Now more than ever, plant operators are finding that they need the correct qualifications to get work. CPCS training
is a good option, as it is recognised by all the UKCG contractors as the standard required on all their sites.
The two CPCS training
routes on offer are red and blue cards. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to ensure all plant operatives are trained to an NVQ level. This is reflected in how the scheme is structured. The blue card is the higher level card, and is for those operators that have completed an NVQ. The red card is for operators who are not yet at NVQ level, but have proved that they are sufficiently competent to drive plant on site. Red card operators must then complete a blue card within two years if they wish to keep their qualification.
So which CPCS training
route should you pick? This depends on your level of competency and experience.
Blue cards are aimed at operators that have at least two years experience with the particular piece of plant they are working with. Candidates need to complete an NVQ, either over time by participating in observations of their work, or by the one day option or EWPAR. Once the NVQ has been successfully completed, candidates will need to take the CPCS technical test, which includes a theory and practical assessment. Only when candidates have passed all three elements (NVQ, theory and practical) will they be able to claim a blue card. It is important to remember that there is no CPCS training
included in the blue card route, it is all assessment.
The red card CPCS training
is aimed both experienced and novice operators. For novice operators, the red card route provides preparation for the CPCS technical test. This is valuable, because the technical test is a lot like a domestic driving test. No matter how good a driver you are, it always helps to know what the ‘by the book’ way is and what the assessor will be expecting from you. The additional training means that red card courses are longer in duration.
For experienced operators, the advantages in completing the red card, rather than the blue, is that it still allows operatives to work on site for two years, is can be a cheaper option and it includes some preparation for the CPCS technical test.
Whichever route you take, it is worth being aware of a few key aspects that apply to both red and blue cards. Firstly there are 66 CPCS categories, with some of these having up to four subcategories. Knowing which category and subcategory you need, will make the process so much easier. Secondly, to qualify for a red or blue card you must have passed the relevant level (Core, Managerial and Professional or supervisors) Construction Skills Competency Scheme, Health and safety Touch Screen Test (CSCS TST), in the last two years.