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How To Get A Job In Construction In The UK?

Henryk Jakubiak

Henryk Jakubiak

Co-Founder, Fixed

At Fixed we want to make finding work in construction as easy as ordering a Deliveroo or an Uber because we know at the moment that’s far from how things are, even for the most highly skilled and most well-connected people. We also want to lower barriers to entering the industry as much as possible and encourage new entrants to the market from school, college, university or even from other industries. There are so many opportunities the construction industry has to offer, no matter who you are and what your background is and at Fixed we want to empower you to take control of your career in construction. In this article, we are breaking down the requirements for working in construction into a few clear steps and hope this will help you understand what’s needed to start your career in the industry.

First thing’s first, in order to work in construction in the UK, you need to have a UK passport, pre-settled or settled status or a skilled worker visa. The skilled worker visa requires you to have secured a skilled role before you can apply for the visa. See more about the process here.

If you are coming from overseas and have skills, qualifications or work experience transferable to areas of the construction industry you can contact UK ENIC who can review your qualification an decide which UK qualification it is equivalent to.

Next you need a CSCS card in order to work in the industry – there are different cards that qualify you for different roles and they reflect the different occupations and qualifications in construction. We’ve included some more detail on the various CSCS cards below and how to get your hands on one of those, but once you have that, you are all set and can start work in the construction industry! Next it’s time to sign up to Fixed – signing up only takes 5 minutes and doesn’t require a CV!

Open up our website: www.fixedconstruction.co.uk and click on the ‘Find me a job’ button to create a profile. Choose your language – we’re currently live in English, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian and Polish – and then answer a few short questions on your experience and work preferences. We’ve built this process for it to be as quick and painless as possible for you to start receiving relevant job opportunities once you’ve submitted your details.

Demystifying CSCS Cards:

Green: Labourer Card (valid for 5 years) – This is the entry level card and if you haven’t yet got any construction qualifications this is the one for you. This card will grant to access to site and is meant for people who carry out labouring duties. I would say that it is not limited to that, as when I started out as an assistant engineer, I was on the green card. It’s not possible to renew a Labourer card, but you can apply for a new card when it expires. Usually after 5 years in the industry you will have a higher qualification for example an NVQ level 2, etc.

In order to apply for the Green CSCS Card, you need to meet one of the following qualifications:

  • CITB Health Safety and Environment Test for operatives
  • Level 1 award in a construction environment

This sounds daunting but don’t worry, it isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. The most common route to get this card is to do the CITB health, safety and environment test which can be done in one day. You can book this here.

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Red: Temporary Card (valid between 6 months and 5 years) – Red CSCS cards are temporary cards. There are 5 different types:

  • Apprentice
  • Experienced Technical, Supervisor or Manager
  • Experienced Worker
  • Trainee Card
  • Industry Placement Card

For apprentices, workers and managers, the red card you receive will expire when your training/ studying finishes. As it expires, you will be able to apply for a new card in the colour which matches your new qualifications.

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Blue Card – Skilled Workers (valid for 5 years) – You can apply for this card if you have either:

  • CITB Health Safety and Environment Test for Operatives, Specialist or Managers & Professionals (passed in last two years)
  • Level 2 NVQ or SVQ
  • NARIC report and certificate equivalent to NVQ level 2
  • Apprenticeship that is sponsored by employers

If you don’t have these qualifications but have experience in your job, you should apply for an Experience Worker (Red) card.

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Gold Card – Skilled Workers (valid for 5 years) – The gold CSCS card is a recognition of advanced skills. You need one to work as a supervisor on-site. There are two types of gold card:

  • Gold Skilled Worker
  • Supervisory

If you have achieved any of the following qualifications, you may apply for a gold CSCS card:

  • Level 3 (occupational work supervisor) or level 4 (site supervisor) NVQ or SVQ
  • A completed and indentured apprenticeship with NJCBI, BATJIC or other certified organisations of the same class
  • A completed employer-sponsored apprenticeship, including the achievement of a City and Guilds of London Institute Advanced Craft Certificate.

CSCS gold cards last for 5 years and must be renewed before they expire. If your card has expired, you’ll be pleased to know there is a 6-month grace period.

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Black Card – Manager (valid for 5 years) – This card is available for manager and technical occupations (e.g., project manager, site manager, etc.). Construction firms need to demonstrate that they are compliant to Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) by making sure that employees are skilled and can carry out their roles safely. Being a black card holder makes you a CDM compliant employee. A black managers card is also a pathway to CIOB membership which is a recognised professional construction platform.

Applicants need to meet the following requirements:

  • CITB Health Safety and Environment Test for Managers and Professionals within the last 2 years
  • Experience in managing within the construction field
  • High-level qualifications related to construction (e.g., NVQ/SVQ level 4, 5, 6, or 7 within a Construction Management/Technical related subject)
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White Card – (Valid for 5 years) – There are two types of cards in this category:

  • Professionally Qualified Person Card
  • Academically Qualified Person Card

This card is available for competence assessed members of CSCS approved Professional Bodies.  Or to those who have completed certain construction related degrees, HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates and NEBOSH diplomas, respectively.

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Once you have your CSCS card, you are ready to start looking for roles. At Fixed we are helping construction workers find jobs in the industry and giving you more transparency over what opportunities are available to you – sign up to our platform today so we can start sending you relevant opportunities that match your skills. https://www.fixedconstruction.co.uk

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