As a construction worker, you’ll almost certainly need a valid CSCS card to get on site because this proves you are competent and can work safely. However, there are various different types of card and each type says something about you.
It tells your employer what your levels of knowledge and competence are and indicates your work capabilities. It’s essential you obtain the correct card so you don’t confuse the issue.
CSCS Card Variations
The problem is, there are an awful lot of different CSCS cards.
Add in the schemes that are affiliated to CSCS cards and the situation becomes even more confusing, making your selection more difficult. The saving grace is that all cards are colour-coded and the coding tends to be reasonably standard across the different schemes, although not always. Sometimes the card itself is coloured and, for other schemes, the card may have a coloured stripe. Nevertheless, the colours usually mean the same thing.
A red CSCS card denotes a trainee, graduate or experienced worker with no formal qualifications. Such people normally need to be undergoing training, often for Construction NVQ level 2 or 3. A green card denotes an unskilled worker with Construction NVQ level 1 while blue is for a skilled or craft worker with Construction NVQ level 2. Moving up to construction level 3 NVQ qualifies for a gold CSCS card for a skilled worker or supervisor while black is for senior managers with Construction NVQ level 4 or higher.
Additionally, there are other cards that don’t require Construction NVQs but will require some health and safety knowledge to ensure the holders can operate safely on site. There are white/yellow CSCS cards for professionally qualified people, white/grey CSCS cards for construction related activities and yellow CSCS card for site visitors.
Affiliated CSCS Cards
Some schemes that are affiliated to CSCS cards follow the same colour-coding format. These include ACE, SKILLcard and EUSR, with the latter having a stripe that indicates the required Construction NVQ level. CPCS cards, however, have only two variations — red for trained workers and blue for competent workers that additionally have a Construction NVQ.
Understanding the colour coding helps you choose the right CSCS card or an affiliated one.