What is the CSCS card and how to apply?

Lavoratori con elmetto in una azienda

The CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) is a card attributed to construction workers to demonstrate that they have received adequate training and qualifications to work properly. It was introduced to improve standards and safety on construction sites.

Finding work without this card is not impossible: it is not mandatory. However, most large companies do not hire employees without a CSCS card, so we advise you to request it if you intend to work in this sector in England. Let’s find out how to get it together.

What types of CSCS card are there ?

There is no a unique type of CSCS card: depending on the specific work you do in construction (architect, construction engineer, bricklayer, etc.) you will need to request the CSCS card corresponding to your activity. On this site you will find all the existing categories: click on the one you are interested in to find out what are the qualifications necessary to obtain it. If you are not sure which card you need, you can use the card finder to find out which card suits your skills or qualifications.

Some of the categories are:

  • Laborer: You can receive this card if you have achieved the RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or the SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate. Visit this site to find out where these certificates can be obtained. The card you will receive will be valid for five years;
  • Trainee: You can receive this card if you are currently studying to obtain a certificate. You must have already completed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test Operative Level in the past two years. This temporary card is valid for five years but cannot be renewed;
  • Skilled Worker: this card is for those who have already obtained an NVQ or SVQ Lelev 2 certificate, or an apprenticeship in the construction sector. This card is valid for five years.

With the exception of the trainee card, all others are renewable. There is also the possibility of requesting the card for a higher role if you progress in your work.

Types of CSCS Card


How do I apply for a card?

The application is made online on the official CSCS website. Make sure you have all the necessary certificates before submitting your application. In addition to the certifications you will be asked to pass the CITB Health Safety and Environment (HS&E) Test: currently the cost is £ 21; starting from April 1st 2020 the cost will be £ 21.50. This is a 50-question test to test your knowledge of workplace safety regulations. Also in this case there are different types of tests depending on your work.

Now that you have all the documents available, let’s find out what you need to send the application to obtain the CSCS card:

  • A scanned copy of your certificates, or a document demonstrating your enrollment in a qualified course for which you will receive a certificate;
  • The Test ID Number of the HS&E test shown on the certificate;
  • Indicate the type of HS&E test achieved;
  • Make sure that the personal data shown on the HS&E certificate is correct;
  • Have a checking account to make a £ 36 payment.

Alternatively, you can call 0344 99 44 777 to request the CSCS card. Make sure you have access to an email account during the call.

Once your request is accepted, the card will be shipped the next day and you will receive it in less than a week.

Watch the video and follow all the instructions to request the CSCS card

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How to prepare for the HS&E test?

Passing the CITB Health Safety and Environment (HS&E) test is essential in order to receive your CSCS card. At the time of application, your certificate must be less than two years old. You can use the card finder to know which type of test you need to pass.

On the CITB online shop you will find a series of books to help you study for the test. The main book with all the information is the Health, Safety and Environment Test for Operatives and Specialist: make sure you have the most recent copy at the time of purchase. The books are exclusively in English, but the smartphone application (available for iOS and Android) is available in 14 languages.

The exam is carried out on a touch screen computer in a center recognized by the CIBT. During the exam it is possible to receive assistance in different languages.

Can an employer apply for a card for his employees?

If you are an employer, you can request the CSCS card for all your employees yourself. After creating an employer account on the CSCS website you will need:

  • Send a scanned copy of the certificate of all your employees, or a document showing that your employees are in the process of obtaining a recognized qualification:
  • Send the test ID number of the HS&E certificate of each employee;
  • Know the type of paper your employees require;
  • Communicate the personal data of each employee.

This application (multiple questions) can only be done online. For this reason you will have to communicate an email address for each of your employees, and you will need to have a current account to make the payment (£ 36 per card).

Renew or replace the card

To renew the CSCS card, just go to the CSCS website where, once logged in to your account, you can request a renewal. You will again be required to demonstrate that you have the necessary qualifications and to declare any changes in your work. The card can be renewed six months before or after the expiry date.

