What Are ‘Grandfather Rights’ – Also Known As Industry Accreditation?
When the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) was first introduced, there was an obvious need to give people who had been in their trades for years a means to keep on working. This was called ‘Industry Accreditation’.
Under Industry Accreditation,, CSCS Cards were issued to people based on references from employers or other competent people who could certify the person needing the card was capable of doing the job.
This evidence might have relied on the individual’s existing qualifications, or in some cases, just the opinion of the person giving the reference.
Within the Construction Sector, the scheme quickly became known as ‘Grandfather Rights’.
People had a CSCS Card, with their trade on the back and ‘Industry Accreditation’ rather than the qualifications they held.
Some people had the Black ‘Manager’ card, but the vast majority had ‘Skilled Worker’ CSCS Cards, which were blue.
In addition, people who had previously held ‘Advanced Craft’ qualifications, or who were in Supervisory positions, held Gold cards.
Tens of thousands of construction workers still have ‘Grandfather Rights’ CSCS Cards under the Industry Accreditation scheme.
Why Has Industry Accreditation Been Withdrawn?
In 2010, the use of employer references stopped and new CSCS Card applicants had to have the relevant NVQ for their trade, but previously issued Industry Accreditation based cards could still be renewed. (Provided the holder had continuously held the card and kept their CITB Health & Safety Test up to date.)
In 2015, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) decided there should be a single card scheme for the whole industry because with numerous differing schemes in place, it was impossible to maintain consistent standards of training – especially regarding safety on sites.
All cards would need to display the CSCS Logo and would be issued against recognised qualifications (usually NVQ’s/SVQ’s).
Because of problems with fake CSCS Cards, a hologram was introduced and the validity of cards can now be easily checked
In 2019, the CLC decided the industry needed to move to a fully qualified workforce and announced that CSCS Cards issued under the Industry Accreditation would no longer be renewed.
(This plan was overtaken by the arrival of the Covid pandemic because CSCS Card renewal periods were extended, but is now applying to people every month as their cards expire.)
The result is that people who have been in their trade for decades are now finding they need to get a qualification in order to renew their CSCS Cards – and unsurprisingly, many don’t know what they need to do.
(They’re also deeply unimpressed, because they’ve rightly got a huge amount of pride in their experience and skills, so the last thing they want to do is get the NVQ for a job they know how to do backwards.)
My ‘Grandfather Rights’ (Industry Accreditation) Have Gone – What Do I Need To Do?
Do You Need A CSCS Card?
There’s been quite a lot of confusion over the years about CSCS Cards and who needs them. At one stage, delivery drivers were having to get cards to drop off materials on some sites, which (given the requirements for getting a card, was ridiculous).
So the first thing to know is whether or not you actually need a CSCS Card. If you’re in one of the trades, generally you will, but there are lots of people who work occasionally on sites who do not need cards – See The List Here
I Need A CSCS Card – What Next?
You will need to get the relevant managerial qualification that meets your job description.
Download a list of the qualifications (and the relevant CITB Health & safety test you need to take) here.
You will need to get the NVQ Level 2 for the trade you are in.
SuperSkills can help you get this qualification – See Here
You will need to get the NVQ Level 3 in Occupational Work Supervision.
SuperSkills can help you get this qualification – See Here
You will need to get the NVQ Level 3 for the trade you are in.
You do not need to get the Level 2 before you take the Level 3.
SuperSkills provides a range of Level 3 NVQ’s – See Here
Do I Need To Go To College To Get My NVQ For The CSCS Card?
Simple answer – No – and it’s probably not in your interest to do so.
Beware the temptation to enrol on a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma programme.
For a start, you don’t need any training people have been giving you money to do your job for years.
You just need to get your skills assessed and demonstrate you’re working at Level 2/3.
Don’t accept ‘reassurances’ that the course you’re being offered is ‘equivalent to an NVQ’. It’s not.
NVQ’s have that in their title – for example, the Level 2 Diploma in Trowel Occupations (Bricklaying) is different to the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations (Bricklaying) and the major difference from your point of view is you can’t get a CSCS Card with a Diploma that isn’t an NVQ.
