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CITB calls time on 20 years of CSCS delivery

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced its decision to withdraw from the construction skills certification scheme (CSCS) card administration service. 


The construction skills and training provider contacted the CSCS board in early January to terminate the card administration and contact centre contract, ending more than 20 years of its administration of the scheme. Each year, it processes more than 400,000 card applications and one million contact centre enquiries on behalf of CSCS.

The not-for-profit CSCS has three-and-a-half years to secure a new service provider. To ensure a seamless transition, the CITB will continue to maintain the service until the new supplier takes over.

Although holding a CSCS card is not a legal requirement, the construction cards provide evidence that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out. Most principal contractors and major house builders do require construction workers on their sites to hold a valid CSCS card and it is estimated that there are currently around 1.6 million cardholders.

In 2015, BBC Newsnight uncovered evidence that three London companies had taken cash in exchange for qualifications that are used to obtain CSCS cards, which could have allowed untrained workers onto construction sites. 

CITB said at the time that it was acting against card fraud, which included installing closed circuit TV in its test centres.

Graham Wren, chief executive at CSCS, said: “The notice period provides an opportunity to identify new and smarter ways of working, such as online applications, that could benefit not just individual card holders, but their employers too.”

The CITB has taken the decision as part of Vision 2020, which means focusing on fewer activities centred on its core priorities of careers, training and development and standards and qualifications. 

Brian Connolly, director of products and services at CITB, said: “In the past 20 years, the UK has established itself as a world leader in services and there are potential providers who can offer a more efficient, modern service than CITB can provide in the administration of the CSCS card scheme.”


Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton is acting editor of IOSH Magazine. He is a former editor of SHP and has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner


  • Hopefully the new

    Permalink Submitted by Carol, Plymouth on 19 January 2018 - 12:13 pm

    Hopefully the new administration will reintroduce grandfather rights and employers' confirmation of competence, so I won't have to send highly experienced people on a one day awareness course for a green card just to get them on site

  • This has been going on for

    Permalink Submitted by Chris on 19 January 2018 - 12:40 pm

    This has been going on for many years and you do not have to go on a any CSCS course as it is so corrupt that they can be bought in a pub especially where foreign labour is concerned where they have no chance of passing a test. As it started off with the best of intentions it became a money making scam especially with the free movement of people within the EU. I should for me be binned altogether in favour of college qualifications with judicators present.

  • You can blame John Prescott

    Permalink Submitted by Michael Murray on 20 January 2018 - 11:48 am

    You can blame John Prescott and the NCA for the current situation with the CSCS card when he threatened the construction industry with legislation if they did not adopt a certification scheme, and what did the industry leaders do , knee jerk reaction and said "lets uses the existing scheme "which was a skill card in the proper sense of the word instead of developing a robust scheme that would have given us trained and competent workforce

  • Hope the scheme gets scrapped

    Permalink Submitted by David on 23 January 2018 - 04:00 pm

    Hope the scheme gets scrapped. Absolutely ludicrous method of measuring competence. I have Nebosh Dip Nebosh Cert & Nebosh Cert Construction (distinction) SMSTS and still could not get onto site because I had not sat a 30 minute multiple choice test! Madness!!

  • After 35 years working in the

    Permalink Submitted by They should do away with this corrupt scheme on 26 January 2018 - 12:52 pm

    After 35 years working in the engineering industry both in UK and overseas, from apprentice to project manager, i had my first job in the UK that required a CSCS card. And guess what, I didnt have the NVQ levels needed to get a card other than a TRAINEE ahahaha. Well you can keep your Not Very Qualified scheme if 35 years experience inst enough. You give cards to inexperienced people who have done a 2 week course and just create a black market for those who cannot prove their worth other than a piece of plastic. About time it was thrown away and a decent system replaced it.

  • I was a bricklayer for over

    Permalink Submitted by keith on 22 February 2018 - 02:28 am

    I was a bricklayer for over 30 years.I jacked it all in because i didn't have an NVQ 2. At 50 i'm not going back to school.CSCS took my livelihood away from me and put me on the dole.Even if it's scrapped i'd never go back on the building treated like dirt.

