Keep up to date with everything IIB, sign up to our mailing list

Thank you for signing up to our mailing list.

Please fill out all required fields

First Name

Last Name



Construction Skills Certification | Irish in Britain

Having problems getting site managers to recognise an Irish safety certificate? This page contains advice and support for you.

Are you having problems with your CSCS and are you willing to share your experiences? We need examples to tackle the issue – if you are willing to share email us here.

Advice workers at the Luton Irish Forum have reported a growing problem of young construction workers finding their Irish qualifications not accepted on English sites. Regulations are complex, but we see no reason why cards issued in Ireland cannot be recognised here. To make the case for construction companies or government–funded bodies to address this issue, we need to find out where the problem lies. If you know of someone refused work, it would help to know when this happened, the contractor concerned, which card was presented and what card was asked for. Read on for background.


If you hold a valid SOLAS CSCS Plant Operator Card, you can apply for the equivalent blue CPCS Plant Operators Card.

To apply for this certification you must:

  • Hold a valid SOLAS CSCS Registration Card in the relevant category.

  • Complete a CPCS Skills and Experience Interview and Theory Test in the relevant category.

  • Have completed the Construction Skills Health, Safety and Environment test within the previous two years.

The CPCS theory test, Skills and Experience Interview and Construction Skills Health, Safety and Environment test are available at the Mount Lucas Training Facility.

For further information and booking forms, please contact:

Mount Lucas Construction Training Facility, Mount Lucas, Daingean, Co. Offaly

Phone: [057] 9362508


The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) was established to help the industry improve standards and reduce accidents. It has the full backing of safety campaigners in the construction workers union, UCATT, who support a fully qualified workforce on a “carded” scheme. The CSCS applies across the whole of the UK but in Northern Ireland, it is known as the Construction Skills register (CSR).

All town centre sites registered under the Considerate Contractors Scheme are now required to declare the percentage of workers holding CSCS cards and record details both of site operatives and visitors.

To apply for a CSCS smart card (cost £30), workers must demonstrate their occupational competence. They will also be expected to have passed a basic CSCS Health & Safety Environment Test. This can be done at an accredited test centre. (cost £17.50)The old Green “labourers’ Card that would get you onto a site was considered widely abused and has been phased out. From August 2014, a green card would only be recognised if a labourer had done training on preventing accidents, safe manual handling, working at height, hazardous substances and on–site safety. Completion of a training course would lead to a Level 1 qualification.

A CSCS test proves your competence in health and safety to your employers. You need to pass this test to get a CSCS card that demonstrates your construction skills and is needed to get on site.

“Construction Support line” advertises an “expert customer support team” to arrange your test booking at a time and test centre location that is right for you. An on–line application form lets you book the CSCS test and apply for a card in one “hassle free package”. 



In Ireland, the old National Training and Employment Authority known as FÁS– has been shut down and replaced by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority.

SOLAS has taken over running the Irish version of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). This provides for the training, certification and registration of non–craft operatives in the sector. To work in many occupational categories you are legally required to hold a SOLAS CSCS Registration Card. (This includes plant, scaffolding, roofing, roadworks, mobile access towers and shotfiring.)

CSCS Programmes are delivered by Solas approved training organisations. To find an Approved Training Organisation click here.

For further information about the CSCS Scheme contact the CSCS/QSCS Support Unit on 00 353 1 607 0500


SOLAS also maintains the Safe Pass Health and Safety Awareness Training Programme. This aims to ensure that all workers in construction have a basic knowledge of health and safety, and be able to work on–site without being a risk to themselves or others. From a health and safety perspective, construction workers are now bound by law to hold a valid Safe Pass card.

Safe Pass is a one day safety awareness programme aimed at construction workers. The aims of the programme are to raise the standard of safety awareness in the construction industry and that all construction workers after completing the one day awareness programme can make a positive contribution to the prevention of accidents and ill health while working on the site.

Click here to find out more about SOLAS

Click here to find out more about HSA for Safe Pass training


In July 2013, the Irish Construction Industry Federation advised its members that an Interim Agreement had been reached between the then FAS (now SOLAS) and CITB UK (Construction Industry Training Board) for the exchange of FAS CSCS and CPCS Plant Operations Cards. The agreement puts in place a process allowing those who hold the relevant cards in one jurisdiction to obtain the appropriate card for working in the other country.

In the past FAS and CPCS had operated a mutual recognition of each other’s registration cards but for reasons not immediately clear this broke down in December 2012 when each organisation stopped recognising the training cards of the other This prevented Irish construction workers from carrying out their jobs both Ireland and the UK. Industry heads hope the new agreement provides a solution to this problem but this is where it gets crazy. The following are the steps that need to be taken to secure the correct training cards.


Can I transfer a UK Competent Operator Card to a SOLAS CSCS Experienced Operator Card?

From the 1 January 2021 individuals seeking recognition of UK qualifications in order to acquire CSCS or QSCS cards will be subject to the same conditions as all other third country applications. Therefore, applicants seeking recognition of their UK qualification are required to submit a detailed CV, including reference(s) from previous employers confirming the applicant's work experience, a copy of their valid operator’s card and associated certification to SOLAS, as the Competent Authority, to:

Note: Please be advised as the Competent Authority, SOLAS will review all UK qualification recognition applications on an individual basis. Subsequent review decisions will be determined by the standard of training, certification and work experience of an applicant. Review decisions may vary with some applicants required to successfully undertake and complete a CSCS or QSCS theoretical and or practical assessment(s), while other applicants may need to participate and successfully complete a CSCS or QSCS programme.

As SOLAS does not currently have agreement with awarding bodies in the UK, SOLAS is unable to offer a comparable qualification exchange process. In this regard SOLAS has contacted NOCON (previously CITB) to explore the potential for an agreed comparable qualification exchange process. SOLAS will update this statement when the discussion between NOCON and SOLAS have been agreed and finalised.


In December 2013, the Traveller Movement in partnership with the Construction Youth Trust won funding to run an extremely rewarding construction course for 16–24 year–old Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. The young men who took part were motivated by the chance to get the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card which is now essential for anyone who wishes to work on any construction site.

The report points out that children and young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities may often have limited opportunities to gain basic literacy and numeracy skills and are disadvantaged in developing the knowledge and skills required for employment. Young Travellers may be marginalised and suffer prejudice and discrimination in schools and in the wider community. Poor literacy skills may also feed into the prejudiced attitudes towards them, if they attempt to gain paid employment.

“For men traditionally, these trades could be in the construction industries; for example, fencing, paving, roofing tarmacing, general construction, painting and decorating, dealing in scrap metal, plumbing and tree surgery. Historically, informal ‘apprenticeships’ have taken place ‘on the job’ within the extended family. But opportunities for informally managed self employment are diminishing. Potential clients may be affected by the recession or may be wary of taking on workers without formal qualifications. “

“Increasingly, Traveller families recognise the need for formal qualifications but low literacy levels are often a barrier. In the area of apprenticeships and routes into sustainable employment, opportunities are limited.” Irish Travellers are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable ethnic groups – encountering barriers to employment through, education, opportunity, skills, racism and prejudice.”

Last Updated: 7/1/22