How can Planners, Estimators, Buyers & Quantity Surveyors access the Black CSCS card?

There are a great deal of Planners, Buyers, Quantity Surveyors and Estimators in the construction industry that are unaware that high level competence-based qualifications (NVQs) are available for their specific occupation. They’re all aware that academic qualifications exist such as HNC’s HND’s Degrees etc and many of them actually hold these qualifications, but is it enough?

The Pearson Level 6 NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations Management is a bachelor degree level qualification that has 5 distinct pathways tailored specifically for Planners, Estimators, Quantity Surveyors, Buyers and General Contractors. Many of these construction managers are not aware that specific qualifications directly related to their occupation even exist. This is partly because the ‘General Contracting’ pathway of this qualification is normally offered as a one-size-fits-all solution for simplicity.

Competence based qualifications (NVQs) are actually viewed by many in the construction industry as having more value than academic qualifications. Academic qualifications such as degrees are an opportunity to enter an industry and whilst the achievement of such a qualification is commendable, an individual can achieve a construction-related degree having never actually experienced a live construction site.

Although some use the NVQ route as an alternative to HNCs/HNDs/Degrees, CADUK have qualified a number of construction personnel on high level NVQs that already had academic qualifications. They held the White Academically Qualified Person (AQP) CSCS card to prove that they know the theory, but they also wanted the competence-based qualification and the Black CSCS card to back it up.

The Black CSCS card is linked to a Level 6 or 7 Qualification which demonstrates occupational competence and confirms the skills, knowledge and experience of an individual that has been gained over time in a real construction environment, which is why you can’t access the Black CSCS card with an academic qualification (i.e a degree).

The NVQ assessment process might seem less rigorous than an academic qualification because it is not a classroom-based assessment, but don’t let this fool you. Experienced Construction Managers have earned the right to gain a qualification that recognises the skills, knowledge and experience they have gained through the ‘school of hard knocks’. They started at the bottom, worked long hours and underwent huge personal sacrifices to be able to work competently at this level.

CADUK are specialists in the delivery of this qualification and are regularly asked by prospective learners for our advice and guidance as to the next steps in terms of their professional development. Most of our Assessors and Internal Verifiers at levels 6 are Members or Fellows of The Chartered institute of Building (CIOB).

If you would like to explore the benefits of competence-based qualifications, please give us a call us on (01952) 287 366.


Looking for a Black CSCS Card?

What is the Black CSCS Card?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) aim is to increase safety on construction sites and ensure that those in the construction industry work to an industry standard and have the ability to carry out their role safely and effectively.

The Black CSCS card is the Managerial Level card that is accessible to those that have achieved a Managerial NVQ Level 6 & 7 in the Construction Industry. This card demonstrates that you have the skills,  knowledge, experience and capability to manage personnel in a construction environment.

How can I access this card?

Completion of a any of the NVQ qualifications below at Level 6 or 7 will enable individuals to access the Black CSCS card:

How are these qualifications assessed?

We deliver NVQs 6 predominantly through our unique ‘CADUK ePortfolio’ online assessment system. All of our assessors at Level 6 & 7 are Fellows of The Chartered Institute of Building and they will guide you through the process using the ePortfolio, as well as Skype, Email and Telephone.

Candidates are required to respond to the questions by attaching documentary evidence that proves their competence and supplementing it with a short written or verbal description. We provide support for 12 months through this online route, although generally these qualifications are easily achievable in 2-3 months (and much less, given the right amount of dedication).

What do you offer at Level 7?

Although generally our Managerial NVQs at Level 6 are delivered ‘interactively’ online, we can now offer new  help candidates complete their New Level 7 in Construction Senior Management qualification in a very short space of time. This will involve you and your assessor engaging in a professional discussion. Learners will need to prepare all the required evidence and documentation for the assessor to review beforehand.