    • I sympathise mate. My card is

      Permalink Submitted by Peter kierman on 16 January 2019 - 08:23 am

      I sympathise mate. My card is up in June 2019 and I've been told I need a nvq, costing me £700. I'm 65, with over 45 years in the trade. I want to work but they are forcing me in to retirement.

  • i totally agree cscs system

    Permalink Submitted by paul chalmers on 4 March 2018 - 07:33 pm

    i totally agree cscs system is the one thing has turned qualified and experienced trained trades away from the roles we all worked in for anything up to 35 years it clearly is a system to generate an income for people who themselves are not qualified enough for their own cscs green card

  • I find it hard that I done my

    Permalink Submitted by luke on 24 May 2018 - 04:06 am

    I find it hard that I done my time being the do this get that, which was part and parcel and I worked hard, then done my apprenticeship now 20 years in my trade..... a chancer can watch me for a few minutes who doesn't even know me then get a cscs card for a day course????

  • In all my 52 years I have

    Permalink Submitted by steven penn on 13 July 2018 - 01:49 pm

    In all my 52 years I have never seen such exploitation. Only answer is a long period of downing tools. If a hard Brexit happens and the Eastern Europeans move somewhere else this scheme will get scrapped. They will never have the skilled Labour they need.
    Skilled tradesmen aside you now have the farce of qualifications for Labourers costing up to 200.00 to get a green card to do a job in London paying 9 per hour.
    Exploitation of the highest order. I myself when getting a health and safety qualification had to ask the clowns behind the desk to repeat themselves as they all had broken English. Non job middlemen looking down their noses as experienced hard working tradesmen.
    Scrap this fiasco now. It has and will continue to ruin the construction industry. That matters not a jot however as someone somewhere is getting very fat.

  • I have a gold card cscs used

    Permalink Submitted by Frank garvey on 28 August 2018 - 12:10 pm

    I have a gold card cscs used it once was on site ten minutes load shite

  • over 25 years experience on

    Permalink Submitted by Paul on 29 August 2018 - 06:26 pm

    over 25 years experience on site in many aspects of construction both on the tools and management and I have to prove competence to the citb who in turn outsource the exam to pearsons then apply for a cscs labourers card just to get on site ..rip off Britain at its finest!!!.if the industry spent as much time scrutinising the mickey mouse agencies and umbrella companies that are extorting percentages of construction workers wages .. but hey its health and safety so form a queue pay your 200 odd quid and you are now qualified

  • Cscs and citb are no more

    Permalink Submitted by Colin on 11 October 2018 - 07:11 am

    Cscs and citb are no more than extortion rackets set up by government who created unnecessary tiers of employment financed off the backs of the workers in the building trade. These stealth tax cards are absolutely no proof of competence and as we all know, like the motorist, it is not safety they are interested in, it is a cash cow they want. We pass our driving test to drive vehicles that are proven to be very dangerous if used wrongly, the test / laws/ traffic signs..... change, but our licence is for life subject only to a renewal fee, with no "refresher" course, but the financial parasites (citb) were not even content with a forced test every five years with content that is an insult to intelligent people, instead of just extorting a renewal fee, they have decided you must have qualifications/ paperwork to illustrate you are fit to sit the ludicrous " h & s environmental" test, irrelevant of any previous experience, courses, certificates..... The biggest travesty of all, is that these individuals from all these bodies dictating to the trades cannot even do the job themselves. What was their phrase, Oh yes, is it experience over knowledge?. This statement implies they are the only ones with "knowledge"and are admitting they have no experience! Well only having a few years to work, I am done! I will certainly not be part of this obscene extortion racket, and will not be demeaning the academic qualifications I gained by taking part in their brain dead questionnaire.

  • I agree with most comments,

    Permalink Submitted by Ridgo on 24 October 2018 - 03:24 pm

    I agree with most comments, but no one has thought about what should we be doing to improve H&S awareness.

    The industry should be looking at anyone that needs to work on a construction site has to take a H&S awareness test. It should not be mapped to an individuals trade. As of the comments there are many ways to deem competence and it should be up to the employer to decide whether the individual is competent to carryout his role - Training, experience and knowledge.

