CSCS Blue Card

Whatever your trade, to work on a UK building site for any amount of time you need to have a valid CSCS card. For most tradesmen in the UK this will be a CSCS blue card. CSCS cards serve as proof you can deliver the job safely, keeping yourself and colleagues free from harm.

First introduced back in 1995, CSCS cards have become an industry-wide requirement. They are used to vet workers during the recruitment process or before entry to site. Operating at a national level through the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, there is a structured route to obtaining a CSCS blue card which includes specific criteria which must be met.

For tradesmen working at an operative level, unless you are a manager or a supervisor you are likely to qualify for a CSCS blue card for skilled workers. Here’s all you need to know about CSCS blue cards and how to get one, plus what to do if you’re a supervisor or manager.

Qualifying for a CSCS blue card

CSCS cards are an assessed award so you will need to take a test called a CITB test before you can apply for your card. The CITB test is the first part of your card application. You will have to show proof of your completed test, using your pass certificate when applying. During your application, you will also need to show evidence of having achieved the required qualifications for a blue card.

  • The necessary qualifications for a CSCS blue card under the CSCS’ regulations are an NVQ/ SVQ Level 2 in a construction-related subject.
  • Alternatively, you may have completed a nationally recognised apprenticeship such as a City & Guilds of London Craft Certificate, an employer-sponsored apprenticeship or another type of apprenticeship approved by the CSCS.

Enter your trade and qualifications into the CSCS card finder on the CSCS website. Using this tool, you can check whether you qualify for a blue skilled worker CSCS card. Some trades such as plumbing, have teamed up with the CSCS to make it easier for tradesmen to verify their industry skills.

Indeed, if you have a SOLAS card or completed training in health and safety during your apprenticeship, you probably won’t need to sit a CSCS test. Call the CSCS to check on 0344 994 4777, Monday to Friday to check.

How to get a CSCS blue card without an NVQ?

If you don’t have an NVQ or SVQ to qualify you for a CSCS blue card but want to work towards getting one, you can apply for a red CSCS card for experienced workers. The CSCS red card for experienced workers is for tradesmen who have not yet completed their qualifications but have registered to do so.

The card covers you for one year so you can gain your NVQ or SVQ qualification during that time. You can then apply for a blue card once upon finishing your course. You will still need to take the CITB test to get your red card and you must be registered to study at a level 2 or above.

To qualify for the red card, you are also required to have recent, hands-on experience in-role. This must span at least a year, from within the last three years.

Use the card finder tool to check your intended course provider is CSCS-approved before signing up for the course.

There are other red cards for trainees, apprentices and more. Meanwhile, those with an industry-recognised health and safety qualification achieved via a: RQF Level 1, SQCF Level 4, SCQF Level 5, NOCN, CSkills and more, should be eligible to apply for a green CSCS card. Check the full list of qualifying criteria for a green CSCS card on the CSCS card types page.

What if I have more than an NVQ Level 2?

If you have a qualification in a construction-related subject above an NVQ or SVQ level 2, you could qualify for a gold, black or white CSCS card.

Gold CSCS cards are awarded to those working in a supervisory role or with specialist industry skills. More about gold CSCS cards. Meanwhile, a managerial position can earn you a black card. An academic qualification, such as a degree or HND, could qualify you for a white card.

Enter your role and qualifications into the CSCS card finder to discover which card you qualify for. Gold, white and black cards come with their own CITB tests.

To apply for your CSCS blue card:

  1. To apply for your CSCS blue card you will need to begin by using the CSCS card finder on the CSCS website to check the blue card is right for you.
  2. Next, you need to book your CITB Health, Safety and Environment test on the CITB website. The CSCS card scheme is run by the CITB. You can also book your test over the phone by calling 0344 994 4488. Lines close at 12 midday on Saturdays but are open until 8 pm during the week. Keep the certificate you receive on passing safe because you will need to show it when you apply for your CSCS blue card.

If you’re an employer, it is possible to both book tests and apply for CSCS cards in bulk.

What if you don’t pass?

You can retake the test. Also, you can use your test results for your CSCS card application for up to two years so it’s a good idea to take your test early.

You will need to revise for your test and there are free practice tests online which you will find helpful. The CSCS test lasts for 45 minutes and consists of 50 questions.

  1. Once you have passed your CITB test, apply for your CSCS card online or over the phone. The CSCS says it’s quicker to apply online but you may prefer to call. The number to call for telephone applications is 0344 994 4777. When you complete your application, you will need your CITB test certificate, proof of qualifications and a credit or debit card to pay for the card.
  2. Your new card will be with you within 3-5, sometimes as much as 10 days. Whilst you await the arrival of your card, you can use the virtual version displayed in the My CSCS app from the moment your application is complete.

CSCS blue card renewal

Your CSCS blue card will last for 5 years. At the end of that time, you need to have applied for and renewed your CSCS card if you want to continue using it.

If you do forget about renewal and the expiry date of your card has passed, you can still renew if you are less than 6 months over the expiry date. If it is longer than 6 months since you should have renewed you will need to make a fresh card application with the CSCS.

When you renew your card you may want to apply for a card at a higher grade if you have gained the necessary experience or qualifications to meet the card requirements. Use the CSCS card finder to check your new achievements do qualify you for a new card colour.

You will still need to take the CITB test as part of the renewal process and pay for the new card.

Cost of a blue CSCS card

The total cost to either renew or make a first application for a blue CSCS card is £49.50. If you renew your card late, in the six months after the expiry date has gone, you will have to pay an extra £7.50.

Cost breakdowns are £30 for the CSCS card and £19.50 for the test. Leaving renewal until the six months after the expiry date has passed increases costs to £21 for the test and £36 for the card.