CSCS card – if you are working in construction in the UK, you have probably heard about it. But what is it exactly?
The acronym CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme, and the whole concept was invented about 25 years ago. It is a card that provides proof that an individual has the required training and qualifications to carry out work on a construction site.
CSCS card – What does it cost?
Before you can apply for the CSCS card you must be certified. That normally requires that you take a CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test. The cost of this test is £19.50.
Once you have passed your exam, you can apply for the CSCS card, which will cost you £30.
Read here: 10 quick tips about SMSTS
But be aware! There have been examples of companies taking advantage of applicants by increasing significantly the test fees. The prices mentioned above are considered to be the standard fees in the market, so make sure that you understand what additional services you will receive in case that you are asked to pay more than usual.
Booking the test
At first glance, the CSCS system might seem a bit complicated. There is a number of colour-coded cards that demonstrate the qualifications of each individual on the site. The number of colours has recently been reduced, but one colour card might cover many different areas. However, things have been made easier now thanks to the official website for Construction Skills Certification Scheme. On the website, you’re able to use their online card-finder to figure out what kind of test and CSCS card you need, based on your occupation.
You’re also able to call them and ask for advice with regards to which card could be a better fit based on your background. That makes the whole process much easier. Once that bit is over, you will be given a date on which you can take an online test in a center.
How is the test?
So you have booked the test, but you might wonder how the test looks like? It is a multichoice test and includes 50 questions that you have 45 minutes to answer. The difficulty of the test depends the type of questions it includes.
For entry-level construction workers, such as labourers or apprentices, the questions and answers are pretty simple. Nevertheless, for people like contract managers, their test is actually very demanding as their card is equivalent to an NVQ 7.
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How can you prepare for the test?
There are different ways that you can prepare for the test. You could buy a topic-specific book that can help you prepare for the specific card you are planning to apply for. But with a bit of research, you will find that there are a plethora of books that can help you prepare for your exam.
A good idea is to buy the latest edition because the different tests keep getting updated on a constant basis. Continue to read the book from cover to cover until you are able to pass the test. You will need to score 47 out of 50 questions correctly in order to pass.
Is a CSCS card a legal requirement?
No, it is not a legal requirement. It is up to the different contractors if they require workers on their site to hold CSCS cards. But the law in the UK states that anyone undertaking construction work need to be competent. And a way of proving you are the right person for the job is by having a CSCS card. In any case, though, safety should always be a priority so you need to be sure that you are aware of all health and safety regulations in construction. In that way, you avoid putting both you and your colleagues in danger.
How long does it take to get a CSCS card?
It doesn’t take long to get a CSCS card. Once you have paid for the card, it will be posted to you the next working day. As a rule, you can expect the card to be there in around 10 days. Keep in mind that if your card has not been delivered within five weeks from your application, you should contact CSCS. After 90 days your application will be considered closed, and you will then need to pay an additional fee of £30 to reprocess your application.
CSCS card – How long can you keep it?
It depends on the type of CSCS card that you are applying for. In general, most of the cards can last five years. Once you have your card, you can read the expiration date on it.
If you need to renew your card, you will have to prove once again that you have the right training and qualifications for the job. That means you will need to retake the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test.
By preparing for the test, you will have better chances of passing it. The CSCS card is good to have, and something most employers will require that you have (at least in the UK). Therefore, if you are in construction and know what kind of card you need, start preparing today and take the CSCS exam that corresponds to your needs best.
Prepare by taking online quizzes online or buy a book that can help improve your knowledge, and make sure that you pass the final test. We wish you the best of luck.