In the event of loss or theft, or if your card is broken, you just need to log in to your account and request a new one. Alternatively you can call +44 (0) 344 994 4777, making sure you have your CSCS registration number on hand or, alternatively, your National Insurance number.

I have my own qualification, can I do the conversion?

The answer is yes. On the NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Center) website you can convert and certify your documents, to be attached later in your application to receive the CSCS card.

Do you work in the construction sector? Write us in the comments!

Professional job titles and wages in England

Lavoro d'ufficio, uomo scrive al computer

When looking for a job on the internet, we almost always use a professional title as a keyword to find the most suitable positions for us. In this article we will discover together the different English professional job titles and the corresponding wages.

What does a professional job title indicate?

Professional job titles can have different values. Titles as supervisor, manager and director indicate your level in the company: you will often find these job titles in management jobs. Other titles, such as receptionist, chef or bartender describe your work. The job titles can often be paired: in the case of a company with several accountants, titles as senior accountants are used to highlight the difference in rank. On the internet you can often find the list with all the positions for the most important companies, called the organization chart. For each position, you can later look for the salary range, an indication of how much you can expect to be paid for that specific position.

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A very useful site is Glassdoor: you can use it not only to look for job offers, but also the wages, the tasks and the knowledge required. Since the employees themselves share these details on the site, you will also be able to find personal experiences and questions asked during the interview.

It is therefore important to know the job titles related to your field of interest, so that you can easily find your ideal job. Here is a short list of the main positions in the different fields:

  • Business: consultant, human resources (HR) administrator, public relations manager, communications executive;
  • Media: Market analyst, social media strategist, media officer, campaign manager;
  • Jobs in contact with the public: Customer service assistant, waiter, receptionist, travel consultant;
  • Manual jobs: builder, electrician, plumber, delivery driver;
  • Technical jobs: engineer (software, electrical, maintenance etc.), GP (General practitioner), IT consultant.

For the first work experiences, look for ads of entry level jobs: these are jobs dedicated to recent graduates and that do not require experience in the field. These positions are ideal for those who wish to gain experience in their field of work and then progress in the company.

All the positions mentioned above are subject to the minimum wage mandatory in the United Kingdom (read this article to learn more). Now let’s see what jobs are not subject to the minimum wage.


Apprenticeships are subject to a national minimum wage, but it is lower than for the above positions. The apprenticeship is an alternative for those who do not wish to attend university: it allows you to study and work alternately, so that you can acquire the skills necessary to enter the world of work. The work done during your apprenticeship is paid, but depending on your age and the year of apprenticeship that you undertake you will be paid less than your peer in a conventional job.

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The minimum wage changes every April, so it is advisable to check the official government website for the latest updates. At the moment the minimum wage is £ 4.15 per hour for apprentices up to 19 years old and for those over 19 attending the first year of the course. For example, a 16 year old apprentice and a 25 year old attending the first year of apprenticeship will be entitled to a minimum wage of £ 4.15. Starting from the second year of the course, all apprentices who have turned 19 will be entitled to the same minimum wage as their non-apprentice peers. Completed the first year, the 25-year-old apprentice will earn £ 8.20 from the second year.

To be able to attend an apprenticeship course in the UK you must be at least 16 years old, have a permanent address in the UK and not attend compulsory school or a full-time university course.

Lavoro in fabbrica, uomo usando la smerigliatrice


Although voluntary experiences are unpaid, they represent a unique experience not only to improve your English, but also to acquire essential knowledge and skills to insert you later in the world of work. Volunteering experiences are always well viewed by employers, and more and more people undertake this activity to enrich their curriculum. The possibilities are numerous and it will be impossible not to find an opportunity suitable for you.

As specified above, volunteering experiences are unpaid but the cost of travel and accommodation are almost always paid by the organization. A site to start your research is do-it.org, through which you can search for opportunities based on your location, your interests, or the causes you care about most. Volunteering will also offer you the opportunity to meet people with whom to share the passions and same interests, which are essential to enrich your professional contacts.