In order to be successful in this on-site fast-track route, candidates will need to be very experienced and be able to confidently speak about their job role in detail. These Managers will have already gained the skills, knowledge and experience required to complete this qualification on the job, over time, in a real construction-site environment.

How much do these qualification cost?

The Level 6 NVQs costs £1850 + VAT and the New Level 7 NVQ in Construction Senior Management costs £2100 + VAT (This included registration fees, assistance with CIOB etc).

Where can I get some more information?

If you need more information on any of these qualifications, click the appropriate link(s) above to visit the specific qualification page on our website. Here you can also download the ‘initial profile tool’ for each of these qualifications to find out if you skills, knowledge and experience to complete them.

Alternatively call CADUK on 01952 287 366.


For several years the strategic direction of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has focused on ensuring that all applicants can demonstrate the achievement of a nationally recognised construction related qualification.

With the introduction of the Labourer card, the withdrawal of the Construction Related Occupation card and the planned removal of the Site Visitor card the next step is the withdrawal of cards issued under Industry Accreditation.

Industry Accreditation, also known as Grandfather Rights, allowed workers to obtain CSCS cards on the strength of an employers’ recommendation rather than the achievement of a recognised qualification. CSCS closed Industry Accreditation to new applicants in 2010 but those already holding a card are currently able to renew on the same basis.

CSCS has consulted with the industry and agreed a plan that will pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of cards issued under Industry Accreditation.

From 1st January 2020, all cards renewed under Industry Accreditation will expire on 31st December 2024 and CSCS will stop issuing the card from 30thJune 2024.

Graham Wren, Chief Executive at CSCS said: “Following the closure of the Construction Related Occupation card and the Construction Site Visitor Card, cards gained by Industry Accreditation are the only cards in the CSCS scheme which do not require the cardholder to achieve a recognised qualification. Industry Accreditation does not support industry’s desire for a fully qualified workforce and as such it will be withdrawn.”

What each of the 60,000 Industry Accreditation card holders need to do next depends on their occupation and any qualifications they may already hold. Those without qualifications will be required to register for the appropriate qualification for their occupation before their cards expire in 2024.

Graham Wren added: “A lot of work has taken place to ensure those with cards issued under Industry Accreditation will be able to transition to other CSCS cards as simply as possible. We are making this announcement early to ensure card holders and their employers have enough time to make the necessary alternative arrangements.”

The withdrawal of Industry Accreditation will be the final step towards achieving the Construction Leadership Council’s objective of ensuring cards are only issued to those who have achieved, or are in the process of achieving, a nationally recognised construction related qualification.

CADUK Receive SQA Star Award

CADUK Receive SQA Star Award for unique and innovative approach to delivering Plant & Controlling Lifting Operations NVQs

CADUK were recently awarded a “Centre of the Year in the Wider UK” Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Star Award for our unique and innovative approach to delivering National Vocational Qualifications in Construction Plant & Controlling Lifting Operations.

The annual Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Star Awards was held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow  and is a celebration of the outstanding achievements in education and training across Scotland, the UK and around the world.

CADUK have delivered over 1000 construction-based NVQs since 2011 via our an interactive electronic assessment process that we developed with the help of feedback from our assessor’s, learners and their employers.

We fully utilise technology to provide a unique one-day assessment delivered directly on-site.  Learners will be supported and assessed by one of our specialist Plant & Controlling Lifting Operations assessors (all of whom have vast industry experience). The aim is for the assessor, learner and their employer to work together to help capture evidence of competence that is automatically uploaded to an online area where this evidence can be shared and validated by the Centres QAC. This unique process enables CADUK to provide the learner with a document that will allow the learner to contact CITB and access their Blue CPCS card quicker than any other provider. In some cases the learner could be requesting their Blue CPCS card on the same day as their assessment takes place.

See some of our reviews further down the page, or follow this link to see what our learners are saying about us.

NVQs in Construction

CADUKs Guide to the Benefits and Value of NVQs in Construction

Well, what do you know about NVQs?

