CSCS Card for the Archaeologist

6 Dec

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme was set up in the mid to late 1990’s to help raise the level of health and safety awareness and demonstrate occupational competency in the construction industry.  Primarily aimed at workers in the construction industry at all levels, there has also been a recognised need for archaeologists who work on, or near, construction sites to possess a CSCS card.  It is now often a condition for employment by archaeological companies in the UK to include CSCS card accreditation in the ‘desired’ or ‘essential’ criteria for prospective field archaeological job applicants, although companies will often sponsor a candidate through the process if they already work for the unit.

Individuals who take the test must undergo a Health, Safety and Environmental exam to demonstrate their competency, and depending on the type of card applied for, may also undergo other exams.  The 2009 online BAJR Guide 28 deals with the ‘CSCS Card for Archaeologists’, helping to highlight the relevant information needed to take the test.  A change in the testing of CSCS applicants from April 2012 means that there are added elements to the exam.  This includes a behavioural module, where the candidate will be tested on a lifelike situation in which candidates will be tested on their reaction to an unfolding case study.

Although there are a range of CSCS cards aimed at the general workman to the specialist and managers (such as the Black and Red cards), the field archaeologist will only need the White/Grey Card, which is a general construction relation occupation card.  The CSCS card is valid for 5 years, and after that period a re-test is needed.  In the UK the test and the certification to gain the CSCS card currently costs £30, although archaeological units are often willing to pay this administration fee, and, if you are jobseekers allowance, the job centre can in some circumstances help to fund the cost for the test.

An example of the White CSCS card.

An example of the White CSCS card.

The CSCS test can be organised via your local council, and whilst revision materials can be found online (although they are quite limited) it is best to either loan or to buy a specific manual to revise from.  To strengthen your application for archaeological jobs in this competitive market, it is highly recommended that you gain this certification, as a well as a full clean driving licence.  Although a part of the industry will see the the rise of the CSCS as an encroachment of health and safety legislature, it has helped to raise the standards of health and safety across the board- undoubtedly helping to prevent accidents and save lives.

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5 Responses to “CSCS Card for the Archaeologist”

  1. girlwitharockhammer January 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I’ve signed up to do the CITB test at the end of this month to get my CSCS. Thankfully a relative of mine had access to a book on the revision so i’ve not had to splash out on that! Test costs around £17 and the card around £30. The Job Centre originally said they would be able to help with this…they lied unless I wanted to do a four week course on plumbing, plastering etc! so have had to do this myself. Fingers crossed it help get me a digging job 🙂

    • These Bones Of Mine January 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      I can’t believe they didn’t help you pay for it! In my hometown they helped me no problem, and they funded another friend for the test as well. I have heard from a friend who lives in Lincolnshire that the job centre wouldn’t fund her either though, so it is up to the whims of the job centre’s. You’ll be fine, it is an easy test, just remember those fire extinguishers! I did my test last month and finished it in 10 minutes and passed it (thankfully). Good luck finding a digging job, just send that CV out to every unit 😀 I know units have hired a fair amount recently.

    • These Bones Of Mine January 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Also love your crafts website, some lovely doodles on there!

  2. Emily.Archaeology.Evans February 21, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Congrats on getting your card Dave! 😀 Lets hope you get a chance to use it! I will probably never use mine again… hence why you should always try to get your employer/local organisation to fund it!

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