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Western Plant Training

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?

Depending on your experience, it may be necessary for you to have some training before booking the CPCS Test.


For novice Operators:

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. Please see below 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.


Pre Course Assessments

We offer the opportunity for candidates to come along to the centre for a pre course assessment regardless of experience.

The candidate can have a go on the machine and show us what they can do, this can take up to an hour. This gives us the chance to see how much training they will need or if they can go straight to the test. 


We prefer to see what you can do before you book anything as you may need more or less training than you think.

To find out more please call 07833903374 or email

Please note, the pre course assessment is free to candidates taking training or testing with us only. Candidates who come for a pre course assessment and take training or testing elsewhere will be charged a fee.


Please refer to our terms and conditions regarding pre course assessments.

Novice Training                                                                                                                                                                 


Training for the CPCS tests, depending on the skill level of the candidate and the category of plant, can run from 1 to 10 days.

The course covers;

  • Basic controls and components.

  • Carry out all pre-use and running checks.

  • Prepare the machine for site travel and or road travel.

  • Working over differing types of terrain, including rough undulating ground, including use on substantial inclines.

  • Position and set the machine for work.

  • Change attachments (where applicable).

  • Trenching (where applicable).

  • Loading (where applicable).

  • Preparation and practice for the test.

  • Lifting categories.

Experienced Operators

Experienced Operators usually have a few habits that may not be helpful in the test.

Training or preparation can range from a couple of hours to 1 or 2 days.

Evening sessions of a couple of hours are available for theory training.


The CPCS 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 40 questions and you are allowed 30 minutes to complete (times may vary for some categories).

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



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.

Once you have passed the CPCS test we will apply for the card which will be sent straight to the employer/candidate.

CPCS Categories

Please browse through the list below of the CPCS categories we currently offer.

Click on the categories to download course details for the categories you are interested in. 


A58 360 Excavator - Below 10 Tonnes (With Lifting Ops)

A59 360 Excavator - Above 10 Tonnes (With Lifting Ops)

We also offer the theory & practical test for Lifting Ops, for blue card holders to add lifting ops to their existing A58 & A59 categories.


A58C Lifting Ops Only - 360 Excavator Below 10 Tonnes

A59C Lifting Ops Only - 360 Excavator Above 10 Tonnes

CPCS Categories

CPCS Theory & Practical Tests

To download CPCS theory test questions or activity instructions for the practical test, please click the link to the NOCN website below. You will find a detailed list of all the activities you will need to carry out to pass the practical test.


CPCS Cards Explained

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

CPCS Red Card

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.

CPCS Blue Card

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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