If you work in the construction industry, you’ll generally need a CSCS card to get on site. However, if your job is to operate plant on construction sites, you will be better getting a CPCS card, provided through the Construction Plant Competence Scheme.
This is affiliated to CSCS and so provides the same benefits but, since it’s specifically aimed at plant operators, it proves skill and competence in a more relevant category.
CPCS Card Categories and Types
The CPCS card covers around sixty work categories and so you’ll need to choose the one that’s most relevant to you. Additionally, you’ll have to select the type of card you want from the four that are available and, in some cases, determine how you’re going to achieve it.
Aside from the tester and trainer cards that are provided, most people will choose between getting a trained operator CPCS card or a competent operator CPCS card. The former is a two-year card that is not renewable while the latter lasts for five years and can be renewed on expiry.
Both require applicants to pass a health, safety and environment test, show knowledge by successfully completing a theory test and demonstrate operating ability through a practical test. The difference between the two is that the competent operator card also requires the holder to have a relevant Construction NVQ that shows their operating competence.
CPCS Card Decision
When you apply for a CPCS card for the first time, you have to decide which one you want. However, this isn’t really a big decision because it’s determined by the qualification you have. If you hold the required construction NVQ, you can immediately apply for the competent operator CPCS card and it will be awarded if you pass the stated criteria.
If not, you can only apply for the trained operator CPCS card but will then need to move up to the competent operator CPCS card within two years. That means you need to get started on a construction NVQ in plenty of time so you can be sure of achieving it before the two years have elapsed. Failing that, you’ll be left without a CPCS card and might be put at a disadvantage.
The CPCS card requires up-to-date knowledge. When you come to renew the competent operator card every five years, therefore, you’ll have to complete the various tests satisfactorily to prove you can work properly and safely.