Frequently Asked Questions

All about Skillcards

Why should I register for a SKILLcard?

Many construction and site managers request that their workers hold a SKILLcard before coming on site. Engineering Services SKILLcard aims to provide you with the following benefits:      

  • access to many construction sites
  • industry-wide recognition of your skills, competence and qualifications  
  • improving your knowledge and awareness of workplace health and safety
  • enhancing your employment prospects
  • identifying your training needs, and the chance to develop and add to existing skills
  • confirmation of your professionalism - and differentiation from the industry 'cowboys'

 

What SKILLcards are available?

Click here to see the different types of SKILLcards.

 

Who can apply for a SKILLcard?

Anybody working in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry, including ductwork and other specialisms associated with the building engineering services industry - such as service and facilities, domestic heating and plumbing, and refrigeration and air conditioning. The scope of SKILLcard also covers those with supervisory and managerial responsibilities in the building engineering servicesindustry.

You do not have to be employed in order to register. You could be self-employed, an agency worker or unemployed.

Membership of the scheme is confirmed through the issue of an Engineering Services SKILLcard. Engineering Services SKILLcard is affiliated to the pan-industry Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The terms of affiliation ensure that Engineering Services SKILLcard complies with the requirements of CSCS. There is no need, therefore, for separate registration with CSCS.

 

How much does a SKILLcard cost?

Click here to see the current pricing.

 

Why has the cost of a SKILLcard changed?

SKILLcards have gone smart, bringing with it a whole host of benefits to cardholders and employers, including saving time on site administration.

Health, Safety & Environment test

Why do I need to take a H,S&E test?

The Construction Skills Health, Safety and Environment test is the main way to satisfy the health & safety requirements of SKILLcard. The test is designed to give everybody working on site a minimum level of health & safety awareness, although there are a few exceptions.

You can’t apply for a SKILLcard without a valid Health and Safety certification.

 

Which test do I need to take?

The test you need to take depends on the type of card you’re applying for. You can find out more here.

 

Are there any exemptions?

You can find more about exemptions on our Health, Safety and Environment test page.

 

How much does the test cost?

The test costs £19.50 +VAT.

 

How do I book a test?

You can book a test online or through the booking hotline on 0344 994 4488 (lines are open Monday-Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm). You will need to have to hand:

  1. Your full name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number
  2. Which test you’d like to book, you can find more information in the table here. The test costs £19.50, and you can make payment over the phone by credit or debit card

 

Where can I take my test?

There are approved centres throughout the country.

 

Can I buy a revision guide?

There are many revision guides available:

  • The Health, Safety & Environment Test for Operatives and Specialists (including supervisors)
  • The Health, Safety & Environment Test for Managers and Professionals
  • A revision download including simulated test
  • Test revision apps, available for both Operatives and Specialist, and Managers and Professionals test. They are available to download from the Apple Store and Google Play, for more details see the CITB website

For more details on revision guides, including up to date prices, click here

Qualifications and training

What qualifications do I need to apply for a SKILLcard?

That depends on your occupation. You can find out more here.

               

I’m a member of a professional body. Do I still need an SVQ/NVQ/QCF qualification?

If your professional body is recognised by SKILLcard (find out more here), you can apply for a SKILLcard through the Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) route.

Applying for a SKILLcard

How do I know which SKILLcard to apply for?

You can use our card finder to help work out which card is right for you.

 

Can I apply online or over the phone?

We are hoping to offer online applications soon, but at the moment you will need to complete and return an application form via post or email.

 

My card is due to expire soon. How do I renew it?

Renewing your SKILLcard is quick and easy. We will send out a renewal pack when your card is around 8 weeks from expiry, containing all the information you need.

Read more on the renew / replace your card page.

 

Why should I renew my SKILLcard?

Your SKILLcard is your licence to work. You can use it to prove to employers that you have the skills, qualifications and experience to do your job well, and  safely. So it’s more important than ever to keep it up to date.

 

My card is lost or stolen. How do I replace it?

All you need to do is complete a replacement SKILLcard form, which you can download here. The fee to replace your SKILLcard is £40.00. 

 

I’ve recently been awarded a new qualification. How do I add that to my SKILLcard?

If you would like to update your card with a newly completed qualification or course, you will need to send us a copy of your certificate by email or post. We will update your SKILLcard electronically at no cost. The new information will then be added to the information held by the card's chip when it is next read.

If you wish to replace your SKILLcard and have the updated qualification or course appear in writing on the back of your card, you will need to complete an upgrade/update application form (download one here), then return it to us with the appropriate fee.

 

How do I know which type of photograph to include with my application?

If you are sending a photograph with your application please make sure that it meets the following criteria.

Photographs must be:

  • in colour
  • printed on plain white photographic paper
  • taken against a plain cream or light grey background
  • clear and in focus
  • no more than two years old
  • without any tears or creases
  • unaltered by computer software

The image must:

  • show a close-up of full head and shoulders without any other objects or people
  • be between 29mm and 34mm high from the crown to the chin

The photograph must show the applicant:

  • facing forward and looking straight at the camera
  • with a neutral expression and mouth closed
  • without anything covering the face
  • in clear contrast to the background
  • without a head covering (unless worn for religious or medical reasons)
  • with eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses
  • with your eyes not covered by sunglasses, tinted glasses, glasses frames or hair
  • without any 'red eye'

Most passport photograph booths will adhere to these guidelines.

 

How long will it take to receive my SKILLcard?

