How to Become a CSCS Card Assessor
One of the most common questions we get asked here at Brooks and Kirk from our trainee assessors in construction is ‘How do I become a CSCS Card Assessor?’. It’s not that simple, unfortunately – let’s have a look into this topic in more detail.
CSCS Card Assessor
So here’s the thing – you can’t actually be an Assessor of CSCS Cards specifically. However, you can be an Assessor in Construction as a generic term; therefore, you can help your learners achieve qualifications in their area of expertise, and qualify them for the respective cards.
There is a pretty exhaustive list of CSCS Cards available, as they reflect the different occupations and qualifications within construction. If you work within the industry already, you’ll probably be fully aware of the variety of roles that there are. Each individual card reflects the skill level, qualifications, and occupation of the card holder. The colour of the CSCS card changes as the skill level and qualifications required increase; from Green, to Red, to Blue, Gold, and then lastly Black.
More often than not, you as the Assessor will already hold the card that you want to help learners qualify for. This doesn’t always have to be the case, but 9 times out of 10 it is. In order for a learner to gain a CSCS card, there certain qualifications/skills they need to have; this is where you as the Assessor come in. Your job is to make sure a person is competent in that area of expertise, so they can achieve the relevant qualification to apply for the respective card.
It’s important to know that all applicants for a CSCS card must pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. This test is an important one, as it shows that the person undertaking it can be safe on the job. It also reassures them that their colleagues and fellow construction workers are safe on-site and not putting them at risk.
So which cards are available?
Starting with the Green CSCS card, this is for people who are wanting to or already work in a labourer job on a construction site. It’s the entry level card but it does still require a qualification showing a basic level of understanding the workings and safety precautions of a construction site. To qualify for a Green CSCS card your learner needs either:
- RQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment and/or
- SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate AND
- CSCS Test for Operatives
Red CSCS Card
There are quite a few Red CSCS cards, so let’s start with…
If the name doesn’t explain it already, this card is for those who are completing or have already completed an Apprenticeship. This is another card that you may commonly find you are assessing your learners to qualify for. For your learner to qualify for this they will need to provide evidence to CSCS that they are/have been registered on an Apprenticeship scheme via a:
- Letter from the Managing Agency or Apprenticeship Training Provider
- Apprenticeship Agreement
Some of your learners may be exempt from taking the CSCS test if you can provide evidence that your learner has met certain health and safety requirements as part of their course.
Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager
This card becomes available to those who have at least one year of work experience working within a technical, supervisory, or managerial role on a construction site within the last three years.
So, this card will be for your learners who have experience in these types of roles and are working towards a construction-related qualification. It is a ‘temporary’ card; as it is just used whilst the learner is on-programme of a Level 3 Construction NVQ/SVQ. These cards are designed to be upgraded once you have helped your learner to achieve the relevant qualification. As the Assessor, the training organisation you work for will need to provide evidence that the learner is undertaking said course.
Once your learner has completed their Level 3 (or higher) NVQ/SVQ, they will be able to apply for a Gold Supervisory card or a Black Manager card. More on these later though, as we still have a couple more red cards to go through…
The ‘Experienced Worker’ card is similar to the previous; except it applies to those working on a construction site in any role (besides Technical, Supervisory or Managerial). All of the same rules apply as above, in terms of it being ‘temporary’ and the way you would provide evidence for your learner to apply for the card.
However, once your learner has made use of this card, they will progress on to a Blue or Gold ‘Skilled Worker’ card.
This card is another one designed for those who are just starting out in construction except in a ‘Trainee’ role. In order for your learner to qualify for this card, they need to provide evidence that they are enrolled onto an approved construction qualification; this is normally an NVQ or SVQ however for this card it can be a:
- Non-NVQ Diploma
- Intermediate Construction Award
- Foundation Construction Award or Degree
This card allows your learner to undertake real work experience on a construction site whilst they complete any of the above qualifications.
