- 1 What types of White CSCS cards can I own?
- 2 About the White CSCS Card
- 3 The CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test
- 4 Academically Qualified Peoples (AQP) Card
- 5 How do I physically apply for a White CSCS Card?
- 6 How much does a White CSCS card cost?
- 7 Summary
White CSCS cards are used by individuals who are currently working in the construction industry but do not have a relevant NVQ qualification in their particular trade. Nevertheless, these workers are likely to have been competently trained via participation in an alternative professional course, or through an academic study programme. However, learnings acquired in these endeavours may not be entirely specific to the field or discipline that the participant is now involved with.
The CSCS, or Construction Skills Certification Scheme, is a programme which enables construction workers to be identified by their skill set, experience level, or training status. Possessing a suitable card validates your technical capabilities, and therefore clearly indicates your competency level to colleagues and employers.
Although owning a CSCS card is not a legal requirement for entering building site environments, most employers will demand that their employees have an appropriate card.
What types of White CSCS cards can I own?
There are two types of white CSCS cards. These are the Professionally Qualified Peoples (PQP) card, and the Academically Qualified Peoples (AQP) Card. Previously, the CSCS operated a third white card, designed for a specific group of individuals.
The Construction-related Occupancy Card (CRO card), was reserved for those whose chosen technical discipline or trade was not equipped with an accompanying NVQ Level 2 (or higher) qualification. Therefore, the white card scheme has always served as a solution for those who have not been accredited with a construction specific NVQ qualification. However, this card was decommissioned on 1st April 2017. This is because the CSCS now believes that appropriate alternative cards are now available, or suitable NVQ courses have materialised for every potential applicant. If you enrolled in the Construction-related Occupancy scheme prior to April 2017, your card was valid until its expiration date. However, as all CRO cards came equipped with a five-year validation period, this timeframe will now have elapsed. Therefore, if you’re still reliant on this card for site access, you may need to very quickly explore different avenues!
About the White CSCS Card
Below is information relating to both the Professionally Qualified Peoples Card, and the Academically Qualified Peoples Cards. Throughout this discussion, we’ll touch upon what types of individuals would apply for these scheme(s), the cards’ qualifying criteria, the application process, and any associated costs.
Professionally Qualified Peoples (PQP) Card
This card allows those who have successfully gained membership to an accredited professional body access to the CSCS programme. By receiving and sustaining membership status to one of these bodies, individuals will have routinely proved their level of technical knowledge via routine competency-based testing and assessment.
However, please note that the professional body in question must be on the CSCS’ approved list of organisations. In total, there are 65 authorised bodies across a number range of sectors and industries. A comprehensive list of validated institutions is available by clicking the following link.
What evidence do I need in order to successfully apply for a card?
The Professional Qualified People’s Form, which must be completed as part of the application process, determines that each individual needs to prove their membership to one of the listed professional bodies.
In order to do this, you must be able to submit one of the following:
- A valid membership certificate, which shows affiliation to the approved professional body within the current year.
- Photocopies of both sides of a valid membership card. Again, this must show affiliation to the organization within the ‘live’ calendar year.
- A paper or electronic letter written by a person of suitable standing within the professional body. Again, dated within the calendar year.
- A receipt of this year’s membership payment fee.
Please note that annual membership must be maintained throughout the ownership duration of the card. CSCS assumes that the five-year validation period of this card is sufficient enough time for the candidate to pursue a relevant NVQ in their chosen field. Therefore, on expiry of the PQP card, you will not be able to renew your registration to the scheme.
The CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test
As well as providing one of the aforementioned pieces of evidence, you’ll also need to successfully pass the appropriate CIBT Health, Safety, and Environment Test. The CITB, or Construction Industry Testing Board, are empowered to set health and safety assessment criteria for workers in the construction sector. Furthermore, they aim to generally drive industry compliance standards. They do this by providing stakeholders with effective learning tools and resources, and setting appropriately challenging testing criteria.
All CSCS cards require the passing of a CITB H&S test. However, if a SOLAS safe pass has already been received whilst training in the Republic of Ireland, you are exempt from needing to take this assessment. Most workers will take the basic ‘operatives’ exam, which entails a fairly straight-forward set of questions on general site safety. However, given that PQP cards are allocated to those with strong educational backgrounds, who are usually keen to progress into expert or leadership positions, a more difficult assessment lies in wait.
The CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety & Environment Test
This specific assessment covers all of the content included in the operatives’ exam, but also dips into several pieces of subject matter present in the ‘specialist’ CITB test. The ‘specialist’ version is targeted towards those who also enjoy an elevated status on-site. This may be those who carry out tasks which require a high degree of training or technical knowledge, or individuals in site supervisory positions. As the ‘specialist’ test only exclusively assesses delegates on their specific area of expertise, the managerial exam is recognized as the most difficult CITB test to pass. PQP card applicants will need to demonstrate an understanding of health and safety procedures within the following vital workstreams:
- Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM)
- Plumbing and/or gas works
- Highway works
Please also be aware that this test must have been taken within two years of the date of your application.
