Construction Courses: What Course is Right for You?

Construction Courses

Whether you’re just getting started in the industry or looking to move on to a masters degree equivalent, construction courses really cover everything in the industry. Construction courses allow workers to gain the qualification they need to progress in the industry.

When we talk about construction courses, most of the time we are referring to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). NVQs are the industry standard qualification for construction, ranging from Level 1 right up to level 7:

  1. NVQ Level 1 (Level 1 Health and Safety Award)
  2. NVQ Level 2
  3. NVQ Level 3 (Fully Funded)
  4. NVQ Level 4
  5. NVQ Level 5
  6. NVQ Level 6
  7. NVQ Level 7

Currently employed in the construction industry? Jump to Construction Courses and NVQs.

Construction Courses for Beginners: Green CSCS Card

If you’re looking for a route into the construction industry, the best place to start is by gaining your Green CSCS Card and completing a construction course for beginners. The “labourer” card is considered by most to be essential for working on a construction site.

Holding a Green CSCS Card proves that you have the required health and safety knowledge to work on a construction site, and this is an essential for more construction employers. To gain your green CSCS card, you’ll need to complete a construction course that provides you with all the knowledge you need to pass your HSE test.

At Portland Training, we’re a leading provider of construction courses for beginners in the UK. We offer comprehensive and valuable construction courses that enable our learners to gain the qualifications, skills and confidence needed to secure employment in the construction industry.

Should you not be eligible for a fully funded construction course, you can obtain your Green CSCS card by completing a course recognised by the CITB, this will include a fee.

Construction Courses

Jobseekers Construction Courses at Portland Training

We offer fully funded construction courses for jobseekers that provide learners with all the knowledge and skills they need to start their career in construction. Our construction courses allow learners to gain their green CSCS card and NPORS forward tipping dumper licence (in select locations). All of our jobseeker courses are fully funded, meaning that your qualifications and the course will be completely free of charge-you pay nothing.

Skills Bootcamp Construction Courses

Our Skills Bootcamp is a government backed construction course that allows learners to gain their Green CSCS card and NPORS Forward Tipping Dumper Licence completely free of charge. This course is very popular due to its hands on approach. Our experienced tutors will teach you valuable manual skills that you can apply in your construction career. Our Skills Bootcamp in Construction courses take place at our purpose-built new sites in Sheffield and Wakefield.

Take a look at our Sheffield Site!

Take a look at our Wakefield Site!

Learn more and register your interest for a Skills Bootcamp in Construction course.

Gateway to Construction Courses

Gateway to Construction courses are popular nationwide and take place in a variety of locations that regularly change to accommodate for our learners. This construction course will allow learners gain their green CSCS Card and NPORS Forward Tipping Dumper Licence.

Learn more about our Gateway to Construction Courses.

Pathway to Construction Courses

Our Pathway to Construction courses are a favourite amongst learners due to their frequent availability and quick turnaround. This construction course will allow you to get your green CSCS card free of charge.

Learn more about Pathway to Construction Courses.

Green Construction Courses

Green Construction courses are exclusive to the Greater London area, allowing learners to learn valuable construction greenskills and obtain their green CSCS card free of charge.

Learn more about Green Construction courses in London.

Eligibility for Fully Funded Construction Courses

In order to do one of our fully funded construction courses, you must be 19+ years of age, unemployed or on low income and receiving government benefits. If you’d like to check your eligibility for a fully funded construction course you can do so using the eligibility checker below.

What is an NVQ Construction Course?

A NVQ in construction is a work-based assessment of competency, in which you will be assessed against a series of criteria (which differs based on the qualification). The most important aspect of an NVQ is that you must be employed in a relevant role to the qualification you wish to complete. This is because the assessment is based around your occupational know-how and competence. An NVQ assessor will need to observe you completing the requirements in a work-based capacity so that you can obtain the qualification.

A NVQ has a series of qualification specifications, arranged into units. These can be mandatory or optional. Here is an example of a construction level 6 NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations, you will be able to see the optional and mandatory units.

Often, NVQs will have pathways. These are different routes from the same qualification, that are more tailored to your specific role. For example, a NVQ level 6 in Construction Contracting Operations has multiple pathways that relate to specific aspects of contracts management.

