CSCS cards go virtual

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has launched virtual CSCS cards and a new app.

The virtual CSCS card is the same as a plastic CSCS card but is stored within the My CSCS app on a smart phone or tablet (see image above).

Virtual cards provide the cardholder and their employer with instant access to the individual’s training and qualification records without needing to carry a physical card on site.

Alan O’Neile, CSCS head of communications, said: “This is a game changer for CSCS cards. The technology will improve safety and efficiency on construction sites by making it easier for the employer to check that workers hold the appropriate qualifications and training for the job they do on site.”

The virtual card is generated automatically and can be downloaded to the My CSCS app as soon as a CSCS card application is approved and payment is taken. The virtual card can then be used immediately on site before the traditional plastic card has arrived in the post.

Like the traditional plastic card, the virtual card should be electronically checked using the free Go Smart software to ensure that it is valid and confirms that the holder has the appropriate training and qualifications.

The My CSCS app is free to download and use and is available for Android and Apple devices.

O’Neile continued: “As well as storing the virtual card, the app has other benefits. Cardholders can view the status of their applications, manage their personal details and get in touch with our customer service team.”

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What was the spur for this development?

CSCS is continually looking for ways to improve the service we provide to the construction industry. Over the last couple of years our focus has been to move the services we provide online, to make them easier to access and to make them available 24/7.

Construction workers and their employers can now apply for, renew and manage their CSCS cards completely online. Applying online is considerably quicker and more convenient than applying over the telephone.

Online applications were something the industry had been asking for and we responded by developing a service specifically tailored to the needs of the industry. The new service went live in late 2019 and now we are pleased to report that more than 80% of card applications are made online.

Virtual CSCS cards are the next logical step in modernising the service. Similar ideas already exist in other sectors; you can now board a plane using a virtual boarding pass or sign a virtual contract over the internet. Furthermore, some CSCS Partner Card Schemes have already introduced their own virtual cards.

One of the key improvements here is the speed in which the virtual card is delivered, cutting card delivery time down from a few days for a traditional plastic card to a few moments for the virtual card.

Does the new development encompass all Partner Card schemes?

This new development relates to the CSCS scheme only, however a number of Partner Card Schemes, including TICA, ACAD, ARCA, GEA, CCDO and SICCS, already offer their own virtual cards.

How many CSCS cards are in circulation (including Partner Card schemes)?

There are currently 1,250,000 CSCS cards in circulation, as well as another 850,000 cards issued by CSCS’ Partner Card Schemes.

What will success look like for the app?

For CSCS, success for the new app and virtual cards would be positive feedback from the industry.

We hope that by the end of 2021 half of those applying for a physical CSCS card will also download their free virtual CSCS card use the My CSCS app.

As many CSCS cards are applied for by employers on behalf of their employees, we are asking these employers to encourage their workforce to download the app and start using the virtual card. In this way our cardholders and others in the industry will start to realise the increased efficiency and accessibility offered by the virtual card.

Do you envision a point when physical cards will become invalid?

There are currently no plans to withdraw physical CSCS cards. However, we must recognise that moving online and interacting virtually is the direction of travel for most businesses today. Should we reach a point where our cardholders are using virtual cards more than plastic cards, we will review our position. As with any change to the CSCS scheme, we will consult first and provide the industry with plenty of notice.

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