Is a Black CSCS card worth £2,000?

Written by LetsBuild

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The question on every construction/site manager’s lips at the moment seems to be: should I shed around £2,000 of my hard earned cash and use my scarce time to get a black cscs card?

A black cscs card is the construction skills certification scheme’s manager level.

Many construction professionals are tempted to get a black cscs card, usually because of career development objectives, requirements from the client or from their employer.

What’s the upside?

  • Possibly a pay rise
  • You will be more of an asset to your employer or client.
  • Shows a willingness for continuous professional development
  • You will be deemed competent under CDM as a manager
  • It’s a pathway to CIOB membership and recognised as a CITB qualification

How many hoops do I need to jump through?

>In order to get your hands on a shiny new black card here are some of the things you need:

  • NVQ/SVQ levels 4, 5, (or QCF Level 6 or 7) in your relevant occupation (this can cost upwards of £2,000).
  • CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test.
  • Read how to be safe on site with Stuart. Ok, maybe that’s not an official requirement, but it all helps 🙂

The lowdown

In reality a Gold cscs card seems to suffice for most circumstances. However there seems to be an increasing split in senior people between those who are getting asked frequently for the manager level black card, and those who claim that they have only ever been asked for it once!

There is also a growing disgruntlement in the industry about the continual increase in the number of such qualifications needed. And the constant repeat work involved in keeping them.

One of the big issues with getting a black  card is the costs. Some in the industry would argue its an expensive distraction, but its pros do seem to outweigh it’s cons in practice. If your employer will pay for the NVQ then this should be a no brainer. The sad part of this argument is that a freelance site manager would have more need for a black CSCS card in comparison to a full time staff one!

The reality is though, like many other professional positions, in order to work as a site manager you will increasingly need verifiable qualifications. Even though qualifications don’t provide the necessary work experience, the industry is moving towards you needing to have higher levels of qualifications to stay relevant in the game.

Are you going to spend the cash and time to get a black CSCS card?