Freelance and self-employed

More and more people decide to work on their own for more flexibility and control over their career. The English bureaucracy is known to be simpler than other European countries: you just need to fill in a form on the HMRC website to declare your business.

To create a company you will have to go to this page instead. Waiting times vary between eight and ten days, and the cost of the application is currently £ 40. You may optionally request a fast registration of your company (on the day you submit your application), provided that Companies House receives your application no later than three in the afternoon, and with a fee of £ 100.

Nothing prevents you from being employed on behalf of a company and self-employed at the same time, as long as the times of the two jobs do not coincide.

There are many advantages to being freelance or freelancer, including:

  • A less monotonous job and more flexibility with your schedule;
  • The possibility of being paid much more than a similar job as an employee;
  • Work from home and avoid hours spent in public transportation every day.

However, there are also negative sides that should not be underestimated, including:

  • You will not have a guaranteed fixed salary, and there may be months in which you may earn less than usual;
  • Depending on your industry, there may be high initial costs before you can start your business;
  • Finding customers, especially at the beginning, can be difficult, and you won’t have a ‘superior’ to help you in case you have a problem.

Tax bands are the same as an employee: you will only start paying taxes when you earn a minimum of £ 12,501 per year.

Night job

Depending on your job you may be asked to work on night shifts. In the UK, a night shift must last a minimum of three hours between 11pm and 6am to be considered as such. Like all other jobs, the employee is entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage the employer is not required to pay you more than the minimum due.

If you are expected to work most of the night, you will be paid for all hours of your shift, even if you are allowed to sleep between tasks (in the case of a carer, for example). Conversely, if you sleep most of the night and only work a few hours, you will be paid only for the actual hours of work.

The other rules of night shifts are:

  • Night clerks cannot work for more than eight hours in a 24 hour period;
  • Minors cannot work between 22:00 and 06:00, with the exception of some jobs (trade, catering, agriculture) in which they cannot work from midnight to 04:00.

Do you have experience in the world of work in England? Share them with us in the comments!

How to prepare for a job interview

Come preparare il colloquio di lavoro

How to prepare for a job interview

Has your application been successful and have you finally been called for a first job interview?

Here are some tips to follow to better prepare for the job interview:

  • It may seem obvious but when you are given a date and place for the job interview, try not to decline or postpone, nor anticipate. Do whatever you can to be free on the requested date.
  • Conduct research: it is essential to arrive prepared for the interview, enter the website of the company you have applied for and read the story. How the company was born and the words of its founder / CEO – remember that the idea and philosophy behind the brand will be the subject of several questions that you will be asked during the interview.
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  • Review your Curriculum Vitae: It is obvious that you know very well your CV but do not forget to review your professional history, important especially if they will ask you questions regarding some specific positions held during your career; be ready to answer.
  • If there are long periods of time (gaps) in your Curriculum Vitae in which you have not worked for various reasons, prepare an intelligent justification. If the reason is personal, hopefully never too serious, be honest. Also be sincere for reasons concerning travel or volunteering, both of which are welcomed very well here in England. If the reasons are others, try to articulate a plausible answer and make sure the conversation move on the fact that in your career you have always been a hard worker, apart from these breaks.

Avere successo nel colloquio di lavoro

Some of the most frequently asked questions will be the following:

Why did you decide to apply for this role?”

At home, write down plausible answers. Only you really know what really pushed you to apply, be honest, express your admiration towards the company, if possible, towards the products / services it sells. In the case of a fashion company, for example, it may happen that you have worn the garments of that particular brand several times, then make them aware of it and express your interest as much as you can.

“What improvements do you think you can bring to our team?

Here, too, I always recommend taking pen and paper and analyzing your best qualities and using them to ensure that they can represent a potential improvement for the company, eventually you are hired.

List a number of strengths and weaknesses that belong to you”

Once again, make a wise choice and choose weak points that, from another point of view, can also be seen as a strength.

There are different types of contracts and wages in the UK. Find out what the differences are

Where do you see yourself in ten or twenty years?”

Study this answer with caution. Communicate your dreams and, obviously, if your intention is not to be in the company for at least 5 years, do not tell that. We know that sometimes, some jobs are a springboard but this is certainly a detail not to be communicated during a job interview.


