- 1 The CSCS
- 2 The CITB
- 3 Available cards
- 3.1 Red Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
- 3.2 Provisional CSCS Card
- 3.3 Trainee CSCS Card
- 3.4 Apprentice CSCS Card
- 3.5 Experienced Worker CSCS Card
- 3.6 Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS Card
- 3.7 Additional points
- 3.8 Green Bricklayer Labourer CSCS Card
- 3.9 Blue Bricklayer CSCS Card
- 3.10 Gold Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
- 3.11 White Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
- 3.12 Black Bricklayer CSCS Card
- 4 How do I apply for a Bricklayer CSCS Card?
- 5 How much does it cost?
- 6 Summary
Bricklayers play an important role in the building and construction sector. Their work primarily ensures that building structures are safe for use, and therefore provides a significant contribution to all construction projects. Most bricklayers, like others operating in all trades, will be part of the CSCS card programme.
A CSCS card is used to identify a worker’s skill-set, experience, and capability level. It demonstrates that they’re compliant in all aspects of their role, and understand the critical health & safety considerations of their workplace environment. There are various CSCS card schemes available, with many specifically attached to a particular trade or discipline.
Below, we focus on the bricklaying trade’s CSCS programme. During this discussion, we will review the qualifying criteria of each card available to bricklayers, the application process for any CSCS card, and the costs involved in becoming part of this membership scheme.
However, before conducting an analysis of each bricklaying CSCS card, it’s worth providing a little bit more detail on the general framework of the CSCS.
The CSCS, or Construction Skills Certification Scheme, is a trusted, industry-recognised programme. Indeed, for stakeholders working in the construction sector, ownership of a CSCS card is proof that a worker has developed the necessary skills to perform competently and compliantly in their specific role or occupation.
For a number of reasons, CSCS cards are extremely beneficial to employers. All building companies must show their commitment to Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. This legislation demands that all workplace environments within the construction industry are safe and fit for purpose. Having a workforce equipped with CSCS cards, which demonstrates that their professionally trained in their duties, is one way of demonstrating this commitment.
Furthermore, they help on-site leadership teams efficiently and effectively allocate tasks. This is because a CSCS card serves to visibly advertise a worker’s strengths and limitations. There are multiple CSCS cards available, which are each categorised by colour. As each colour symbolises a particular level of knowledge and experience, supervisors and managers can swiftly identify which members of the labour force are able to conduct specific works.
As another benefit, these colours are usually transferrable between trades. Therefore, whether you’re in the presence of a plumber, electrician, or bricklayer, you should be able to easily understand how qualified a worker is in their chosen field.
Please note that it is not a legal requirement to hold a CSCS card in order to gain access to a construction site. However, most employers will make possessing a relevant CSCS card, reflective of your occupation, a compulsory rule.
For all CSCS card applicants, regardless of rank or role, you’ll need to successfully pass a CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test. This is a mandatory assessment, which includes questions relating to general on-site safety compliance.
The CITB, or Construction Industry Training Board, are the parent organisation of the CSCS. Their key objective is to drive building sector standards. They do this by providing training and learning resources to employers and workers, and establishing challenging and consistent testing criteria for industry qualifications. As per the CSCS, the CITB is a respected body, and therefore passing a CITB test is recognised as a positive, valid measure of a worker’s capability level.
Now, let’s take a look at the various cards connected to the bricklayer CSCS card programme.
Red Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
Any holder of a red CSCS card, irrespective of trade, will currently be operating in a training capacity. There are five different red cards available, Cards are allocated to individuals based on the different types of qualifications and learning modules that they’re undertaking.
Commentary on each of these red cards is provided below:
Provisional CSCS Card
If you’re at the very start of your bricklaying career, it’s likely that this card is the right one for you. Owning this card is enough to gain access to a building site. Its main function is to give you an opportunity to see whether working in the bricklaying industry is something you would like to pursue on a full-time basis. It also affords employers to see how you perform in your new surroundings, prior to potentially offering a contract of permanent employment.
Trainee CSCS Card
This card is reserved for those who have already signed up for an official training course, prior to entering the bricklaying sector. This could be a vocational qualification facilitated by a private learning provider, or an academic course tutored in an educational environment. To be eligible for a trainee card, this must be a CSCS-approved qualification.
Apprentice CSCS Card
This scheme is exclusively for bricklaying apprentices. The qualifying criteria for this card require you to prove that you’ve been appropriately registered on a CSCS-approved apprenticeship scheme. You can do this by submitting a confirmation letter signed by your employer, the management agency organising your apprentice programme, or the learning provider who is supporting you through your apprenticeship.
Experienced Worker CSCS Card
If you’re currently participating in a bricklaying NVQ/SVQ (Scotland) Level 2 course, this is the card you’ll need. In order to successfully apply for this scheme, you must have been working in the bricklaying industry for at least one year. This twelve-month service period must have occurred within the last three years.
Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager CSCS Card
One step up from the experienced worker scheme, you can apply for this card if you’re currently studying for a relevant NVQ Level 3 qualification. Again, you must have completed one year’s worth of employment in the bricklaying industry, within the last three calendar years.
To apply for any red card, you must have passed the CITB operative test within the two years prior to your application.
All of these cards come equipped with a specific validation period. This is different from most other CSCS cards, which usually have a standard validity term of five years. The reason for this varied approach is that the CSCS determines the expiry date of a red card based on the expected duration of your respective training schedule. For example, an experienced worker card lasts for three years. Therefore, the CSCS deems this a long enough timeframe to have completed your NVQ Level 2 course.
Clearly, as these are ultimately training cards, they’re implemented as temporary schemes. Once you’ve gained the necessary experience, and engaged with the relevant learning modules, your card will have served its purpose. Therefore, when you’ve finished your training, you’ll have no reason to continue being a member of the scheme. It is for this reason that no red cards are renewable.
