CPCS Cards

About the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS)

NTSS Ltd have been granted Test Centre Status for our training grounds in Cambridgeshire.  CPCS Certification is still the most widely sought after and well recognised.  If you are going to be working on a large construction site, chances are you will be required to have a CPCS operator card.

What is CPCS?

CPCS is recognised by the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) and Major Home Builders Group (MHBG), amongst others, as the preferred card to comply with codes of practice for competence and certification. It was launched in 2003 at the request of employers, to help them comply with regulations and requirements, and aims to apply common standards for all plant operators. CPCS covers a large range of plant and plant-related categories, and more are continually added.

CPCS is owned by the Construction Industry Training Board (otherwise known as CITB) which allocates staff to manage and administer it on behalf of the CPCS Management Committee that develops its policy and strategy.

Types of CPCS Cards

There are three types of cards available under the CPCS Scheme. These are:

Trained Operator Card (Red CPCS Cards)
This card is recognised on sites across the UK. You must pass the correct category for the plant you wish to operate. To achieve the Trained Operator Card you will have to pass a theory test and a practical test. If you have never used the equipment before, or haven’t used it recently, it is recommended that you first take a novice training or refresher course.

Both the theory and practical tests will happen on the same day however you will have to pass the theory test before you will be allowed to pass the practical test.

The CITB provide downloads of theory test questions which you can download and review in advance of your test. These can be found here. Look for ‘Category Specific Documents’ and ‘Theory Test Questions’ about half way down the screen.

Please remember that if you have booked only the CPCS Trained Operator Card test for your chosen category that no training will be provided on the day.

In order to book the CPCS test you will have had to pass a Health and Safety Touch Screen Test within the 2 years before the date of your test.

For the majority of categories, the practical and theory tests must be undertaken at an accredited CPCS test Centre such as ours in Cambridgeshire.

The Trained Operator Card (Red Card) is valid for two years after which time you will need to upgrade it to a Competent Operator Card (Blue Card).

Competent Operator Card (CPCS Blue Cards)
A competent operator card proves that you have reached a level of health and safety awareness and an operating ability with your chosen plant.

There are two routes to get a competent operator card:

1) Direct to Competent Operator (Blue) Card / (EWPA)

Experienced Worker Practical Assessment or EWPA offers experienced learners a way of achieving a qualification. It is only available to very experienced workers who do not require any further training. This assessment method combines the use of witness testimonies, employer endorsement, practical assessment, professional discussion and questions and answers. It normally involves the learner going to an off-site location to have their practical skills and occupational knowledge assessed. All the practical skills needed to achieve a level 2 competence qualification are usually included in the practical assessment. The practical assessment is observed by a registered assessor.

A professional discussion and job knowledge question session are used by the assessor to assess the learner’s occupational knowledge and understanding. As the professional discussion is critical to the success of this assessment methodology, we provide one day mandatory briefings for assessors which must be attended within the first six months of the centre’s approval.

2) Through Trained Operator (Red) Card to Competent Operator (Blue) Card (a two-stage process)

This is the more common method of achieving a Blue Card. The requirements here are that you:

  • Hold a valid CPCS Trained Operator card (Red Card) on the category that has not expired more than 12 months prior.
  • Have passed the relevant health and safety touch screen test within the two years prior to your assessment.

To achieve the Competent Operator card you will need to be assessed in your workplace by a CPCS trainer.

You will be evaluated using the relevant plant after which there will be a professional discussion and job knowledge question session. Here the assessor will assess your occupational knowledge and understanding.

The Competent Operator (Blue) Card lasts for five years.

Renewing Competent Operator (Blue) CPCS Cards
To renew your CPCS Competent Operator Card, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have passed the relevant CITB Health, safety and environment (touchscreen) test within the two years prior to the date you wish to renew.
  • Pass the CPCS Renewal Test for each category or group of categories held (similar to the Health, safety & environment test on a computer, tablet or laptop) or undertake an on-site assessment.
  • Demonstrate on-going practical operating experience through a choice of routes e.g. Logbook
  • Hold a valid Competent Operator Card for the category/ies you wish to renew.
  • If you have added a new category to your existing card and have held it for less than two years then the CPCS Renewal test module will not have to be passed for that category at that time, but will be required for any subsequent renewal.

** If you have added a new category to your existing card, the hours logged only need to be pro-rata, which is equivalent to five hours per month for each month the category has been on the card or if you have added a new category to your existing card and have held it for less than two years then then the Logbook hours will not have to be recorded for that category at this time, but will be required for any subsequent renewal.

***You may use a combination of renewal methods. For example, you may renew one category having accumulated the hours in your log book and renew another category by undertaking the relevant On-Site Assessment or Technical Test. To achieve either of these you will need to contact one of our approved Test Centre’s. If you do not wish to renew all of the categories you hold, then these can be banked for the life of the card. However you need to renew at least one category to bank any remaining categories.

Tester Card
This card is specifically for individuals who want to provide CPCS training – please contact the CITB directly for more information.

Find out what you can expect on your CPCS test day click here.