Certification Scheme Cards – Which one do you need?

Construction contractors require proof that workers have the appropriate qualifications and training to carry out their jobs competently; this ensures that safety standards are met.

Most contractors will ask their workers for a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card, the leading skills certification scheme in the UK construction industry. However, depending on your field of work, you may be asked for or need a different card issued by one of the several Partner Card Schemes for specialist sectors in construction.

Partner Card Schemes have the same standard as CSCS. They all require cardholders to have a recognised qualification and pass a health and safety test. So, we’ve highlighted the specific card schemes you may need, depending on your role.


The ECS (Electrotechnical Certification Scheme) card is the occupational card scheme in the electrical industry for workers in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Scotland’s SJIB (Scottish Joint Industry Board) card is equivalent. You’ll be required to have the appropriate card for the area you intend to work.

Most electrical job advertisements for construction work typically ask for a CSCS card, but the ECS card is the card you actually need. A CSCS card alone won’t allow you to carry out electrical work.

The ECS card is sometimes referred to as a JIB card too, and this is because the JIB (Joint Industry Board) issues the ECS card.

You can find out more information or apply for an ECS card on their site.

Plumbing, Mechanical Engineering and related occupations

Plumbers, mechanical engineers, or anyone who works in a related occupation will need a JIB-PMES CSCS Registration Card in England and Wales or a SNIJIB card in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The JIB-PMES CSCS Registration Cards are based solely on the operatives’ qualifications. If the applicant has achieved NVQ/SVQ Level 2 or an equivalent qualification, they can only be issued a Blue Card, and if they have achieved a Level 3 qualification, they can apply for a Gold Card.

JIB-PMES CSCS Grades are in addition to registration and are based on experience and qualifications and are primarily used by JIB-PMES participant employers to determine pay, allowances, and other benefits. All Blue or Gold JIB-PMES CSCS Registration Cards have a Basic Grade, but if you meet the requirements, you can obtain ‘Advanced Grade’ or ‘Technician Grade’.

You can find out more information or apply for a JIB-PMES CSCS Registration Card on their site.

Welders and Joiners

A CSWIP identification card is what welders and joiners will require to work on site. CSWIP formally stood for Certification Scheme for Weldment Inspection Personnel. However, it now stands for Certification Scheme for Personnel.

The CSWIP Registration Scheme also includes membership with The Welding Institute, which provides various benefits and services to help your career development. You can find more information and contact TWI Certification Ltd on their site.


Labourers will need a Labourer CSCS Card, which requires you to have passed the CITB Operatives Health, Safety and Environment test within the last two years. You can find more information about getting your card on the CSCS site.

If you work in a specialised sector, such as landscaping, installation, utilities etc., you’ll likely need to obtain a Partner Card to work on a construction site, as they’re universal to your industry. You can find out which Partner Card Scheme you need by checking the list here.

If you’ve got the card you need and are ready to look for a new opportunity, check out our Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, General Construction, or Site Operational jobs. If you’re looking for any further advice about the different card schemes or support looking for your next role, get in touch with our team and they’ll be happy to help you.