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 services industry.

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 a partner of the pan-industry Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The terms of the partnership ensures that Engineering Services SKILLcard complies with the requirements of CSCS. There is no need, therefore, for separate registration with CSCS.

A trainee signed up to an approved apprenticeship route within our sector OR enrolled onto a qualification or training programme requiring a minimum of 30 days’ work placement including T Levels, Traineeships, Foundation and Progression Qualifications (Wales) and Sandwich Degrees within our sector.

How much does a SKILLcard cost?

The Trainee card is FREE.

All other SKILLcard’s cost £40.00 exc VAT.


H&S Test

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

The BESA Online H&SE test or the CITB HS&E 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.

The BESA H&SE test cannot be used for Managerial/Supervisory/PQP SKILLcards.

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 H&S Test.


How much does the test cost?

The BESA H&SE test costs £23.40 inc VAT and is taken online.

The CITB test costs £22.00 inc VAT and is taken at one of the approved centres throughout the country


How do I book a test?

You can book an online BESA test here


You can book a test at a CITB test centre here or through the booking hotline 0344 994 4488


Can I buy a revision guide?

BESA offer an online course prior to taking their test or you can take the test only.

CITB have revision material including apps and simulated tests, for more details see the CITB Website.

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.


How do I apply?

For new, renewal and replacements (lost cards), you can find out more about applying online here. For updates and upgrades please use the downloadable form here.


What if my occupation has been withdrawn and deemed non-construction related but site managers are still asking for a card?

SKILLcards are intended for construction related occupations only. If your occupation is not listed on Find the Right card or covered by a Partner Card Scheme, then your occupation may not be considered to be construction related. 

Due to the wide range of skills required on construction projects, there are times when a worker arrives on site to perform a non-construction related activity, for example catering staff, cleaners, delivery drivers etc. These individuals are not construction workers and SKILLcard does not issue cards for these kinds of occupations. It is the responsibility of site managers to induct and escort non-construction related personnel to ensure they remain safe at all times when on site. 

If you do not work in a construction related occupation on a construction site then you do not need a SKILLcard card. 

The decision not to issue CSCS cards for non-construction related occupations is fully supported by the CLC announcement that not everyone needs a card to gain access to site, and that cards should only be issued to those working in a construction related occupation.

Should your entry to site be refused by a contractor because you do not hold a SKILLcard card, please direct them to this webpage.

You can read more about CRO closure here.


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

Renewing your SKILLcard is quick and easy. 

We will send you a reminder by email when your card is around 12 weeks from expiry, containing all the information you need.

You can find out more about renewing your SKILLcard online here.


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?

You can find out more about replacing your SKILLcard online here.


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?


Photographs must be:

  • be clear, in focus and in colour
  • Be a close-up of your full head and upper shoulders
  • contain no other objects or people in the background
  • be in one of the following file types: jpg / png / jpeg / bmp / gif
  • be no more than 4MB in size

You must:

  • be facing forward and looking straight at the camera
  • have your eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses
  • not have hair in front of your eyes
  • hot have a head covering (unless it is for religious or medical reasons)
  • not have anything covering your face

Your application may be delayed if your photo does not meet 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 5-10 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. Email copies of all evidence to 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,

CSCS Smart Check App

What is CSCS Smart Check?

CSCS Smart Check is an app that can be used to check SKILLcards on site. It is not an app for individuals to store details of their cards, like My CSCS, MyECS or Smart PAL.

The free app gives users a simple solution to check all CSCS Partner Scheme cards in one place. Rather than separate apps, web portals and call centres, CSCS Smart Check means all sites and projects can undertake checks to assess if people are qualified and competent for their role when entering a project.


Will I need a new SKILLcard to be able to use the CSCS Smart Check app?

No. Please continue to use your existing SKILLcard, provided it is in-date and valid. It will be compatible with the app even if it doesn’t have any Smart Technology (NFC, Chip or QR code). Those that are not smart will have the option of using a manual entry check.


Does CSCS Smart Check replace Go Smart or other card checking technology?

Initially CSCS Smart Check will be a standalone application incompatible with existing card checking systems such as Go Smart and other site entry systems such as turnstiles and desktop card readers.

There will be no immediate impact on existing card checking operations and employers can continue to use their existing card checking systems if required. Further updates are expected to integrate existing access control systems over time. While there will be a period of transition, and multiple systems running concurrently, all sites are expected and encouraged to migrate to the new app over time.


What should I do if the app isn't working?

Should you encounter technical problems with CSCS Smart Check, please follow the instructions within the app’s support page. This can be found within the app itself or via the CSCS website here. 


Why are SKILLcards 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 (

Further information about windows 7 and smartcard Plug and Play can be found here: 


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.


How can I contact SKILLcard?

Please contact

01768 860 406

occupations available

Find out which areas of work are covered by SKILLcard.


apply online here

Find out how to apply, renew or replace your SKILLcard online.


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


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