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Building your skills

It's important to keep your skills up-to-date in any job. Things are always changing in construction and if you're not learning new skills it can be harder to build your career or move into a new job.

Cross-skilling and upskilling

Cross-skilling is when you get your skills ready, or learn some new ones, for a different type of job. You start to think about how your training can help you in another type of role and how you can build on it to make you a better choice for employers.

How to improve your skills

There are lots of ways to build new skills and the ones you choose will depend on your goals. If you work in a trade or want to start, apprenticeships can be a good choice. Or you might decide to get chartered to boost your earnings in a profession like quantity surveying.

Accredited training

Some types of training might not be a good fit for an apprenticeship. You might want to improve your communication skills, need training with certain machinery, learn about site safety or get some management skills. This is where accredited training comes in.

Accredited training will be recognised by the whole construction industry. Groups like the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) can help you with this. You may also be able to have 'unaccredited training' which is still useful but might not be recognised by everyone.

Did you know...


The world's first iron bridge was built in Shropshire, England in 1779 and is still in use today.

In-house training

You don't have to go outside of your work to up-skill. It's worth checking what type of training your employer offers. Try asking your supervisor or HR department for more information.

Industry Qualifications

The industry uses vocational qualifications (NVQs in England and Wales, SVQs in Scotland) as the benchmark standard for people to show their competence in an occupation. These qualifications ensure individuals have reached the standard needed to apply for their Industry Competency Card.

View the full range of these occupational standards

Industry skill certification / competency cards 

Card schemes prove that you have the right skills and training in a particular area of construction. The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is the most well-known of these, but others are available.  

There are several types of CSCS cards and the one that you apply for depends on the work you’ll be doing and the NVQs or SVQs that you hold. See a full list of the main schemes

There are two ways of getting a CSCS card. You can apply directly by following the steps and paying a small fee, or your employer may be able to take care of this for you.

If you have qualifications apart from NVQs or SVQs and can’t get a CSCS card, the SKILLcard or SCORE card can be a good alternative.

Health, safety and environment test

Before you can apply for a CSCS card, SKILLcard or SCORE card you’ll need to have passed a health, safety and environment test in the past two years. This ensures you know how to stay safe on site while keeping others safe. There are four types of this test, including operative, labourer, specialist, and managers/ professionals. The one you take depends on the type of job you’ll be doing and the CSCS card you’re applying for.

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