To obtain a National Vocational Qualification (that’s what NVQ stands for) your work must be assessed in the workplace.
So in all probability, you won’t have to be away from work at all.
How Will My Skills Be Assessed?
A combination of:
- Photos & videos of you working
- Knowledge questions and answers
- Witness Testimony (people in the trades confirming your skills)
- Professional Discussion (an interview about how you work)
How Much Will The NVQ Assessment Cost?
At SuperSkills, we keep our costs to a minimum and pass the savings on to our customers, so Level 2 NVQ’s are generally £775, and Level 3 NVQ’s £1150. Occupational Work Supervision Level 3 NVQ’s are £975. There’s an ‘Easy Payment Scheme’ and the fees are Tax-deductible. All our prices include VAT.
You may find other providers that look cheaper, but check for VAT and hidden ‘extras’ to calculate the real price. We have an expression “What we say is what you pay” if that helps.
Are Grants Available For The NVQ?
If your company is registered with the CITB, they will be eligible for Grant for qualification achievements.
The grants can be paid for both Direct (PAYE) and Indirect (Sub-Contracting) staff. You can see the CITB Grant Scheme here.
There are (very limited) grants that may be available from the Adult Education Budget managed by the Department For Education & Skills. (They are not applicable to non-classroom based qualifications.)
Unemployed people may also get financial support from the Department For Work & Pensions – if you’re on benefits, you will have a Work Coach and they should be your first point of contact.
SuperSkills is an approved contractor for DWP funding and we can offer advice about the support available from them and elsewhere.
If you are self-employed, or your employer is not registered with the CITB and will not pay for your assessment, the probability is the support you will receive will be limited to tax relief on the assessment fee.
How Long Will The NVQ Assessment Take?
Usually, NVQ Level 2 candidates with SuperSkills take about 4 – 6 weeks to send us all the evidence we need.
Some take longer, for personal or work-related reasons. A few have everything sorted within a month.
Level 3 NVQ’s take a little longer, but as with many things in life, if you get on with the assessment, it will be finished more quickly.
What If I Need A CSCS Card Right Now?
If you need a CSCS Card to get access to sites whilst you are being assessed, you can get a Red ‘Experienced Worker’ CSCS Card once you are registered for the qualification.
How Long Does The NVQ Remain Valid?
Once you’ve got your NVQ, you’re qualified to the Level (2 or 3) that it’s set at.
You will need to take the CITB Health Safety & Environment Test for Site Operatives every five years to keep your level of knowledge up to date.
That’s because the Test is updated based on the information that comes from accidents and incidents that occur on construction sites. When a new risk is identified, new/different questions are added to the Test.
Will I Need To Take The CITB Health Safety & Environment Test As Well As The NVQ?
If you haven’t passed the CITB Health Safety & Environment Test within the previous two years, you have to re-sit it to get a new CSCS Card.
This applies even if you are changing your CSCS Card whilst it still has time to run.
Don’t Forget – it’s important you book your Test directly through the CITB. There are websites that will charge you a ‘booking fee’ and we’ve heard of people paying over £50 for their CITB Test.
If you’re being asked for more than £22.50 – you’re on the wrong website!
Book through the CITB by following this link.
CSCS Labourer Card Courses
Bricklaying NVQ Courses at Level 2 and Level 3
Building Maintenance Courses at Level 2
Carpentry & Joinery NVQ Courses at Level 2 and Level 3
Door, Gate & Shutter NVQ Courses at Level 2
Dry Lining & Interior Systems NVQ Courses at Level 2
External Rendering NVQ Courses at Level 2
General Construction Operations NVQ Courses at Level 2
Multi-Trade NVQ Courses at Level 2
Occupational Work Supervision Courses at NVQ Level 3
Painting & Decorating NVQ Courses at Level 2 and Level 3
Plastering and Rendering NVQ Courses at Level 2 and Level 3
Roofing NVQ Courses at Level 2
Wall & Floor Tiling NVQ Courses at Level 2 and Level 3