- 1 What is a CSCS Green Card?
- 2 What is the CSCS?
- 3 What type of workers apply for the Green CSCS Card?
- 4 What prerequisites do I need to apply for a Green CSCS card?
- 5 Alternative qualifications
- 6 Selecting the right training programme for you
- 7 How much does a Green CSCS Card cost?
- 8 How do I apply?
- 9 When will I receive my CSCS card?
- 10 Replacement cards
- 11 What’s next for Green CSCS card holders?
- 12 Plant operatives
- 13 The possibilities are endless!
- 14 Blue CSCS Cards, and potential managerial roles
- 15 Summary
The green CSCS card identifies fully qualified labourers on building and construction sites. In order to acquire a green card, individuals must successfully navigate a range of assessments.
This article will guide you through various pieces of information relevant to the CSCS green card, including how to apply, card costs, validation terms, and qualification criteria.
What is the CSCS?
Before addressing the specifics around the green card, it’s perhaps best to firstly offer an overview of what the CSCS card programme is. CSCS, or the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, offers an easy way to identify an individual’s competency within a particular trade or discipline. Ultimately, it proves their qualified to conduct specific works on a building site.
It’s not compulsory to own a CSCS card if working regularly in construction-based environments, but most employers will make ownership of an appropriate card mandatory.
As previously mentioned, there is a number of different CSCS cards available, which are dependent on sector, skill set, and level of experience. Some trades will also have their own, specific, accreditation scheme that runs parallel with the CSCS card.
What type of workers apply for the Green CSCS Card?
Whilst some CSCS cards have a ‘tier’ system, and therefore have several cards attached to their general title, there is only one green card available. The green labourer’s card is reserved for those who conduct basic physical jobs on-site, such as the movement of materials or carrying of equipment, and/or complete rudimentary tasks aligned to their trade.
Please note that any labourer operating on a construction site, regardless of industry or sector, can obtain a green CSCS card. Once received, a green card is valid for a five-year period.
Like all CSCS cards, the green labourer card scheme ensures that the worker in question is able to professionally carry out practical work in a building environment. It also makes sure individuals are equipped with the appropriate level of health and safety knowledge. As previously mentioned, in order to achieve this, you must successfully complete a series of courses and assessments.
Candidates must also be at least sixteen years of age to apply.
What prerequisites do I need to apply for a Green CSCS card?
Irrespective of experience level or years in role, all labourers hoping to possess a green card must have a valid CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test certificate. They must also have passed this assessment within the last two years. The CITB, or Construction Industry Training Board, is an organisation focused on improving standards across the construction sector. In this endeavour, it ensures businesses and their employees are well supported and empowered to deliver work compliantly. They do this through the provision of appropriate learning resources and establishing fair and consistent testing criteria.
In addition, candidates must also have undergone a QCF Level 1 or SLQF Level 4 course in Health & Safety within an appropriate construction discipline. Alternatively, could be in possession of a SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety certificate. Please be aware that the aforementioned qualifications only need to be passed once, and are not subject to time sensitivity (unlike the CITB test).
There are also several other qualifications available which will also support green card application. Please note that these courses are only valid for five years, and therefore would need to be re-taken towards date of expiration. Nevertheless, given that many labourers target future career progression throughout their initial five years in employment, and subsequently take steps to move towards more technical roles, these types of qualifications tend to be popular choices.
Candidates may apply for a CSCS labourer’s card, providing they’ve also suitably completed the H&S and Environment Test, by taking one of the following courses:
- The CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course. This qualification can be completed within one day.
- NPORS Site Safety Awareness Course. This qualification can also be completed within one day.
- IOSH Safety, Health and Environment for Construction Workers.
- BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Construction
Selecting the right training programme for you
A number of learning providers offer these qualifications. When considering which course convenor to opt for, it’s worth thinking about how far each provider can support your particular personal requirements. This may include reviewing the business’ pricing structure, learning schedule, or teaching environment. We would also clearly recommend checking out the provider’s credentials, which may be done by visiting review sites or liaising with peer groups and industry professionals.
As you’re most likely aware, the coronavirus pandemic has served to increase the usage of virtual tools in business, educational, and communications environments. Therefore, many learning providers now offer remote training courses. These can be conducted in the comfort of your own home, or at a venue that suits your routine. Some online courses are heavily dependent on e-learning, which will require you to self-manage your training, and access a range of appropriate digital materials. Conversely, some may opt to deliver the course via a video conferencing platform. This method will clearly replicate more conventional classroom conditions.
Most learning providers will expect qualifications to be completed within a twelve-month period. This clearly offers ample time to study and engage with the course materials, and usually means most candidates can progress through the learning programme at their own pace.
All qualifications, regardless of learning format or time taken to achieve, are equally valid and accepted by all employers in the construction industry. Therefore, please select the best training option in relation to your personal circumstances.
How much does a Green CSCS Card cost?
The acquisition of a green labourer’s card is relatively inexpensive. The compulsory CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test costs £21.00. However, as referenced, it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to have done this within two years of any future card application. All CSCS cards are priced at £36.00.
How do I apply?
To apply for a CSCS green card, you’ll need to submit proof of relevant qualifications directly through to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme body. This is most easily done by registering for a CSCS account, and using their online application service. To do this, please click the link, and follow the simple on-screen instructions.
Employers are also offered the opportunity to sign-up for this service. This provides a simple solution when applying for cards on behalf of multiple employees. In this scenario, the Employer Application Form, available via their account portal, should be used.