Contrary to popular belief its not who you know these days but what you know and what you can do that makes a difference in the world of work in Construction.

Who says so?

Employers throughout the UK and abroad are using evidence of practical, work-related skills, knowledge and experience as the measurement of how valuable their people are now and for the future. CDM Regulation 2015 which are the the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects have provided guidance for Principal Designers/Principal Contractors where they are advised to appoint contractors and workers and provide the managers and supervisors who have the right blend of skills, knowledge, training and experience. You can improve your chances of getting a better job and building a better career simply by being recognised for what you already know by committing yourself to undertake a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The following is an introduction by CADUK to NVQs in Construction. What they are; who they are for, how you get them, what employers think of them and how you find out more.

How do you show what you know and can do?

The best way to improve your career prospects is to show that your skills meet the standards agreed by Construction Employers across the UK.  NVQs are designed to help you do just that.

NVQs are National because the represent the standards accepted through the UK. They are Vocational because they are about the work you do. They are respected, high quality qualifications that are Internationally recognised that give you a certificate to prove that you have reached the required standard to carry out your job in the Construction Industry.

Does an NVQ involve sitting exams?   

No. NVQs aren’t about how good you are at exams, they are about how good you are at work. NVQs never involve written tests, they don’t involve trick questions – they are designed to let your skills, knowledge and experience shine through in practical ways. All NVQs in Construction (and there are over 300 NVQs in Construction) are developed by the CITB through consultation with National Working Groups and Practitioner Groups from across the four home nations, so they are developed by people who know the Construction Industry. They relate to the real world and many certificate holders and their employers will tell you that this is their main advantage. NVQs are not about going back to school. They are about going where you want to go in your career.

Where can NVQs in Construction take you?

With a little effort on your part, The relevant NVQ can take your career wherever you want it to go. Whatever your job in Construction at whatever level there is an NVQ for you. As your career develops further NVQs at higher levels will become accessible. The NVQ framework in construction is designed to help you make progress in your career. Having an NVQ  gives you a better chance of changing jobs or having access to work abroad. You could even have a career break without having to start from scratch every time. When you move on from a job you take your recognised skills and experience with you: by giving you formal recognition, NVQs help keep your career on the move.

Are Employers in the Construction Industry backing NVQs?

NVQs tell your employer a lot about you. By gaining an NVQ, you are making a strong statement about your will to succeed in your job, particularly if you have paid for it yourself. You are saying that your skill level matters to you and you want to improve.

They also give employers a national benchmark for judging the contribution you are likely to make to the business. If you have an NVQ you have shown that you are prepared to invest your time in being recognised as a proven contributor to business success.

How do you get an NVQ?

NVQs are really flexible. There are no time limits, no age limits, no special entry requirements. You can work towards NVQs in the way that suits you best – at work, at home, interactively online. You decide how long it will take – working at your own speed you can do it all at once or in stages. NVQs are awarded dependent on your work skills this may include being watched at work by your assessor but this depends on the qualification you are undertaking and individual needs and circumstances.

Who are NVQs for?

Everyone in the Construction Industry can benefit from NVQs. There are 7 Levels of NVQs ranging form level 1 covering basic work activities through to level 7 for senior managers – so they can help the careers of senior managers as much as relative newcomers to the industry.

What about special cases?

Every NVQ carries a commitment to equal opportunities. Age, sex, race and learning difficulties are not barriers to achievement. All that matters is your ability to meet the NVQ standard.

What Industry Accreditation and Professional Designations are accessible through NVQs?

As well as providing access to the highly sort after Blue (Operative), Gold (Supervisor) and Black (Manager) CSCS cards, NVQs also provide access to professional recognition with a variety of Professional Institutions such as The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), The Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) and The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

How can you find out more?

Talk to CADUK.  Contact us through our website or call us on 01952 287485

End of the CRO/CSO Card, an opportunity for Supervisors and Managers!