The last of the ‘Red’ CSCS cards, the Provisional Card is for those who haven’t held a CSCS card before. This isn’t a card that you will commonly find yourself involved in, but we will explain how it works anyway.
Learners who require a provisional card are working through a probationary period and are not yet officially registered on a qualification; therefore they cannot gain access to the construction site. This card allows the person to be on-site whilst their employer assesses their suitability for employment.
The only thing a person needs to gain the Provisional card is, like all card holders, have passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test. This card is non-renewable and lasts for just 6 months – so the card holder had better hope their employer
Blue CSCS Card – Skilled Worker
Finally a different colour! This is the only current card within this colour, and as made obvious by the name, this card is for those who have achieved and relevant construction-related qualification or an Apprenticeship programme approved by CSCS. This is probably one of the most common cards you will be qualifying your learners to be eligible for. In order for your learner to qualify for the Blue card, they will need:
- Level 2 NVQ/SVQ in a Construction-related subject OR
- To have a completed an Employer-sponsored Apprenticeship OR
- A City & Guilds o London Institute Craft Certificate OR
- A CSCS Approved Trailblazer
Once you have qualified your learner to be eligible for this card, they will be able to demonstrate that they are both an experienced skilled worker, and fully trained in all the Health and Safety requirements of construction sites. Learners would then be able to progress on to Gold cards…
Gold CSCS Card
There are two Gold CSCS Cards available.
The Advanced Craft card is for those who are highly skilled within the construction industry and have advanced qualifications, such as:
- Level 3 NVQ/SVQ in a Construction-related qualification OR
- A CSCS Approved Indentured Apprenticeship
- Employer-Sponsored Apprenticeship that included the City & Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate
These are the qualifications you would be assessing your learner to achieve in order to gain the Advanced Craft card. Alternatively…
This Gold card is for those working in a supervisory role within construction; Gold Supervisory card holders have high skill levels as well as experience in supervising others.
In order for your learner to qualify for this card, you will need to help them achieve:
- Level 3 Occupational Work Supervisor in a Construction Environment NVQ/SVQ OR
- Level 4 Site Supervisor in a Construction Environment NVQ/SVQ
The learner will also need work experience in supervising workers within the construction industry; this is something you probably won’t be helping out with, but it’s good to know what they will need.
Black CSCS Card – Manager
Last, and certainly not least, the highest level CSCS card available; the Black CSCS Manager Card. If you were to assess a learner to be applicable for this card, they would need:
- Level 4, 5, 6, or 7 within a Construction Management/Technical related subject
- CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment test (within the last two years).
Many learners will access their Black card through a Level 4 qualification, and keep moving up to higher levels of qualifications over the years. Can you imagine the progress you would see within a learner who you have taken through Levels 4 – 7 in Construction?!
For You, the Assessor
So, we’ve gone through all of the cards that you can help your learner achieve. What about what you need, as the Assessor?
In order to be qualified to assess construction learners and help them achieve the required CSCS Card, you need:
- A relevant Assessor qualification (Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement)
- To be occupationally competent at the same level your learner is trying to achieve a qualification in.
Just to clarify on that second point; that means that hypothetically if you wanted to assess learners taking their Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management to achieve the Black Card, you would need to hold that qualification (and therefore that card)! Likewise, if you wanted to assess a learner taking their Level 2 NVQ/SVQ in a Construction related subject, you’d need to hold that qualification too.
This can also depend on the Training Provider you’re employed by; some require you to hold the specific qualification you will be assessing, but others will accept a ‘sufficient’ years of work experience. As for what ‘sufficient’ means – that depends on the employer.
One thing that’s for sure…
Is that you’ll need that all-important Assessor qualification – the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement. Or, for short, the CAVA. That’s where we at Brooks and Kirk come in! You can find out more information about the Assessor qualification on our CAVA Page. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 01205 805 155, or email us at email@example.com.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.