card lasts depends on the card you’re applying for, but most cards last for five years. When you receive your card it will show an expiry date.
How do you renew your CSCS card?
To renew your CSCS card you need to prove again that you have the appropriate training and qualifications for your job, and you need to retake the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. You can then download and complete the application form, or call the CSCS contact centre to pay £30 over the phone and provide details of your current or previous employer. You can’t apply to renew your card until six months before your current card’s expiry date.
Have you applied for a CSCS card? How did you find the process? Let us know in the comments section below.