What is CPCS?
CPCS certification acts as proof to potential employers that you have the skills and training necessary to act as a plant operator. It is the leading qualification in the UK construction industry.
The CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is a registration card scheme administered by the CITB, and the industry standard for plant qualification in Britain. It was created in 2003 to set a common standard for all UK plant operators, and is now recognised by the members of such large industry bodies as MHBG (Major Home Builders Group), UKCG (UK Contractors Group), and most smaller operations.
The CPCS Plant Operator Training Programme
There are two levels of CPCS cards, the Red Trained Operator card, and the Blue Competent Operator card:
- The Trained Operator card designates an operator who has had the necessary training, and has passed the CPCS technical tests (both a practical test and theory test).
- The Competent Operator card is intended for more experienced operators who have earned an appropriate NVQ or SVQ, and are up to date on their CITB HS&E training.
Why Should I Take CPCS Training?
Most UK employers look for CPCS qualifications before accepting new employees as plant operators. The majority will not even consider hiring an operator who does not hold at the minimum a Red CPCS card.
For higher positions or roles with more responsibility, a Blue CPCS card is usually a minimum requirement, as it shows that the operator has both the working experience to operate under less supervision, and the NVQ or SVQ training to ensure competence.
How do I know which CPCS course to take?
Whether you apply for your Red or Blue card is determined by your level of experience and whether you have achieved a relevant NVQ or SVQ. However, at both levels you will be required to take training specific to the category of equipment you intend to operate.