    There are numerous CITB qualifications in management and supervision SMSTS, SSSTS which are deemed as industry standard courses however they are not linked to get a CSCS card!! There are numerous ways to deem competence without having to spend thousand of pounds on NVQ's which should all be taken into account when assessing competence. e.g years on job, bolt on training, specific training, previous knowledge etc.

    Lets get back to basics, a mandatory Health & Safety Awareness Test every 5 years for everyone who works construction industry. Job done!

  • Absolute con and I've said

    Permalink Submitted by Carl on 21 November 2018 - 11:30 am

    Absolute con and I've said this from the start ! I've been working as a Painter & Decorator for 15+ years....I did my time at the start ( 5 years) learning under a proper decorator - then went on to refurbs and new builds (Also done lots of private work). After The recession hit I picked back up decorating and discovered that I needed a CSCS card to get on sites and to get work through agencies...I got a green card and back then it was fine as it was just an operatives card and just required a basic health & Safety test...fine no issues there....5 years down the line my card has ran out and I now find that the operatives card no longer exists and is now a labourers card....but not only that I have to take the same health and safety test but they have also now added another test or Certificate that you need to have.....a 1 day site safety plus health and safety awareness test.....or in other words another health and safety test......and guess what more expense...!!....the First h& E test is £20...the card is £30 and now the added extra test can cost anything up to £130.......what an absolute con.....disgraceful.....the only other option is to go to collage for a skilled workers card......I am a time served painter and decorator with 15+ years experience and now I am being told I need a card to prove it...rubbish. Being aware of health and safety is fine and having a little card to say so is no sweat...however we can all read between the lines here...its just lining somebody else's pockets as usual....I dont need a CSCS to do private work so why should this apply anywhere else

  • *******Update on my above

    Permalink Submitted by Carl on 16 January 2019 - 06:34 pm

    *******Update on my above post (21 Nov)...*****

    So, I've done the second health and Safety Test that has been introduced which is required for me to get a green CSCS card. This test is the "One day site Safety plus Health and Safety awareness course". I paid a training provider (through a booking agent) £145 inc Vat to do this course and this is what was involved...Turned up at 9,, didn't start till ten, this so called "health and safety expert" told us stories about himself and dirty jokes till 12, an hour for lunch...watched a video on Asbestos till 2...he told us what was in the test, we answered 25 multiple choice questions which was virtually the same as the first Health and Safety in the Environment test I had already done except worded differently, and went home at 3..
    What an absolute con...this was last Friday and I still cant order my card as they say the Tests haven't been processed and it could take 5-10 days...meanwhile an agency has rang me up with work which I cant start because of CITB....I know I've passed , I've rung CITB direct who have passed the Buck, and also rung the booking agent who said they would chase it up but just haven't bothered to ring me back. The whole thing stinks....
    Don't want to put anyone off - this is merely to point out just how much of a scam this is.
    There were 12 people on this course paying £145 each that's somebody making £1740 in 6 hours.......and then dragging their feet and taking two weeks to process a piece of paper...I'm not going to do this again in 5 years time I can promise you....

    BEWARE PEOPLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I trained as a Heavy Plant

    Permalink Submitted by Jonah on 26 January 2019 - 11:02 pm

    I trained as a Heavy Plant Operator 30 years ago under the old CITB rules. I gained my CITB qualification, plus a CTA card and City & Guild quals for multiple plant equipment types including, Bucket Loaders, Dozers, Graders, Excavators, Rough Terrain Fork Lift Trucks and more.

    Have subsequently completed many ‘Instructor’ courses and re-registered as an Instructor many times.

    Yet I am being forced to apply for a ‘new operator’ card that changes in colour as long as I do an NVQ and then an SNVQ if I want to continue using this equipment on site as an operator – as well as applying for another new card if I want to continue to instruct.

    It’s a money grabbing farce that doesn’t really recognise anything other than a piece of plastic that most appear to be gaining illegally and then being kicked off site.

    Why am I being forced to pay through the nose to satisfy a 20 year old security guard sat on the entrance to a site?

    I gained my quals through CITB after attending an in depth 7 month course and when they were the industry standard and respected.....not a 6 hour course watching videos and taking a 25 question multiple guess test paper. CITB should recognise my quals today in the same way that they recognised them 30 years ago when i earned them instead of outsourcing to those organisations who just want money every 3 to 5 years.

