GQA Qualifications Blog

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Proposed changes to CSCS cards- a view from Phil Douglas, GQA’s Specialist Construction External Quality Advisor

From July 2014 anyone in need of the green "Labourers” CSCS card will to achieve a knowledge based qualification titled "Health and safety in the Construction Environment".

This is as a result of various surveys that have been carried out which found there where many operatives holding the wrong card for their particular occupation and the green CSCS card was seen as a quick fix to client and main contractor CSCS compliance. This surprisingly included Contract/Site Managers and Supervisors. It appears that a number of training providers have been offering CSCS health and safety testing free of charge for unemployed people who in some cases had never been in construction but were looking at the card as a potential passport to work.
The original green card was introduced by CSCS in 2002 and the card was gained by employer endorsement and completion of the Health and Safety test. This was also referenced in the recent Pye Tait report which stated that "All construction workers should be formally qualified" and hold the correct card.
From January 2014 the GQA Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in Construction will be available and accepted by CSCS as part of the new scheme. Centres wishing to offer this qualification or for more information on the links between GQA qualifications and CSCS cards should either contact their allocated EV or the GQA Office on 01142 720033 or by e-mail to
Other developments with CSCS include the Academically Qualified Person (AQP) CSCS card, this will be yellow and white in colour and will only be issued once. The card is viewed as a "stepping stone" to the scheme for candidates who hold qualifications such as HNC, HND, NEBBOSH Construction certificates and Diplomas as well as CIOB certificates to allow them to work towards a relevant NVQ/SVQ qualification.
I personally feel this is a positive step as there are many people in the construction sector who have put time and effort in on top of their daily work schedules to gain the correct qualification for their job. The old style green card was widely abused and hopefully this will tighten things up.