All about CPCS

Any construction worker who operates plant machinery needs the necessary training and qualifications. Construction equipment is extremely dangerous if not handled properly. If used incorrectly, it can cause serious and even fatal injuries. CPCS is a card and training scheme that was created as part of the NOCN group, and is one of the best-known names in plant training. Today, we take a deep dive into their card scheme and explain how workers can obtain them.

What is CPCS?

  • Construction Plant Competence Scheme is also known as CPCS. Construction and allied industries can use this scheme to prove their workers’ competency in a number of plant disciplines. These cards, introduced in 2003, have become a widely respected proof of competence for construction workers, recognized by all major contractors in the UK.
  • National Open College Network (NOCN) provides CPCS cards, an awarding body that manages a number of schemes, including CPCS and CISRS. CPCS cards are issued by NOCN to learners who have met the qualification criteria. CPCS cards are called NOCN job cards because of this.

Do I need CSCS if I have CPCS?

  • A CPCS card does not require CSCS training. The CPCS card features the CSCS logo and is approved by the body, so additional CSCS training is not required.
  • To prove the worker’s level of training meets current industry standards, all construction site cards must bear the CSCS logo. Managers should not accept any cards without this logo as evidence of a worker’s ability to enter the site.

What is a CPCS renewal test?

  • In order to renew a CPCS Blue Card, workers must pass the card renewal test. Renewal tests are 15-minute assessments in which workers operate their equipment under the supervision of a tester to verify that they meet the requirements set by CPCS.
  • Additionally, workers and managers can use the CPCS Card Checker to check the validity of their cards, and to find out when they need to retrain. The database contains information on all workers who hold CPCS cards. Information on the card holder is automatically added to the database when they complete training or apply for a card.

What does a CPCS card cover?

  • The CPCS cards provide proof of the worker’s training in CPCS plant equipment. Each piece of training does not require a separate card; holders can simply add any additional training to their existing cards.

For workers with different levels of experience, responsibilities, and qualifications, there are three types of CPCS cards:

CPCS Red Trained Operator Card

  • A red operator card is the most basic type of CPCS card. With the CPCS Red Card, they will be able to use this machinery on-site, proving their competency in the field. Workers must pass both the theory and practical CPCS tests in their specific area of work to qualify.
  • Learners will also need to have passed the CITB Health Safety & Environment (HS&E) test within two years of their application. The red card is valid for two years after it is issued. This is because the red card is a temporary card that enables workers to access the site while they complete their formal vocational training.

CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card

  • The holder of a blue card has an in-depth knowledge of their discipline. A worker holding this card may be given more responsibility on-site, opening up many potential career opportunities in more advanced and senior positions.
  • The requirements for upgrading from a red card to a blue card are a relevant vocational qualification (usually a Level 2 NVQ or apprenticeship). The Red Card also requires theory, practical, and health and safety tests. Unlike the red card, these cards can be renewed for five years.

CPCS training with PGL Midlands:

At PGL Midlands, we provide a range of CPCS courses in a variety of plant disciplines and equipment. These include:

For the full list of CPCS Courses ring, email or visit our CPCS Page

Get Your Training Done with PGL Midlands

  • What can PGL do for your training needs? Visit our online course index to view our complete list of courses, NVQs, and more! Our team is also available by phone if you call 0121 240 0375 –  You can also send us an email at

Posted on 3rd May 2022 by Nathan

Red CPCS Card
CPCS Blue Card
Untitled design 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed