What is a CPCS Card and how can I get one?

What is a CPCS Card and how can I get one?

A CPCS Card is a card that demonstrates the skills required for people that work with plant machinery in the construction industry. CPCS is an abbreviated version of the Construction Plant Competence Scheme Card.

The Construction Plant Competence Scheme was created to set a benchmark of common standards for plant operators across the industry, enabling companies to adhere to regulations and requirements. The scheme is administered by the not-for-profit organisation NOCN.

Not to be confused with the separate scheme CSCS, obtaining your CPCS can be done in addition to, but not in replacement of, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. More on the CSCS Card can be found in this article.

There are three types available: Red, Blue and Black. The CPCS Black Card (CPCS Tester Card) confirms that the person holding it has sufficient qualification and experience to test CPCS students in an assessment setting. Red and Blue CPCS Cards demonstrate enough ability to work on-site, we will go into what each one is and the differences next.

What is a CPCS Red Card

CPCS Red (Trained Operator) Card can be obtained once you have successfully passed the CPCS Theory and Practical Technical Tests. This is the first level that you can obtain and will be the first milestone of your CPCS journey.

Your CPCS Red (Trained Operator) Card will only last 2 years and cannot be renewed. This means that within 2 years of achieving your CPCS Red Card you will need to undertake the relevant NVQ in your category within that timeframe. This will enable you to upgrade to the CPCS Blue (Competent Operator) Card.

What is a CPCS Blue Card

Holding a CPCS Blue Card means that you have demonstrated specialism in a particular machine. To do this you will need to complete the relevant NVQ for that specialism.

NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) are qualifications that demonstrate capability, competence, knowledge, and training within a field. They are designed to show that you know how to complete a job to an effective standard and in a safe manner.

The blue card has an expiry of 5 years, at which point it can be renewed dependant on specific criteria.

Why get a CPCS Card

Having a CPCS Card will open new job opportunities on construction sites. Plant Machine Operators are in higher demand than non-specialised labour roles. This means that you can earn more and have more chances of securing a longer-contract position than other workers.

What can I earn

The amount that you can earn with your CPCS on a construction site depends on the machine that you have specialised in. For example, Dumper Drivers can earn £15ph basic rate, whereas more specialised 360 Excavator Drivers can earn around £21ph basic rate. Roles with a CPCS requirement typically earn more than roles that only require a basic CSCS.

How do you get a CPCS Card

What you need to do to get your CPCS Card depends on what type of card you are looking to get. If you are just starting out with CPCS, then follow the instructions for the Red Card.

How to get a CPCS Red Card

To apply for your CPCS Red Card you will need to have:

  • Enough training to enable you to reach a standard to pass the CPCS technical test. This can be trainer-delivered.
  • CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test.
  • CPCS Theory Test (within two years of the HSE Test).
  • CPCS Practical Test (within 6 months of Theory and 2 years of HSE Test).

On completion of the CPCS Practical test, the test centre will request the CPCS Red Card on your behalf. You can find a list of test centres here.

How to get a CPCS Blue Card

  • To apply for your CPCS Blue Card you will need to have:
  • An NVQ/SVQ for the category being applied for.
  • In-date CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test.
  • CPCS Theory Test (within two years of the HSE Test).
  • CPCS Practical Test (within 6 months of Theory and 2 years of HSE Test).

On completion of the CPCS Practical test, the test centre will request the CPCS Red Card on your behalf. Your CPCS Blue Card will be accompanied by a logbook. It is important that you continue to fill this in, to develop a lifelong commitment to learning and to support your case for renewal.

Have you got your CPCS Card and looking for jobs? Find your next role on our jobs page: www.crewitresourcing.com/jobs/

Let us know about which cards and experience you have when you quick register with us.