Providing you meet the criteria, we aim to have your card with you within 10-15 working days.

 

How do I report a suspected fraudulent card?

    1. Retain the card if possible
    2. Make photocopies of front and back
    3. Record cardholder’s name and address
    4. Ask cardholder where the card was obtained from
    5. Call the local police and report the matter
    6. Refuse access to site (subject to company rules)
    7. Forward copies of all evidence to Engineering Services SKILLcard, Old Mansion House, Eamont Bridge, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2BX marked “SUSPECTED FRAUDULENT CARD” with details of the crime number given by local police.

SKILLcard will fully support any prosecution with technical and factual evidence.

 

What do I do if I change occupation?

You may need to change the type of SKILLcard you hold. Use our card finder to check, or if you have any questions just get in touch with our helpdesk: 01768 860406, skillcard.info@theBESA.com.

Smartcards

Why have SKILLcards gone smart?

There are many benefits to using smart cards. They can help save time on site (by making it easier to check the validity of a card), hold a worker’s qualifications and training in one place, and reduce the use of fake cards.

For more information, see our smart SKILLcards page.

 

Who is responsible for checking smartcards?

This will normally be the site or construction manager.

 

Do I need an internet connection to read smart SKILLcards?

No, although we would strongly recommend it. If you check a card offline, the system will return to you all the data that is stored on the card only.

By checking online, the software will access our database to return much more information.

 

Where can I download the apps and software needed to read smartcards?

These are available on our downloads pageBefore you attempt to read a smartcard, please make sure Near Field Communications (NFC) is active on your device.

 

Which card readers can be used to read a smart SKILLcard from a laptop?

Before purchasing check that the readers you choose are PC/SC accordant conforming to protocol T=0 (contact interface) or T=CL (contactless interface) or you will not be able to read smart SKILLcards.

The SKILLcard SmartCard is a dual interface card, which means it can be read using a contact reader (one where the card is inserted into a slot in the reader), or a contactless reader (one where the card is simply placed on the outside surface of the reader). Contactless readers cost slightly more but read SmartCards more quickly. 

Before a reader can be used, it will be necessary to install special gosmart software on to your PC or laptop, and you may also need to load a driver that comes with the reader. The gosmart software is downloadable free of charge here.

Once the software is running, all that remains is to plug the reader into your computer and insert the card.

 

How do I use the gosmart software once I’ve installed it?

  1. Ensure that you have correctly installed the gosmart software and that the appropriate drivers for your Smartcard reader are also correctly installed.
  2. Make sure the gosmart software is running. You should be able to see the gosmart logo in the system tray in the lower right hand corner of your screen.
  3. Place the SKILLcard SmartCard on/in your card reader.

Note: If you are using a Contact reader, please make sure the card is inserted the correct way around.

Your screen will display the cardholder’s photo and a card image on the left and the cardholder’s details on the right. The card reading mode is indicated in the top left hand corner of the window.

 

How do I check a smart SKILLcard?

Find out more on our ‘check a card’ page here.

 

I'm using Windows 7 and when I present a CSCS smartcard, Windows prompts me to install a driver. Why is this? 

This is because under Windows 7, Microsoft has implemented Plug and Play support for SmartCards. You can either simply ignore or dismiss the prompt to install a driver, or alternatively you can disable the SmartCard Plug and Play service by following the instruction below.

To disable SmartCard Plug and Play service on Windows 7.

1. On the Windows 7 computer, click Start, type gpedit.msc in the Search programs and files box, and then press ENTER.
2. In the console tree under Computer Configuration, click Administrative Templates.
3. In the details pane, double-click Windows Components, and then double-click Smart Card.
4. Right-click Turn on Smart Card Plug and Play service, and then click Edit.
5. Click Disabled, and then click OK.
6. You will need to reboot your machine for the changes to take effect.

For enterprise deployments, SmartCard Plug and Play can be disabled by deploying a Group Policy. For information about administrative templates, see (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=152390).

Further information about windows 7 and smartcard Plug and Play can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979547(WS.10).aspx 

 

I have a SKILLcard without smart technology. Is it still valid?

Yes. We’re phasing smartcards in. All SKILLcards produced after mid October will be smart, and you’ll receive one when you next renew or update your card. Until then, please continue to use your current card.

 

What is the technical specification of the smartcard used by CSCS?

It is a dual interface JCOP31 36KB Javacard with 1k Mifare.

 

What do I do if I’m checking a smartcard and it’s not working?

The card might not be genuine. Try following these steps:

  • Check the go smart software is running properly. Try closing it down and restarting
  • If you’re checking from a smartphone or tablet, check that NFC (near field communication) is enabled. Your phone manufacturer will be able to help you with this. Please note that the gosmart software is not compatible with Apple products.
  • If you’re still having trouble, it maybe that the card is not genuine. Call our helpdesk on 01768 860406.

 

Why isn’t the Gosmart software compatible with iPhones?

The Gosmart software uses technology called Near Field Communications (NFC). Both Android and Windows phones use this technology, so are compatible with the software. Unfortunately, Apple products do not support NFC at this time.

 

Where can I buy a smartcard reader for my laptop/PC?

CSCS have an approved supplier for laptop card readers, you can find out more here.

General

I have a media or press related query. Who can I contact?

Please contact Laura Ridley:

laura.ridley@thebesa.com

01768 860 481.

occupations available

Find out which areas of work are covered by SKILLcard.

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cards available

See what SKILLcards are available, and find the one for you.

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how to apply

All you need to apply for your SKILLcard.

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