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) withdrew the Construction Site Operative Card (CSO) in 2014 and stopped issuing the Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card on 31st March 2017.

This means that

  •  CSO cards will be out of circulation in summer next year because they were valid for 5 years
  • CRO cards issued since 1st October 2015 will expired on 30th September 2017
  • CRO & CSO card holders must take further steps to replace their cards before they expire.

In 2012, the CRO card, which required no qualifications to obtain, accounted for a quarter of the cards in circulation, that is over 230,000 CRO card holders.  CSO cards which also required no qualifications to attain accounted for over half of the cards in circulation.  In the majority of cases CRO & CSO card holders will be required to register for existing or newly developed qualifications at operative Level, but what those who have developed their skills, knowledge and experience and are now responsible for supervising and managing the construction process?

Those Supervisors and Managers who still hold CRO and CSO card, who do not take the necessary steps to replace their cards will find they will be unable to obtain another CSCS card. These individuals need to undertake a Construction Supervisory and Management NVQ from Level 3 to Level 7 to gain access to Gold and Black CSCS cards.  Gaining measurable competence based qualifications (NVQs) is what the CSCS scheme is all about and its is all part of an individuals professional development and is good practice. People need to proactively take the opportunity to develop their careers.

There are a wide variety of competence based qualifications (NVQs) available that cover every aspect of construction supervision and management. Examples include:

Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Occupational Works Supervision – for  those who contribute to the supervision of formworkers, steelfixers, construction operatives, labourers, logistics teams etc.

Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations – For those people who might be considered to be office based such as Junior estimators, quantity surveyors, buyers, planners and general contractors; also people who might be considered to be site based and carry out such functions as dimensional control, surveys, work planning and technical sales.

Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision – For those who undertake the duties of construction site supervisors or assistant managers. Construction site supervisors will have responsibility for other people in their occupation and clearly be decision makers. Their duties include Controlling work progress against agreed programmes, Maintaining systems for health, safety, welfare and environmental protection and Allocating and monitoring the use of plant, equipment or machinery.

Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management – For those working in at senior site management level, e.g. those with responsibility for Controlling Project Progress, Ensuring that Work Activities and Resources Meet Project Work Requirements, and Controlling Project Quantities and Costs.

There are 5 routes to this qualification, Building & Civil Engineering, Highways and Maintenance Repair, Residential Development, Demolition and Conservation.

Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Senior Site Inspection –  For those working as site inspectors, architectural inspectors and quality inspectors. i.e. those managers who carry out the role of Clerk of Works.

These people will have responsibility for monitoring project quality and managing project progress and handover in construction.

Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations –  For those people will have responsibility for other people in their occupation and clearly be decision makers. These include roles such as Senior Estimators, Senior Quantity Surveyors, Senior Buyers, Senior Planners and General Contracting (This could include those who are Site Agents, Site Engineers, Site Managers, Logistics Managers, Lifting Managers, and those who carry out the role of Principal Designer (CDM Regulations 2015).

This qualification is suitable for people who might be considered to be site based and have responsibilities for functions as dimensional control, surveys, physical testing and work planning. It covers all sections of the construction cycle including all forms of construction and civil engineering. This includes functions such as maintenance and demolition and companies specialising in a single operation such as roofing, plastering and shop-fitting

Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management – For those practitioners in the Construction sector who are working in a Policy-makingDirector or Senior management capacity: i.e. Contracts and Production Managers and Commercial ManagersOperations Directors of smaller construction companies, Property and Facilities Managers and Specialist Construction Managers; as well as those in Construction Project Management – i.e. those who oversee projects from inception to decommissioning, who advise stakeholders and who form and lead project delivery teams.

