Booking your CSCS Test as an Ecologist

As ecologists, many of us will be undertaking work on active construction sites and/or pre-construction phase sites. Although not a statutory requirement, you will find many contractors and construction clients insist that those people attending their sites hold the appropriate CSCS card for the work they are undertaking, particularly if not being escorted.

You know you need this card, but how do you go about getting one?

Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t find it easy to research about the CSCS card and how to go about getting one, the right one and taking the right test. People thought this and that, things had changed, colleagues had been booked in for the wrong tests in the past… no one was really sure. So I thought I’d write a quick go-to blog to help make it clearer for ecologists and alike to understand the CSCS system.

What is a CSCS card?

For all of us that sit within “landbased” industries, the Landbased Industry Skills Scheme (LISS) and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) jointly manage a framework for skills development and progression in the workplace through a structured card scheme. LISS/CSCS is administered by BALI (British Association of Landbased Industries).

In a nutshell, a CSCS card provides proof to the client that individuals working on construction sites have undertaken the required training to enable safe and appropriate site behaviour. Different cards are required for different types of site work.

In order to obtain a full operational card, the minimum requirement is the ROLO Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness Course and the CITB Touch Screen Test appropriate to your card level.

What are the different CSCS card types and levels?

This was a question banded around the office on many occasion… which card do I actually need? What does each card mean?

Don’t bother searching for the different card types on the CSCS website, this will merely tell you: “This occupation is now covered by the Landbased Industry Sector Scheme (LISS) – more information can be found at”

You need to head over to the BALI site where they have a dedicated page for the LISS-CSCS framework. Select, ‘Ecology & Environmental Management‘ from the list. Here, you will see the range of cards and colours depending on your current situation. You are probably going to be looking at the white cards if you are either academically or professionally qualified.

If you are at all confused as to which one you may fit under, it’s worth calling BALI on T: 024 7669 0333. I was confused about whether I should get the red TRAINEE one for those with a graduate level membership of CIEEM, or the Academically Qualified (I have an MSc and BSc), I was advised on both and decided to go for the Academically Qualified card. They are very helpful and can assist with any queries you may have.

How do you book your CSCS card?

All cards for landbased industries are required to successfully achieve the CITB Touch Screen Test appropriate to their card level. In addition, all are required to attend and pass the ROLO Heath & Safety Awareness Course, with the exception of Visitors.

The Scheme’s application processing, testing and contact centres are delivered under contract by CITB. Once you have either self-determined which card you need, or spoken with BALI to verify, you can click on the card via the website and it should assist you with your bookings. Alternatively, you can book your test directly through CITB and with a centre local to you, here: 

The CITB test will last for 45 minutes with 50 multiple choice questions. The test is taken under strict test conditions. You will have 12 behavioural case study questions and 38 knowledge questions. I highly recommend the new revision app. This can be downloaded for only £5.99 and is a fantastic revision tool, with the ability to track your learning progress, test yourself and read through all possible test questions. Be sure to choose the correct app, however – this is likely to be the Managers and Professionals (MAP) so search for CITB MAP HS&E test 2016. Make sure you get the test with the CITB logo.

The ROLO is a full day training session with a straightforward test at the end, going over everything you have learnt that day. You will then receive your certificate in the post if you successfully pass. You can book this by searching for a local approved ROLO trainer or by speaking to BALI direct. You may also have a list of ‘approved suppliers’ if you work for a large organisation.

Applying for the CSCS card

When you have completed your ROLO and Touch Screen Test you will need to download the application form here and send it back to BALI with the below checklist – LISS/CSCS Application Form

Checklist of what you need to send with your application form:

  • Provide proof of valid current membership of your professional body
  • Copy of ROLO Health & Safety Certificate (within the last two years).
  • Copy of MAP Touch Screen Test (within the last two years)
  • Enclose cheque or your pre-payment authorisation code (£38.00 at time of writing)

Your card will then be valid for 3 years, 5 years, or depending on the individual card you apply for.

As I said, any queries you have, the BALI team have a designated person who can help you. Just give them a buzz on 024 7669 0333.

Good Luck!

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