What other basic ideas to follow

– Do not speak if you are not questioned, listen carefully to the manager or the recruiter and if you can, use most of his own words in the answer you will formulate. This will demonstrate not only that you are an excellent listener and a respectful individual but also that your language approaches them.

– Do not take uncomfortable positions, sit straight and it is advisable not to cross your arms. Be confident but humble and make clear that you value anything you are told on the other side.

The outfit: in general, black trousers and jacket, and a shirt that can be either white or black. Specifically, for men a tie is obviously welcome (if the environment is an office and / or formal, and for women, if you choose a skirt, always black, I recommend wearing one with a length that goes beyond the knee. No colored shoes, always choose a black, elegant and formal ones. Light heel, but it is not essential as long as, I repeat, the shoe is black and sober.


– Study well the itinerary in advance. Consider the various traffic and strikes and especially the time you will start the journey, to make sure you arrive on time.

– If you were to succeed at an initial interview and you are asked to start immediately, you will be asked how much notice you will have to give to the company for which you are currently working. If you are not asked, you can mention it, saying that you have a notice to give and respect. The fact that you respect it, speaks volumes about you, as you will be seen as a loyal and respectful worker to any company you will work for.

If you have any suggestions you want us to put on the list of ideas, please let us know in the comments below.

The importance of Curriculum Vitae

L'importanza del Curriculum vitae per trovare lavoro

A good Curriculum Vitae helps you find the job you are looking for more easily and quickly

You must know that a generic Curriculum Vitae is not enough if you want to get the right attention from English companies. If you do not have a specific CV for the United Kingdom – which I will now explain to you – you run the risk of it being directly trashed even before being read.

To make you understand what I just told you, let’s first make a premise: as soon as your Curriculum Vitae arrives at its destination, it will be subjected to a first selection by computers and by recruiters according to well-defined local logics. In practice it undergoes automatic filtering based on the graphic layout and content.

The type of layout, its positioning, its length, the use or omission of accessory elements etc. are subject to first evaluation. If these elements meet the autochthonous standards, it will be taken into consideration, otherwise it will be discarded immediately.

The second type of selection concerns the content (often also automatically filtered through keywords), which varies according to the sector and the task required.


Read more

Here is what you need to consider before writing a good CV

Before writing your CV it would be appropriate to ask yourself some questions:

  • How big is the importance given to a Curriculum Vitae in the country where I will live?
  • Which layout should I use?
  • Are there specific keywords to use and to change according to the field and the type of job?
  • How long will my document have to be?
  • Will I be able to express all my creativity or will I have to limit myself and try to be as concise as possible?
  • How many seconds of reading are devoted to reading my document and in which part of the page does the eye of the recruiter fall (recruiter / employer)?
  • Which sections to put on top of the page and how to effectively highlight the features that really distinguish me?
  • What difference is there between personal skills and technical skills and how can I use them to make my candidacy stand out compared to other candidates.

Coming from another country it may be instinctive for you to give importance to the European format (EuroPass), but know that in the United Kingdom it is not taken into consideration.


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I’m sure you are now aware of how important is to write a good CV. It is the first investment towards your professional future.

Of course, these considerations are important in particular for you who have the goal of finding a specific and quality job.

Employment contract in UK

Due persone lavorano al proprio computer

Many people from all around the world every year decide to leave their homeland and move to England to create a better future. Often, however, many of us travel without really knowing what to expect from the new English work experience.

In this article you will find a list of the conditions an English employment contract must have, to be sure that your rights (the same as an English one) are not violated.

Let’s start with the essential information. The English employment contract, to be valid, must necessarily state the name of the employer, his address, and the name of the employee. Other information are detailed below:

The salary

By law, workers in England must receive at least a minimum pay per hour, called the minimum wage. It varies according to your age:

  • Apprentice: £ 4.15 per hour;
  • Up to the age of 18: £ 4.55 per hour;
  • From 18 to 20 years: £ 6.45 per hour;
  • Ages 21 to 24: £ 8.20 per hour.