All qualifications lead to either the Gold (Supervisor) and Black (Manager) CSCS cards. Level 6 & 7 NVQs also lead to professional status with The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) and The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

To find more information about the qualification you believe you have access to, please click on the link provided above or give us a call on (01952) 287366

CSCS Black Manager Card

CSCS Announce Grandfather Rights Card Withdrawal a Priority for 2018

Following the withdrawal of the Visitor card the next step towards a fully qualified workforce is perhaps the most challenging. Industry Accreditation (IA), also known as Grandfather Rights, allowed workers to obtain CSCS cards on the strength of an employers’ recommendation rather than the achievement of a recognised qualification (NVQ)

CSCS closed IA to new applicants in 2010 but those already holding a card are currently able to renew on the same basis. To meet the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) CSCS will develop plans to move all IA cardholders to a recognised qualification.

CSCS have stated that to achieve this within the necessary timescales it will require extensive industry consultation prior to implementation. In the meantime, existing IA card holders can continue to renew their cards in accordance with the scheme rules.

The withdrawal of IA will be the final step towards achieving the CLC’s requirement of ensuring nationally recognised qualifications are in place for all occupations

Source: CSCS

HSE ‘passing the buck’ on construction fatalities

An MP has accused the Health and Safety Executive of “passing the buck” over delays in prosecuting construction companies for fatal accidents.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn, leading a parliamentary debate on the issue, said that if the HSE was failing to prosecute, it could lead to “an ever greater number of companies [flouting] safety laws”.

He continued: “In 2007/08 the HSE was successful in prosecuting 51 per cent of construction fatal accidents. By 2012/13 that figure had dropped to a mere, and disgraceful, 35 per cent.”

As of last year, the HSE was successful in achieving a guilty verdict in more than 90 per cent of all prosecution cases. But writing for Construction News earlier this month, Mr Hepburn said that progress in the industry would not continue “unless the Health and Safety Executive is an effective policeman for construction safety”.

According to figures from the HSE, presented by Mr Hepburn, in 2006/07 the average time between a fatal accident in construction and a conviction was 985 days. But by 2014/15 this had increased to 1,267 days – nearly three-and-a-half years.

In 15 per cent of cases, prosecution does not begin for three to four years.

In response, parliamentary under-secretary of state for disabled people Justin Tomlinson said “several factors” can affect the pace at which fatal accidents are investigated.

“The police normally assume primacy for the investigation to identify whether serious offences, such as corporate manslaughter, are involved,” he said.

“This can take many months, or in some cases years, during which HSE is unable to initiate proceedings. The police and Crown Prosecution Service might be in charge of the case right through to any court cases.”

He added that more than 80 per cent of HSE investigations into fatal incidents were completed within 12 months of receiving primacy, while most “take considerably less time”.

According to Mr Tomlinson, half of HSE’s decisions to prosecute are made within two years of the date of a fatal construction incident.

Mr Hepburn raised the case of Falcon Crane Hire, which was fined £750,000 following a crane collapse in Battersea in 2006 that caused the deaths of the crane operator and a member of the public. The case was settled last week, nearly 10 years after the incident occurred.

He added that the HSE needed to address the “excruciating” delays between incident, prosecution and conviction.

“The HSE says the delays are due to other bodies and agencies, such as the police, the coroners’ courts and even the justice system itself, especially if the matter is referred to the Crown Court,” he said. “In other words, the HSE is saying it is not its fault.”

MP for Stirling Steven Paterson cited research from Stirling University, which said the HSE “looks and sounds like a toothless tiger – a lot of noise and increasingly little action”.

He cited figures from trade union Ucatt which suggested unannounced inspections of construction sites by the HSE in Scotland had dropped by 55 per cent since 2012/13.

“If companies think they will not be inspected and that there will never be a surprise knock at the door, the HSE loses all its authority in pressurising companies not to break safety laws,” Mr Hepburn said.

Mr Tomlinson said new guidelines are being put in place to ensure any decisions to prosecute were made “as quickly as possible”.

“There is now a new practical guide for investigators, which should ensure all parties work effectively together and that any prosecution is brought as soon as possible,” he said.

“Other than in exceptional circumstances, it should be no later than three years after the date of the death.”

Source: Construction News