23rd April 2024

Understanding the Impact of the CSCS Grandfather Rights Scheme

You may be aware that CSCS cards have been a topic of discussion lately. We feel it is important to understand what the recent changes mean for you and how they could impact you and your business.

The end of the Grandfather Rights scheme means workers could lose their CSCS cards if they don’t have the right qualifications. This affects everyone from blue to black cardholders. It’s estimated around 60,000 site managers might lose their black CSCS cards because of this change.

Let’s take a closer look at these changes and how we can offer support.


What are CSCS Grandfather rights?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) was introduced to provide a means for experienced tradespeople to continue working.

In the past, workers could get a CSCS card based on a recommendation from an employer. Cards provided in this way were issued under Industry Accreditation (IA), or ‘grandfather rights’.


How have CSCS grandfather rights changed and what does this mean?

CSCS cards are now changing to help maintain an industry-wide national standard and to ensure all construction workers are fully qualified.

The process of acquiring CSCS cards through recommendations was discontinued by CSCS in 2010. In 2019, it was declared that from January 1st, 2020, all cards renewed under the Industry Accreditation would expire on December 31st, 2024.

Workers seeking to renew their card after December 2024 must hold the required qualification to obtain their CSCS card. This change aims to guarantee that all CSCS cardholders possess the essential qualifications and competencies to operate safely and effectively on construction sites.

Phasing out grandfather rights will lead to all construction workers holding the relevant qualification for the activities they perform, and so evidences their competence.


How do I know if this applies to me?

To check if this applies to you, just take a look at your card. If you originally secured your card via grandfather rights, the back of your card will contain the notation “industry accreditation”.


What Should I Do Now That CSCS ‘Grandfather Rights’ Are No Longer Valid?

If you’re a construction worker holding a CSCS card issued under IA, or if you manage a workforce with many workers holding such cards, they’ll need to obtain an NVQ before the grandfather rights end in 2024. With the conclusion of grandfather rights, it’s essential to acquire an NVQ in your chosen occupational field. If you’re working in a trade, you’ll likely need to obtain an NVQ to renew your CSCS card.


So, what’s an NVQ?

An NVQ, or National Vocational Qualification, is all about assessing the skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience you already have in your field. It’s not just about what you know in theory but also how well you can put it into practice. Basically, it’s a way to show that you’ve got what it takes to do your job well, based on real-life situations.


How Will My Skills Be Assessed?

NVQs are assessed on practical assignments and a portfolio of evidence that you build up. This can be 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)

You are assessed as being either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’.


How long does it take to complete an NVQ?

Candidates undertaking an NVQ have the flexibility to progress at their own pace, accommodating their training within their current work obligations. While level 2 NVQ’s in plant or trades can take a few weeks or months to complete, the more advanced levels such as 6 and 7 may take up to a year due to their heightened complexity and added work responsibilities.


Is their funding for completing my NVQ

Yes, if your company is registered with the CITB, they will be eligible for short qualification grants. The payment amount is dependent on the level of the NVQ.

The grants can be paid for both Direct (PAYE) and Indirect (Sub-Contracting) staff. You can see the CITB Grant Scheme here.

Unemployed people may also get financial support from the Department for Work & Pensions.

If you are self-employed or your employer isn’t registered with CITB and won’t cover your assessment costs, any assistance you’ll get will likely be restricted to tax relief on the assessment fee.

As a training provider ourselves, we can offer you payment options to make it easier to pay for the NVQ:

  • 50% Payment in advance (Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card)
  • Remaining fee on completion (Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card)
  • Please contact us to discuss payment plan options


If you would like to discuss anything further and find out how we can support you or your business contact us here.


How do I apply for my CSCS card?

Just register for an account at https://www.cscsonline.uk.com/ and click apply for CSCS card. You will need a copy of your NVQ and in-date touchscreen test to apply.