    The HSE states 'competent training delivered by a competent person' and only give guidance on the validity of duration. It is therefore a scam and farce that we are forced to retest every 3 to 5 years or to have an NVQ/SNVQ.

    Both the CSCS cards and the CPCS cards have always been a farce.

    Then NPORS came along and have been issuing cards with the CSCS brand in the top right corner and many operators have been blocked from entering a site because they don’t recognise NPORS!!!

    It’s all a farce.

    CITB should take back complete control as soon as possible.

  • Having worked in the Sig

    Permalink Submitted by Andy on 7 February 2019 - 09:49 am

    Having worked in the Sign Industry for 30+ years my majority of work is carried out away from building sites. I have been required to work on sites & clearly informed the guys doing the inductions that I don’t have a cscs card as I don’t believe in them. I tell them it’s not a legal requirement & if they refuse access to do my job I am entitled to sue them for discrimination. 9 times out of 10 they just say write a few numbers in the box where it asks for your card number as no one ever checks. So what’s the point having a system that clearly doesn’t work. I’m simply putting a sign on a wall not sending astronauts to the moon. It’s health & safety gone mad

  • Seems totally waste of t

    Permalink Submitted by Mark on 9 February 2019 - 08:49 pm

    Seems totally waste of time and money. I have 28 years experience in construction done lots of training and still the cscs need me to sit a course to prove my competency.. That's £150 the day course £31 to sit the touchscreen test and £21 to get the basic green labourers card. Not to mention the loss of a shift. £800 pounds for me to get a nvq blue card for experienced worker. This is done on site where I've witnessed the trainer taking photos of the person holding equipment but not actually building anything.. This is pure and simple fraud by these agencies and the government and should be exposed..

  • Isn’t the whole issue

    Permalink Submitted by Margaret on 19 March 2019 - 07:38 am

    Isn’t the whole issue Safety at Work. Everyone has the right to be safe on a job. Construction is no1 for loss of life and has 5 of the top main hazards that has the potential to take your life. As much as I understand that guys need work to earn money. Stop moaning and change the system. If the requirement is that all people who enter a construction site is aware of safety and aware of your health that’s a good thing. However, if our attitudes don’t change because it’s a money making self centred conglomerate that earns money then the question is should a percentage of the money from these courses go back into construction for things like apprenticeships, NVQs etc. I’ve seen the most experienced lose his livelihood for a moment of sheer madness and cutting corners. I agree having a card does not prove competency neither does it prove that that individual understoods ramifications of the Health and Safety at work. Construction industry requires the individual to be a competent, aware. It’s ATTITUDES and Competency that creates this two tier system. Change the attitude. Then the construction industry will embrace the changes. Stick to money making grabbing ideas and the same thing happens year on year

  • A legal Mafia run money

    Permalink Submitted by David Johnson on 2 April 2019 - 08:00 am

    A legal Mafia run money making scam. They must have employed top investigators to research now and the projected future of all the possible ways of making money. The CSCS card system moves the goal posts to restrict the individuals route by referring them back to NVQ level entry. It is degrading, stops professional or time served craftsmen from gaining work to earn wages. Forced to pay for these mad cards and after going through this process of obtaining them subjected to poor wages. Graduating in 2015 as a mature student, I am now subjected to the same as the other statements mentioned above. Been told I can not have a CSCS card but the card required is a PQP CSCS card but one has to pay for a CSCS managers course then a H&S then pay for a PQP card. This does not let me work on site as a CSCS card is required, been told I need an NVQ to gain the CSCS card, tried to obtain the gold card but denied because of the NVQ req. It did state at the time of applying the qualification required or " or equivalent " in brackets which should have been my degree. After speaking to Historic England they informed me it states " or equivalent in brackets " and my degree is the equivalent, this has now been removed by CSCS card company and is now changed to the AQP card. Paid over 30,000 for a degree and now this system denies me the right to work. In theory ,TO ALL WHO WANTS A CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION DEGREE just do the basic NVQ level entry for all/any related course, it will cost no more than 2,000 and guaranteed a CSCS card and access for work to earn. My degree is useless, and the same for my fellow graduates who now are in the same situation .........no job offered since 2015, because of this messed up system. The only way of getting noticed is to unite all construction workers and workers related to this daft scheme who have the same problem is to have a national 3day tools down protest until it is removed. The card should be a Health & Safety card only.