Academically Qualified Peoples (AQP) Card
Created for those who have done one or more construction-related degrees, the AQP card is targeted towards individuals with the highest level of technical proficiency. Often, these candidates will arrive into their trade at a higher entry point, and automatically assume managerial or senior leadership roles.
The CSCS accepts a vast number of degree qualifications for enrolment onto the AQP programme. Certification must be related to the construction, building, or civil engineering sectors. It should also articulate achievement in relation to one of the following grading classifications:
HNDs, HNCs, CIOB & NEBOSH diplomas, Bachelor (BSc) degrees, and Master (MSc) degrees.
What evidence do I need in order to successfully apply for the card?
To apply for the Academically Qualified Peoples (AQP) Card, you must be able to submit a legitimate copy of your testing qualification. Furthermore, if available, it’s also required that you give proof of individual modules passed throughout the framework of your course. In similarity to the PQP scheme, the expectation is that any necessary NVQ will be conducted at some stage before card expiry. Again, you’re afforded a five-year period to achieve this. If this is suitably delivered, it would render the card defunct, and therefore the CSCS offers no opportunity for AQP card renewal.
To apply for this specific version of white card, please complete the Technical, Supervisor or Manager application form. This is available via the official CSCS website (more on this to follow). Unsurprisingly given the status of this card, as per the PQP application process, you’ll also need to pass the CITB Managers and Professional health & safety assessment. Again, this must have been sat within the last two years.
How do I physically apply for a White CSCS Card?
The most efficient way to apply for a white card is through the CSCS’ online application service. Available directly through the CSCS website, this service requires you to initially sign-up for a personal CSCS account. After gaining access, you’ll be able to apply for any CSCS card, track the progress of any outstanding applications, and check the expiry date of any of your current schemes. This portal is also open to employers, and offers a great solution to handling multiple card applications on behalf of employees.
Nevertheless, if you would prefer not to submit your information online, you can register your application by speaking directly to a CSCS advisor. To do this, simply call the organization on 0344 994 4777, and explain your intention to apply over the phone. Please note that if you’re calling on behalf of a friend or colleague, the applicant will need to be present to give their consent. Furthermore, in order to navigate the CSCS’ routine security check, the candidate will need to have either their CSCS registration or national insurance number available to hand.
If you’re white CSCS card becomes lost, damaged, or stolen, you’ll be able to easily re-apply for a new card. Please just use either of the methods articulated above, and follow the on-screen/call advisor’s instructions.
The importance of applying for the correct white card
Lastly, please make sure you’re extremely confident on which white card you want to apply for, and exactly what supporting evidence needs to be submitted. Pursuing the wrong scheme will inevitably lead to wasted time and effort, and could cause loss of funds.
Additionally, providing incomplete, inaccurate, or irrelevant information may severely slow down the application process. This could lead to significant frustration on behalf of you or a prospective employer. In a worst-case scenario, failure to provide adequate or sufficient proof of credentials could lead to your application being rejected.
How much does a White CSCS card cost?
All CSCS cards, irrelevant of type, rank, or validation period, are charged at £36.00. The CITB Managerial and Professional H&S and Environment Test costs £21.00 if booked directly through the Construction Industry Training Board. If you’re conducting this assessment whilst affiliated to a paid training course, your learning provider may charge an additional fee for booking this exam on your behalf. Although your provider may offer some additional benefits as part of this charge, it may be worth exploring whether it’s more advantageous for you to book the test independently. If you need any further support on this matter, it’s perhaps worth contacting a CSCS representative. You can do this by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and asking for advice.
The White CSCS Card programme is the perfect solution for workers keen to display their level of competency, who as of yet have been unable to register for a construction-related NVQ in their specific trade or discipline.
As discussed, most individuals who apply for this scheme will be already highly-trained or educated. Whether you’ve earned membership to an approved professional body, or attained a degree at an academic institution, white cards support you to gain access into construction environments from the start of your career in the industry.
Remember! It’s vitally important to understand the qualifying criteria for each white card, and ensure you apply for the right one. Furthermore, you must have a valid pass certificate for the CITB Managerial and Professional health & safety assessment, regardless of which white card you’re applying for. This exam must have been sat within the two years prior to your application date.
Despite the significant importance of owning a White CSCS card, acquiring one is a relatively inexpensive venture. Moreover, the process to physically apply for a card is an efficient and convenient one. To avoid any delays with your application, make sure you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the ways to apply referenced above.
As ever, should you require any further information on either the Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) card or Academically Qualified Person (AQP) card, we recommend you liaise with a course tutor or industry professional. Alternatively, you may like to visit the ‘Types of card’ section of the CSCS website, which lists the key information attached to every one of its card schemes.
Lastly, we wish you the best of luck in your White CSCS card application, and hope that the scheme supports you towards realising your career ambitions within the construction industry!