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CPCS Cards

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The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) operates in UK construction industry and issues CPCS Cards to construction workers with the appropriate qualifications for their roles.

If you are working in construction in the UK then you will probably need a CPCS Card to be able to work on site. Many employers now require their employees to hold the relevant cards to prove their skills.

Based on a mix of professional competence, experience on site and health and safety awareness the CPCS card scheme promotes employess to be more effective in the workplace enabling jobs to be completed quicker and to a higher standard.

There are a two CPCS Cards, red and blue. Find out how these are achieved below.

CPCS Red Trained Operator Card

The CPCS Red Trained Operator Card is issued on successful completion of the CPS Theory and Practical tests which must be taken with a CPCS accredited test centre.

Before taking the technical tests the relevant CITB Health, Safety and Environment test must have been completed within the past two years.

Once the CPCS Technical tests have been completed a CPCS Trained Operator Card will be issued and is valid for two years.

A Red Card Holder Demonstrates

  • Health and safety awareness through the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test
  • Underpinning knowledge and understanding through the CPCS Theory Test
  • Operating ability through the CPCS Practical Test
CPCS Red Trained Operator Card

Extending a CPCS Red Trained Operator Card

The red trained operator card is valid for two years and is not renewable. You are required to prove your competence in the category by undertaking a relevant NVQ within two years to upgrade to the Blue Competent Operator card. The blue card is then valid for 5 years and can be renewed.

If your red card is close to expiry or has expired you have two options:

Apply for a 12 month extension

To be able to apply for an extension you must:

  • Hold a CPCS Red Trained Operator card which is in date or within 12 months from expiry
  • Be registered for an NVQ in the relevant category

A new card can then be issued to allow the NVQ to be completed. Once the NVQ has been achieved the operator can apply to upgrade to the Blue Competent Operator card.

Apply for an additional two year card

If your red card has expired you can apply for another two year red card if:

  • You hold an expired red trained operator card of more than 12 months
  • You hold a valid CITB health, safety and environment test
  • You have passed the CPCS theory test (within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test)
  • You have passed the CPCS practical test (within 6 months of the theory test and within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test)
  • You are registered for an NVQ

If all of these criteria are met, a CPCS Red Trained Operator card can be requested for an additional 2 years.

CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card

The blue CPCS Competent Operator card shows employers that you are competent to operate your chosen plant vehicle. It demonstrates that you have the skills to use the machinery, have the Health & Safety Awareness and real world experience.

The blue card is an upgrade from the CPCS Red Trained Operator card. The red card is only valid for 2 years, during which time you are required to undertake the relevant National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in order to upgrade. An NVQ demonstrates your competence to carry out your job to the required standard.

The blue CPCS Competent Operator card is valid for 5 years starting from the date the application was received. Each category added to the card will have the expiry date of the card.

A Blue Card Holder Demonstrates

  • Health and safety awareness through the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test
  • Underpinning knowledge previously through a theory test
  • Operating ability previously through a practical test
  • Operating competence on the type of plant (evidenced by an SVQ or NVQ or employer confirmation of competence)
CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card

Renewing a CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card

The Blue Competent Operator card is valid for 5 years and can be renewed. This should be done before the current card expires, the requirements to renew the card are as follows:

  • Hold a valid Competent Operator Card that has not expired
  • Pass the CITB Health, Safety and environment test (within two years of the card application)
  • Pass the CPCS Renewal Test for each category held
  • Demonstrate on-going practical operating experience through a choice of routes including Logbook, On-Site Assessment, CPCS Practical Test, NVQ.

A new card can then be issued to allow the NVQ to be completed. Once the NVQ has been achieved the operator can apply to upgrade to the Blue Competent Operator card.

Please download our helpful guide to red and blue CPCS Cards to help you understand the steps required for each stage:

Download Our Guide to CPCS Cards

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