The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) offers skills cards tailored to the plant sector within the Construction and related industries. Established in 2003, the scheme has issued over 300,000 cards across 64 plant and related occupation categories. To ensure the scheme's relevance, the CPCS Technical Review Group, representing the industry, consistently evaluates and updates it. This process considers industry feedback, emerging occupational health concerns, technological advancements, and the introduction of new types of plant equipment.
Please be aware CPCS is required to phase out blue Competent Operator cards gained through Industry Accreditation from 1 January 2020, and any cards issued through transitional routes will be completely removed by 31 December 2024.
What does this mean for you? If you gained your blue card under Industry Accreditation, and you have not previously achieved an NVQ in certain Construction or Plant related occupations, you will have to achieve an NOCN CPCS Competence Interview by the 31 December 2024 or achieve the relevant NVQ.
If you are working in construction in the UK then most probably yes. Build UK insist that operatives working on their sites must hold a CPCS card. Many other employers are also demanding the same requiring their employees to hold relevant cards to prove their skills.
However, you may find that not all employers will insist on CPCS certification especially those in non-construction industries. If this is the case then in many instances our own certification will suffice to prove your skills.
Please visit our course course index page for a comprehensive list of courses, or explore our specific CPCS Courses below.
We can help guide you through the process but the easiest and fastest way to understand how to get a CPCS card is to take a look at this handy visual poster - CPCS Poster Download.pdf
CPCS Red Trained Operator Card
The CPCS Red Trained Operator Card is issued on successful completion of the CPCS Theory and Practical Technical Tests which must be taken with a CPCS accredited test centre.
You must have achieved the relevant CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test within the 2 years before taking the CPCS technical tests.
Once you have passed the CPCS Technical Tests you will be issued with the CPCS Trained Operator Card. This card has a two year validity and is non-renewable. You are required to prove your competence in the category by undertaking the relevant NVQ within the 2 years in order to upgrade to the Blue Competent Operator Card.
What does this card represent?
The Trained Operator has demonstrated a level of:
How to Extend a Red Trained Operator Card
1) For a 12 month SVQ or NVQ extension, you must:
Hold a CPCS Red Trained Operator card which is in date, or within 12 months from the expiry
Once these elements have been achieved, call the CPCS Helpline on 0300 999 1177 (option 1, option 1, option1), confirm your details and make a payment of £28, you will be asked to provide proof of SVQ/NVQ registration by email prior to calling. This is a non-refundable fee for the services of processing the application.
A new card will be issued for 12 months (from date of application receipt) to enable the SVQ/NVQ to be achieved. Once the NVQ has been achieved, you will be able to apply to Upgrade to a Blue Competent Operator card
2) For an Additional 2 Year card, you must:
Hold an expired trained operator card by more than 12 months
Once all these elements have been achieved, the CPCS test centre will request the CPCS Additional 2 year Red Trained Operator card on your behalf.
Upgrade to a Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card
The CPCS Red Trained Operator card is only valid for 2 years, during which time you are required to undertake the relevant NVQ in order to upgrade to the Blue Competent Operator Card. The only way to remain in the CPCS scheme is to complete the relevant NVQ.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are competency-based and achieved within the workplace. They demonstrate your ability (competence) to carry out your job to the required standard, recognising your skills, knowledge, ability, training and experience required to perform a job safely and in an effective and efficient manner.
The individuals will be required to gather evidence and be observed for the occupational competencies listed under each unit title of their chosen qualification. The assessor will support this process and provide help and guidance during visits to make this as easy and smooth as possible. It is important that all learners are actively working in their occupation in order to be able to complete.
Essential Site Skills Ltd is an accredited centre offering the corresponding NVQ so we can support you through the whole process.
To upgrade to a CPCS Blue Card, you need to:
Once these elements have been achieved, please send via email and you will receive a payment request link where you will make a payment of £28.00, you will be asked to provide proof of the relevant VQ qualification achievement (copies of full qualification and unit credit certificates) by email. Please email [email protected] with proof of the VQ qualification achievement. This is a non-refundable fee for the services of processing the application.
What does this card represent?
The Competent Operator has demonstrated a level of:
How long is the card valid for?
The blue Competent Operator Card has a five-year life. The start date of the card will be from the date that the application form is received by the CITB Customer Operations. Each category added onto a blue Competent Operator Card will have the expiry date of the card itself.
Renewing a Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card
What are the requirements for renewing this card?
An operator is required to:
How to apply for the card
The F1/3 application to renew will need to be completed in order to issue the card. Please complete the online renewal form or complete the application form to be submitted to the mailing address on the reverse of the application form. If a fee is required you will be sent an online link. Applications can be made 3 months prior to the expiry date.
This form is only valid when Section E is signed by either:
Note: If you are Self Employed please complete this section as the "Individual's Employer". Note: If renewing using a mixture of routes i.e. Logbook and On-site Assessment then Section E must be signed by the Individual's Employer
Guidance notes are printed on the reverse of the form but should you have any difficulties in completing it please don’t hesitate to contact us.