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What is CPCS?

The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), is designed to provide skills cards for the plant sector of the Construction industry, which certify that an individual is trained and competent by CPCS.

Who is CPCS for?

Whether you are a complete novice or have previous CPCS cards, we have courses for all abilities.

How do I get a CPCS card?

For Novices:

If you have no former experience with plant operations, or if you need to brush up on your skills before the test, you will need to have some training. How much training depends on each individual, which is why we offer the pre course assessment so we can see how much training is needed. Click here for more info on our pre course assessments.

You will also need to pass the touch screen CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test for Operatives before you can book a CPCS test. For more information, go to the CITB website here.


For experienced Operators:

First you must have passed a CSCS touch screen Health, Safety & Environment test within the last 2 years. (I know your current test lasts the life of your card) but if you are adding a category CPCS new rules require a new H&S test.



The test is in two parts; theory and practical.


The Theory Test is conducted at a centre with just the tester and the candidate, under exam conditions. The questions are verbally asked and the candidate gives his verbal answer, so candidates do not have to write out answers.

These theory tests are usually around 60 questions and you are allowed 1 hour to complete (times may vary for some categories). Most people usually finish between 30 - 50 minutes.

The questions can be downloaded from CPCS web site here, category codes can be found on our course details section.



You must pass the theory test in order to move on to the practical test. If you do not pass, the test will be stopped and you will not be able to progress any further, but you will still be charged for the theory and practical test. If you wish to attempt the test again you must book to retake the test another day.


It is possible to book the theory test first and wait until you have passed it to book in the practical test.

It is recommended that you consider having a couple of hours training.


The Practical Test is conducted with just the Tester and Candidate present. The tester will ask you to carry out certain activities to assess your ability to drive the machine in a safe manner in accordance with CPCS standards.

Test times vary from 1 hour to 3 hours 15 mins depending on category (usually ample time).

Again it is recommended that you know how the test will be conducted and to what standards you have to perform.

Please browse through our course details for each category you wish to take.

Click here for info on courses

CPCS Cards Explained

There are two types of CPCS card - a Red Trained Operator card, and a Blue Competent Operator card.

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CPCS Red Cards


A CPCS Red Trained Operator Card is achieved when you complete a CPCS plant test, and when no previous card has been held for each category required. CPCS plant tests consist of a theory and practical test.


You must have passed the Health, Safety & Environment test within the last 2 years before you can book a CPCS plant test.


Your CPCS Red Card is valid for 2 years. After this you can upgrade to a CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card.

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CPCS Blue Cards

To achieve a CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card you will need to complete an NVQ for each category of plant.

NVQ's are completed after time in the classroom to fill out your portfolio and a short onsite observation. The time scale for this is 1 -  2 days.


Your CPCS Blue Card is valid for 5 years. After this you will need to apply to renew each category held.



Renewing a Blue Card

Please click here for info on how to renew a blue card.

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