At the end of your participation in your respective red card scheme, you’ll be in a position to apply for a higher-grade card.
Green Bricklayer Labourer CSCS Card
The green card is for bricklayers who are currently conducting a labourer’s role. On construction sites, labourers are accountable for supporting the movement of building materials and equipment. In order to successfully apply for a green labourer’s card, you must have achieved one of the following health & safety qualifications:
- A construction-related RQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4
- A construction-related SCQF Level 5 REHIS
- A construction-related NOCN/CSkills Award
Please note that the CSCS accepts several other certificates as proof of adequate health & safety knowledge. If you’ve already gained a similar qualification to the three listed above, it’s worth checking with the CSCS to see whether you’re eligible to apply without having to pass one of these qualifications.
To be able to apply, you must have also successfully completed the CITB operative test in the two years previous to your application date.
This card is valid for five years, and can be renewed at the end of this term.
Blue Bricklayer CSCS Card
The blue CSCS card is often called the skilled worker’s card. Ownership of this card demonstrates that you’re fully qualified in your occupation. Therefore, you can conduct all of the activities associated with your role, in compliance with industry standards and regulations.
To earn this card, you’ll need to have completed an NVQ Level 2 course, relevant to the bricklaying discipline. This could relate to several qualifications, with some examples noted below:
- Level 2 Bricklayer Apprenticeship Standard (Approved Apprenticeship)
- Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying and Concreting
- Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations
Therefore, if you’ve completed a suitable bricklaying apprenticeship training programme, you’ll also be eligible to hold this card. You must have also completed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment operative assessment. Again, this must have been taken within the two years prior to your application.
This card is valid for five years, and can be renewed at the end of this term.
Gold Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
There are two types of gold cards available; the ‘supervisor’ and ‘advanced craft’ cards. The supervisor card is aimed at those either currently operating as, or trying to become, an on-site supervisor. A supervisor is accountable for the daily running of construction sites. They must ensure works are being delivered compliantly, and any relevant issues are escalated to senior management. You must have a NVQ Level 3 in Occupational Work Supervision to apply for this card.
The advanced craft gold card is awarded if you’ve demonstrated a high level of technical skill in your particular field. To successfully acquire this card, you need to have passed an NVQ Level 3 or 4 or equivalent graded qualification, relevant to the bricklaying profession. Examples of qualifying courses are as follows:
- Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Bricklaying and Concreting
- Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations
- Advanced Certificate in Bricklaying
- Advanced Certificate in Brickwork (Scottish workers only)
Applicants must sit the relevant module of the specialist CITB assessment, aligned to the gold card they’re targeting. This must be taken in the two years prior to your application date.
White Bricklayer CSCS Card(s)
The white card programme is designed for those with an advanced level of knowledge in an associated discipline or industry, yet have entered the bricklaying trade with limited experience, and are therefore operating within a training capacity. Given that the holder will be a competent individual, they’ll likely be hoping to secure a highly-technical or managerial post at the end of their training. Therefore, whilst in ownership of the card, they’ll conduct a management-graded NVQ course.
There are two white cards available. The Professionally Qualified People’s (PQP) card is for those who can demonstrate their capability through affiliation to a professional, industry body. However, this institution must be present on the CSCS’s approved list of organisations.
The Academically Qualified People’s (AQP) Card is pitched at those who have attained an advanced certificate in further education. This could be a university degree (BSc/MSc), HND, HNC, or NEBOSH Diploma.
Both of these cards are valid for five years, which is deemed a sufficient period to complete your studies. As this is principally a training card, membership to either of the white card schemes, as per red CSCS cards, is not renewable.
Given the capability level of prospective white card holders, applicants need to complete the Managers and Professionals CITB test. Again, this must have been completed no more than two years before the date of your application.
Black Bricklayer CSCS Card
In the industry, CSCS black cards are often referred to as Managers’ cards. This is because these cards are exclusively held by on-site managers, construction company leadership teams, and senior stakeholders across the sector. All of these individuals operate in roles which carry high accountability. Therefore, the card’s qualifying criteria are suitably challenging.
If you’re considering applying for a black bricklayer CSCS card, you must have successfully navigated at least a Level 4 NVQ course. This qualification will have been taken in construction industry management. Furthermore, you must have passed the Managers and Professionals CITB exam. Like all other cards, this test must have been passed within the two years leading up to your application date.
How do I apply for a Bricklayer CSCS Card?
The easiest way to apply for any CSCS card is through the organisation’s online application service. You can register for this here. Alternatively, you can contact the CSCS directly by phone to submit your application. During your call, you’ll be expected to be able to provide either your CSCS registration or national insurance number. To contact the CSCS by phone, call 0344 994 4777.
When it comes to renewing your membership, or reporting a card that has been lost, damaged, or stolen, please also use one of the channels referenced above.
How much does it cost?
All CSCS cards are charged at a price of £36.00, regardless of grade or occupation. The CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test is £21. However, please note that this price is only guaranteed when booked directly through the Construction Industry Training Board.
It’s vitally important that you select the right CSCS card for you, relevant to your occupation and skill-set. To do this, you might want to enlist the support of the CSCS Card Finder Tool. This is a dedicated platform provided by the CSCS, which helps workers identify the most appropriate scheme to apply for.
If you require further detail about bricklayer CSCS cards, it’s worth liaising with your course tutor, or a trusted industry professional. Alternatively, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme’s official website has plenty of helpful information.
Lastly, we wish you the best of luck in your application for a bricklayer CSCS card, and hope that it supports your onward career journey in the construction and building industry.