CSCS have said their primary objective is to provide evidence that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.
By certifying construction workers have the correct training and qualifications CSCS can play its part in improving standards and safety on UK construction sites. It was for this reason that CSCS ceased issuing the green Construction Site Operative card and replaced it with a qualification based card for Labourers.
Since introducing the Labourer Card in July 2014 more than 35,000 have been issued to applicants who have achieved either a Level 1 qualification or recognised equivalent. This is a positive step forward but further changes to the scheme are required if the industry is to realise its ambition of a fully qualified workforce.
The CRO card was introduced in 2005 at the request of industry and was intended for those occupations for which there were no nationally recognised qualifications. Since 2005 over 300,000 CRO cards have been issued covering more than 400 occupations.
Following the introduction of the green Labourer card in July 2014 applications for the Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card have grown significantly. Many applicants are now applying for the CRO card as no qualifications are required and they only need to pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test to be eligible for a card.
Prior to the introduction of the new Labourer card CSCS issued 3,000 CRO cards per month. This monthly figure has now risen to 12,000. This clearly demonstrates CRO cards are being used by site workers as the fastest route of entry to site without the need or commitment to be qualified.
The CRO card is no longer fit for purpose and CSCS has consulted with industry to determine the best way to address this issue.
From October 1st 2015 the following changes will be made:
- All CRO cards issued from 1st October 2015 will expire on 30th September 2017* and are not renewable
- You will be expected to register for a nationally recognised construction related qualification before the card expires
- Only one occupation will be displayed on your CRO card from 1stOctober 2015
- CSCS will stop issuing CRO cards from 31st March 2017
To ensure you apply for the correct card you should use the card finder tool on the CSCS website. Input your current occupation and the card finder will show you which qualifications are accepted together with the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test that needs to be completed. Card Finder will also tell you which CSCS card to apply for.
The introduction of these new measures is a practical approach towards industry’s desire for a fully qualified workforce while improving standards and safety on UK construction sites.