You’re also able to send evidence via e-mail, by forwarding your documentation to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If sending proof via your personal CSCS account, complete the application process by paying the chargeable amount. If you’ve contacted the CSCS via e-mail, please call 0344 994 4777, and pay for your labourer card via debit or credit card. For security purposes, if lodging your application over the phone, you’ll need to provide either your CSCS registration number or National Insurance number when speaking to the advisor.
If, for whatever reason, you’re applying on behalf of someone else, please make sure that the applicant is available to talk directly to CSCS when making payment. This is because the CSCS stipulates that the applying individual must provide consent for another party to conduct their application process.
When will I receive my CSCS card?
The CSCS team tend to administrate applications fairly swiftly, so expect card turnaround times to be relatively quick. On approval of your application, your green CSCS card will be posted out to you within 24 hours (or by the end of the next working day). The CSCS encourage candidates to flag an issue if their respective card has not arrived within five weeks of approval.
If no communication is received after thirteen weeks, CSCS will automatically cancel your application, and the full submission process will need to be completed once more. This includes paying the £36 application fee, so please make sure you chase up any missing cards!
In the unfortunate event that your green labourer’s card is lost, damaged, or stolen, please either call the CSCS directly, or access your online CSCS portal to report the issue.
As previously mentioned, the green CSCS card is valid for five years from the point of approval. You’ll be able to apply for a new card up to six months prior to expiry, but must register your application before six months after this expiration date has elapsed. Remember! Regardless of when you apply, you must have valid proof that the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test has been successfully passed within the last two years.
What’s next for Green CSCS card holders?
Those in possession of a green labourer’s card have a vast range of onwards career opportunities. The card provides a great platform to gain insight into a specific industry or sector, and supports you to engage in relevant tasks for your particular trade. By competently mastering all activities within a specific discipline, you’ll have a strong chance of progressing into more complex and challenging roles.
Many labourers initially opt to complete a relevant plant training course, such as the CPCS or NPORS qualification(s). On the successful passing of either of these modules, you’ll then be able to take a supporting NVQ. This will hopefully result in you obtaining a position as a fully-fledged plant operator. This enables you to operate heavy machinery on-site, and help build, clear, and safely re-organise heavy-duty construction materials. As a result of becoming a competent plant operator, the requirement for you to manually lift and handle items will be significantly reduced. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that many labourers are keen to make this transition!
The possibilities are endless!
Alternatively, you may decide to pursue a qualification specific to an industry or sector you’re particularly interested in. As discussed, there are an overwhelming number of industries available, and you may well have been exposed to several of these whilst conducting your role as a labourer.
Plumbing, electrical work, civil engineering, plastering, roofing, and joinery are just a few examples of trades you may like to venture into. If you’re unsure about which sector best suits your skill set or expertise, please don’t panic! There is a huge amount of overlap between trades, and you’ll often find that training completed in one discipline will aid you in a range of other endeavours.
Furthermore, your employer may support you to undertake training if they believe it supports their long-term business interests. This may mean you avoid footing any training bills, even if a particular learning endeavour doesn’t quite work out as expected.
We would encourage you to consider your future career path as early as possible, and take appropriate steps to address any development needs or training requirements. A further top tip is to never allow a learning opportunity to pass you by. Who knows when a certain skill may come in useful in the future?
Blue CSCS Cards, and potential managerial roles
On completion of further training within a specific discipline, many employers will recommend applying for a blue CSCS skilled worker card. This demonstrates strong theoretical and practical knowledge in relation to your respective trade. It also shows you have acquired a high level of health and safety awareness. If taking the well-travelled route from labourer to plant operative, please note that there is also a blue CPCS competent operator card available for this occupation.
If you’re interested in progressing towards a supervisory or management-level position, you’ll also likely need to complete additional training courses. Dependent on your targeted level of seniority, you’ll need to pass a number of NVQ’s and leadership qualifications. Most learning providers will offer learning modules up to NVQ Level 7, which is the standard required to attain the most senior construction management positions.
These types of courses are not appropriate for every individual. However, if you believe you have the drive, potential capability, and commitment to become a site or business leader, then high-level NVQs are essential towards facilitating your future career growth. Furthermore, given the scale of demand in construction-based industries, salaries and benefits in top-ranking managerial positions are extremely competitive.
The green CSCS labourer’s card is the perfect tool to identify yourself as a skilled, compliant, and health and safety-conscious worker. Remember, although not obligatory, it’s highly likely that your current or prospective employer will expect you to possess a CSCS card before entering the site. Therefore, you should be proactive in acquiring the card before applying for relevant industry job roles, and use the aforementioned application instructions to support in this endeavour.
Again, if you’re unsure about what card to apply for, please contact the CSCS directly or speak to a relevant industry stakeholder.
Please make sure you’re in a financial position to conduct the necessary training required, and also pay the compulsory fees associated with the green CSCS card.
Finally, it’s worth considering your career pathway at the earliest stage possible, as this will support you to understand what tasks and activities will help you realise your future ambitions. Nevertheless, please don’t worry if you’re not clear on these from day one, as there is plenty of time to gauge your suitability for different trades. As previously referenced, the green labourer’s card is valid for five years. Therefore, perhaps think about your next career steps, should this be something you wish to consider, before this timeframe reaches its conclusive stages.
We wish you the best of luck in your application for a green CSCS card, and hope you enjoy your role as a fully-qualified construction site labourer!