The general pathway allows learners to do a construction course that covers a general, holistic view of construction contracting operations whereas the others are more tailored to specific roles.

Construction Courses

Construction Courses for Tradespeople

Generally, people that work in a specific trade will look to enrol on a construction course that caters to their specific role. This is usually a NVQ level 2, or possibly a NVQ level 3.

NVQ Level 2 Construction Courses: Blue CSCS Card

Typically, an NVQ level 2 is regarded as the next step up from obtaining your green CSCS card and working as a labourer/operative. Obtaining an NVQ level 2 will allow you to progress on to your blue CSCS card, subject to passing the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. However, it should be noted that there is no rigid progression pathway in construction and all career paths differ; an NVQ should reflect your current capacity in the role you are working in.

There are many different trade specific NVQ level 2 qualifications in construction. In fact, the NVQ level 2 has the most variation of all the NVQ levels. Essentially, no matter what your occupation is, there is a qualification for your role.

An NVQ level 2 is the cheapest NVQ in construction after obtaining your level 1 award in health and safety in a construction environment. Your employer will also be able to claim back £600 on the qualification, which means you can progress your career at a minimal cost.

Take a look at the 100+ trade specific NVQ Level 2 qualifications available here.

Construction Courses

NVQ Level 3 Construction Courses

An NVQ level 3 construction course will allow you to obtain the highly regarded gold CSCS card. The Gold CSCS card comes in two forms: Advanced Craft and Supervisor. You must complete a specific NVQ level 3 to obtain each card, with the advanced craft card being qualifications like plastering, cladding and formwork and similar and supervisor requiring a qualification such as occupational work supervision or construction contracting operations.

Get your NVQ level 3 Free of Charge

You may be eligible to obtain your NVQ Level 3 free of charge through the UK Government’s Free Courses for Jobs scheme. Portland Training are able to offer select NVQ level 3 construction courses that will allow you to get your NVQ level 3 free of charge, so all you have to do is apply for your gold card.

Learn more about free courses for jobs.

Construction Courses for Supervisors

If you’re currently a construction site supervisor, the most likely construction course for you will be a NVQ level 3 in occupational work supervision, NVQ level 3 in construction contracting operations or an NVQ level 4 in construction site supervision.

All of these construction courses/ NVQs will allow you to obtain your gold supervisor CSCS card.


Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is a CITB course designed for any construction workers who have, or are about to assume, supervisory responsibilities on site. This construction course covers a range of health, safety, and environmental issues that supervisors need to be aware of in their role.

It should be noted that this is not a formal requirement for a gold CSCS card, you do not need to complete a SSSTS course to apply for your supervisor card.

Construction Courses for Managers

If you’re currently employed in a management position in the construction industry, you’ll be looking to complete a construction course in site management or equivalent. Primarily, the two construction NVQs tailored for managers are the NVQ level 6 and NVQ level 7.

Some examples include:

  • NVQ Level 6 in Construction Site Management
  • NVQ Level 6 in Construction Contracting Operations (multiple pathways)
  • NVQ Level 7 in Senior Site Management

Learn more about construction management qualifications.


Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is a CITB course, similar to SSSTS. However, this course is designed for construction site managers rather than supervisors.

These courses are designed to provide in-depth knowledge and skills for anyone currently working as, or about to become, a construction site manager. If you are responsible for planning, organising, monitoring, controlling, or administering groups of staff on a construction site, completing an SMSTS course will help you perform your job effectively, efficiently, and safely.

Again, you do not need to complete this construction course to apply for your black CSCS card, although it is a beneficial qualification.

Construction Courses

CITB Grants: Claim Back Money on Your Construction Course

If you’re looking to complete any kind of construction course, you will likely be able to claim back some of the costs through the CITB grant scheme. The CITB offer funding for CITB registered, levy paying participants.

The amounts will vary based on what construction course you’re looking to complete, whether it’s a SMSTS, SSSTS or NVQ. Want to know how much you can claim back on you course? Speak to a member of our team below.

Learn more about he CITB grant scheme.

Get Started on Your Next Construction Course

If you’re ready to start your next construction course, we’d love to work with you. By completing a construction course suited to your career, you can progress your career and #FurtherYourPotential. Contact us today for more information.