Getting your CPCS course booked
It is possible to book CPCS courses online, which gives delegates a fantastic opportunity to get a great deal whilst saving time. One phone call and an online solutions provider can sort it all for you!
However, there are some prerequisites you must fulfil before you can book yourself onto a CPCS course. These are:
Taking a CSCS Touch Screen Test (TST)/Renewing your TST
The CSCS TST is a short interactive test, completed on a computer. It tests a candidate’s general health and safety knowledge in the area of construction and must be done at a recognised CSCS centre.
This is valid for 5 years in allowing access to sites, but only for 2in terms of taking a CPCS course. In other words, if you passed your TST more than 2 years ago, despite the 5 year validity you will need to renew it before you can sit any CPCS course.
There are accredited CSCS centres across the country; some larger site seven have access to mobile testing centres.
There are different levels of TST, so you need to make sure you sit the right one:
- Managerial and Professional (MAP)
Most CPCS courses require an operative level CSTS TST, whilst others require a higher level TST, such as the A61 Lifting Operations Appointed Person which requires a MAP test and A62 Crane lifting Operations Supervisor, which requires a supervisor CSCS TST.
Knowing Which Category to Choose, and Which Endorsements Within It
There are over 60 different CPCS categories to choose from; this decision is often made either by your employer in relation to the role that they need you to do or by your experience to date.As a rule of thumb, you will need to sit the category for the Plant machinery you have or will be working with.
Make sure to check the full name and number of your plant category,either with a colleague or on the CPCS website, before booking.
Many categories have additional endorsements which relate to the weight load or action of the plant. Some of the most popular categories are slinger training, excavator above 10 tonnes, excavator below 10 tonnes, forward tipping dumper, lifting operations supervisor and telescopic handler. The telescopic handler is an excellent example of how the categories and endorsements of CPCS training courses work. A17 is the category number for the telescopic telehandler training and there are three endorsements to choose from. The first is industrial telescopic, the second is the 360 above 10 tonnes and the third is industrial. Each CPCS course only counts are one category or endorsement, so it is really important to get the right one.
Combining some categories can be helpful - for example, delegates who complete the A59 Excavator 360 degrees – Above 10 tonnes course, are also qualified to drive the A58 - Excavator 360 degrees – Below 10 tonnes machinery.Delegates who do both the A40 (Slinger, Signaller training) and A61 (Appointed Persons Lifting Operations) categories are also awarded the A62 category (Crane Supervisor) if they have the correct CSCS TST.
Assess Your Experience Level – This Will Direct Which Route You Take
One of the most common CPCS training pitfalls that can result in candidates failing their CPCS tests is that they overestimate their experience and skills on the machinery and book CPCS courses that do not include any preparation for the theory or practical tests.
It’s really important to remember that you will sit your theory and practical tests in the same day. If you do not pass the theory part, you will not be allowed to progress to the practical part of the test. As you will have paid for it this is not always a cost-effective way to gain your CPCS card, as if you fail no refunds are given and resits, whilst possible, will incur additional costs.
CPCS Routes to Qualifications
There are 3 routes to take; these are:
- Red Card – Novice courses
- Red Card – Experienced courses
- Blue card (NVQ)
Red Card Courses
Beginners should go for a novice worker red card course. These last longer and include several days of theory and practical preparation.
An experienced worker red card course is shorter (around 2 days) and includes one day preparation for the theory test and then the theory and practical test on day 2. No practical preparation is included as this course assumes experience with this.
Both course routes result in a red Trained Operator card which is valid for 2 years. The only difference between them is the amount of preparation and training for the CPCS tests.
Please note that no red card course includes an NVQ assessment. Red cards cannot be renewed, so at point of expiry, trained operators will be required to complete a blue card course to continue to work with this plant. Once you have completed a blue card course, you will then be able to use the title Competent Operator.
Blue Card Courses
Those with over two years’ experience may choose to do a blue card NVQ course.
The blue card will last you for your whole career, although will need to be renewed every 5 years. CSCS TST and logbook hours must also be kept in date.
CPCS Card Renewal
If you have a Blue Card that is nearing the 5-year expiry date, you will need to take online CPCS renewal tests, hold a valid CSCS test and send an up to date logbook to CPCS for validation.
If you have missed the expiry date, then you will need to book onto a Technical Test course to regain this qualification.
If your Red card is nearly expiry, you must either ensure you are taking the steps to sit the NVQ course to upgrade to a Blue card or start froms cratch again to regain this qualification – usually this is at your own cost.