From the age of 25, we no longer speak of minimum wage but of national living wage, which currently corresponds to £ 8.72 per hour. There is also a living wage, currently equivalent to £ 10.75 for London and £ 9.30 for the rest of the UK. Living wage is established by the Living Wage Foundation, which calculates the cost of living in the United Kingdom and based on this determines how much a person must be paid to live properly. It is the only pay that makes a distinction between the cost of living in the capital and the rest of the country, but unlike the minimum wage and national living wage, employers are not required to respect it.

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The minimum wage is updated every April. You can view a table with all the information on the minimum wage on this site.

In England you will be paid according to your position (team leader, manager, CEO etc.), but you will not be guaranteed a minimum wage depending on the level of your job, as is the case of many European countries. Take for example the position of Store Manager in London: a Google search suggests that the pay is around £ 28,000 per year. It is therefore very likely that, in case you receive an offer for a similar job, your annual salary is around that amount, but keep in mind that nothing prevents the company from paying you less.

The method of payment varies greatly depending on the job: it can be weekly, biweekly or monthly, paid by bank transfer or in cash (more rarely). Most people have an employment contract with an annual wage, while others, especially in the retail sector, are paid by the hour and the worker receives a paycheck (paper or electronic) at the end of the month with the number of hours worked listed, the salary and taxes deducted (those who earn less than £ 12,500 per year – for the year 2020-2021 are exempt from taxes).

If you work with targets (very used in sales and recruitment), you will receive a fixed minimum wage every month, plus commissions if you reach your target.

In England several companies award workers with a bonus towards the end of the year.

Dipendenti di una azienda in ufficio

Type of employment contract

There are several contracts in England if you are an employee. Your contract can be:

  • Temporary contract: temporary contract, often used for seasonal jobs, for example during the Christmas holidays, when shops need more staff. It is possible that, once the holiday period is over, you are offered a permanent position;
  • Fixed term contract: fixed-term contract, similar to temporary contracts, in which the start and end date of the work must be clearly indicated;
  • Permanent contract: it is a permanent contract with no end specified;
  • Zero Hour contract: zero hour contract, which does not guarantee a regular job with a fixed number of hours per week. The employer asks you for shifts and you can accept or reject.

If you decide to work on your own (self employed or freelance), you will have to declare your business and pay the taxes yourself.

NHS is among the 10 companies with the highest number of employees in the world, exceeding a total of 1.7 million workers

Sick pay

By law, the employer must pay you from the fourth day of illness. Often you get paid from the first day, but nothing forces your employer to do so. Those who earn a minimum of £ 112 gross per week are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), an aid from the British government, which corresponds to around £ 88 per week. If you are absent from work for several weeks, you can request Housing Benefits.


The employer must clearly specify how many days per year of holidays you are entitled. By law, the days must be at least 28, and may or may not include the eight bank holidays. If you are required to work during a bank holiday you will be entitled to a replacement day off, called in lieu. In many companies the number of days allowed increases with years of experience.

Trial period

The contract must also specify the length of your trial period and its conditions. You are very likely to be asked to complete a trial period (typically one to six months) before being officially hired. During the trial period, the notice to be fired or to resign is shorter: in general, a week in advance, instead of a month, is sufficient to resign. It is also important to point out that, during the trial period, the employer can decide not to hire you or terminate your contract for any reason, without you being able to dispute.

In the case of dismissal once the trial period has passed, it is imperative to ask your employer what the reason for this decision is. If you believe that your actions have not gone against what your contract states, you will be entitled to an appeal that will allow you to contest your dismissal before it takes effect.

Once your new position is accepted, your employer has three months to give you a copy of your employment contract. Read your contract carefully, and make sure you can do everything that is required, since once the contract has been signed, everything that is required, and which is part of your job, cannot be contested. For example, if you perform a typical 9-5 job but you are asked to work a night shift, as per the contract you signed, you will not be able to refuse to take your shift.

Do you know the differences between English and other national contracts? Share your work experience in England with us!