Updated: Jun 26
In the construction industry of the United Kingdom, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) plays a crucial role in ensuring that workers possess the necessary skills and qualifications for their respective roles. The CSCS card is a widely recognized proof of competency, and the Black CSCS Card is specifically designed for senior managers and professionals and is one of the most sought after qualifications for managers and employers.
In this blog, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to gain the Black CSCS Card in the United Kingdom.
Acquiring the Black CSCS Card is a significant achievement for professionals in senior management and specialised roles within the construction industry. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process successfully.
Step 1: Determine Eligibility:
To be eligible for the Black CSCS Card, you must be working in a senior management or professional role within the construction industry in the UK.
This includes positions such as construction site managers, senior site supervisors, project managers, architects, engineers, and surveyors.
It is important to ensure that your occupation aligns with the criteria for the Black CSCS Card before proceeding further.
At this stage a discussion should be held between yourself and the training provider to establish where you are in your career path and what kind if activities you undertake in your day-to-day role. This discussion will indicate whether you are in a position to gather suitable work-based evidence to help you achieve the appropriate national vocational qualification.
Step 2: Acquire the Relevant Qualifications:
To obtain the Black CSCS Card, you need to possess the appropriate National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) related to your profession.
The Black CSCS card is available for management and technical occupations subject to:
· Achievement of a relevant Construction Management/Technical related NVQ/SVQ level 5, 6 or 7
· An SVQ at SCQF Level 10 or 11 in Construction Management/Technical related qualification
The NVQ is a work-based qualification that recognises the skills and knowledge a person needs to do a job. The candidate needs to demonstrate and prove their competency in their chosen role or career path. It can be carried out at your workplace to minimise disruption to your work schedule.
There are many different paths to achieving the correct NVQ that will achieve the black CSCS card and it’s important that you speak with your training provider to ensure that you select the NVQ that’s right for you.
This video will explain how the NVQ process works.
Step 3: Apply for the Black CSCS Card:
Once you have acquired the necessary National Vocational Qualification you will need to complete a Health, Safety & Environment test for Managers and Professionals (this is commonly known in the industry as a MAP touchscreen).
This is a multiple-choice question examination that covers the key subjects in the construction industry including the following:
Legal and management
Health and welfare
High risk activities
Occupational health governance
Improving legislative compliance.
From 27th June 2023 the pass mark for the Managers and Professionals test is 90%. To pass, you need to answer at least 45 out of 50 questions correctly.
When you have successfully completed this you can proceed to apply for the Black CSCS Card. Follow these steps:
Visit the CSCS website: Go to the official CSCS website (www.cscs.uk.com) and navigate to the "Apply for a Card" section.
Choose the appropriate application route: Select the Black CSCS Card option and ensure it matches your occupation and qualifications.
Complete the application form: Provide accurate and detailed information about your personal details, occupation, any professional memberships, and qualifications.
Submit supporting documents: Attach copies of your professional memberships, qualifications, and any other required documentation to support your application.
Pay the application fee: Process the payment for the application fee, which varies depending on the type of CSCS Card you are applying for.
Await the decision: The CSCS will review your application and verify your information. This process may take several weeks.
Receive your Black CSCS Card: If your application is successful, you will receive your Black CSCS Card by recorded delivery.
Step 4: Maintain and Renew Your Black CSCS Card:
The Black CSCS Card is valid for five years. To maintain your card's validity, you must keep your qualifications up to date. You will need to complete a Health, Safety & Environment test for Managers and Professionals (HS&E MAP) every 5 years. Approximately six months before your card's expiration, you should start the renewal process to ensure uninterrupted access to construction sites.
Step 5: Next Steps Apply for Professional Membership:
You may wish to become a member of a relevant professional membership organisation or institute. Membership in these organizations serves as evidence of your professional standing within the construction industry. Common examples include the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), or Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
Membership typically involves completing an application form, paying a fee, and providing evidence of your qualifications and experience. Upon successful completion you may be allowed to use the awarding body as post nominals e.g., John Smith MCIOB which has benefits that include the following:
Showcases your credentials and strengthens your reputation.
Demonstrates your commitment to professionalism, integrity, and excellence.
Displays your skill and experience level.
Indicates your dedication to continuous professional development.
Frequently Asked questions:
How much does it cost?
There are three main costs associated with acquiring a black CSCS card.
· Cost of the NVQ
There are various different national vocational qualifications that can help you achieve the black CSCS card which all have different prices associated with them. JTW construction training currently offers the NVQ level 6 in construction site management (building and civil engineering) for £1100 + VAT (£1320) payable in instalments.
· Cost of the HSE MAP test
At the time of writing the current charge for a health and safety environment test is £22.50
· Card fees
At the time of writing the current charge CSCS card fee is £30 + VAT (£36)
How long will it take?
The national vocational qualification will be the most time-consuming part of the process.
It can be completed in as little as 6 to 8 weeks however most learners complete this over 26 weeks or similar. The maximum duration is 24 months.
Factors that can affect the duration of the process include the amount of work-based evidence that the learner has available to them.
Training provider can provide you with a list of suitable work-based evidence that will help you achieve the national vocational qualification before registration.
The amount of time that the learner is willing to commit to achieve in the NVQ.
You will need to allocate sufficient time to complete the knowledge questions for the national vocational qualification and gather suitable evidence.
The black CSCS card is sought after qualification by both construction site managers and employers.
Acquiring the black CSCS card will provide employers with confidence that you have sufficient skills, knowledge, training, and experience to manage construction projects within the relevant sector and will boost your construction career.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.
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