  • Why don’t IOSH look in t

    Permalink Submitted by David John on 1 May 2019 - 12:07 pm

    Why don’t IOSH look in to the cscs scam??

  • Complete racket I’m a

    Permalink Submitted by G Broughton on 23 May 2019 - 10:06 am

    Complete racket
    I’m a time served Electrician - I passed my exams and had a jib card 20 years ago
    I went self employed so have never renewed it - tried to apply for one now and have been told that because I havnt got an nvq that I have to have a years assesment on site plus various other bits and bobs an all in cost of £2k
    I was an indentured apprentice - passed all of my city and guilds exams - have proof of holding a previous JIB!

  • I’m just in the process

    Permalink Submitted by Mark on 2 July 2019 - 12:54 pm

    I’m just in the process of renewing my CSCS card and have been told that although I hold a city and guilds advanced craft bricklayer certificate I cannot get a blue trade card unless I have an NVQ level 2 ... this is an inferior qualification and would cost around £600 . Total rip off . I also hold an smsts and although that enables me to apply for a gold card ( at a cost of £1300) it is not a suitable qualification to obtain a green card . To obtain a green card I have to do a basic health and safety at work 1 day course.. something more suitable for school leavers. How the hell do they work that one out ?
    So in short after doing an indentured apprenticeship, having 30 plus years experience and an smsts I am deemed not competent to hold a trade card or to even be on site at all unless I pay for a basic H&S course. If this isn’t extortion I don’t know what is

  • I have been laying brick

    Permalink Submitted by Brian Gavigan on 4 July 2019 - 04:36 pm

    I have been laying bricks in London since 1982, having started working and learning my trade from my father in 1973. I remember in the late 90's seeing this CSCS posters hanging on site canteen walls. Saying "If you don't have your card by x date you will not be working by x date" Guys were saying 'Oh I must get my card" I told them ignore this maney making scam because the more construction workers that go along with their scare mongering the more power they will have. Fast forward 35 years and they now have moved from telling you, you were not safe to work on construction sites to telling you that you no longer are able to lay bricks do carpentry plumbing or electric wiring without giving them £1200 to £2000. The fact I can prove I was laying bricks and kept a record of the sites and dates I worked along with all my tax records stands for nothing. I worked when the tax rate was 30% and had a 715 subcontractors certificate. I always paid my tax and kept a straight record with the Inland Revenue. This CSCS requirements is nothing but a ripp-off by the shysters that run it. What other profession is charged to go to work?
    I have had cards in the past, go to thir test centres and you are treated like a convicted criminal that has just been taken from a court room to prison. The way they talk down to you beggers belief. The problem is the young people coming into the construction industry think this is "normal"
    Like one commentator said 'I want to work but they have forced me out of construction and on to the dole" It's a disgrace and one wonders how on earth they are allowed get away with it. Hell will freeze over before I give those shysters £1200 to do a job I worked at from 16 years of age.
    If I won the Euro Millions I would take them to the highest court in the land and win my case to force the end of this charade and make them repay all the money they have robbed of construction workers over the last 20 years.

  • I see no problem with th

    Permalink Submitted by Pierre morrod on 6 July 2019 - 09:39 pm

    I see no problem with the CSCS system in principle, they should come up with a better system for grandfather rights old school trades.let’s be honest it’s only a 2 day test for you to get your NVQ 2 in bricklaying if your already a competent bricklayer. People forget there is a lot of crap in the industry now people calling them selfs tradesmen carpenters etc I’ve seen nothing like it absolute chancers everywhere so what do you do. The CSCS system just needs a bit more thought anyone over 30 should not be charged if they need to pop into a training centre to prove there skill or the government should pay for an assessor to go to sit and asses them there. The health and safety part of the card well to be honest people either buy into health and safety or they don’t I think the industry should concentrate more on producing solid sit supervisors most companies now are just sending their best Chipie on a 2 day SSSTS course you need a someone who is actually interested in supervising not ticking a box.


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