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How to get a CPCS operator card

A worker can apply to get one of the following cards:

  • Red Trained Operator Card - it is a two-year card which cannot be renewed, but may be extended for a limited time. The card confirms that a worker has a level of core plant operating skills, knowledge and understanding for the workplace.
  • Blue Competent Operator Card - it is a card which lasts for five years and can be renewed before it expires. The card confirms that a worker has demonstrated all the necessary plant operating skills and knowledge gained through various theory and practical tests and achievement of the relevant NVQs or SVQs.

If you held a MPQC or SOLAS card, you can apply to transfer your qualification to a CPCS card. See Transferring MPQC or SOLAS cards to CPCS cards below.

If you have lost or had your CPCS card stolen, see Replacing a lost or stolen CPCS card below for instructions.

Red Trained Operator Card

Red Trained Operator Card

What is a Red Trained Operator Card?

The Red Trained Operator Card confirms a level of core skills, knowledge and understanding that can be applied in the workplace until measured as competent against national standards.

Experienced and able operators may hold a trained operator card whilst being measured against national standards through an SVQ or NVQ.

It’s a two year card that may be extended - this card is non-renewable.

To get this card you need to:

  1. Carry out any training necessary to bring you up to the standard required to enable you to pass the CPCS technical test. This can be delivered by a trainer.
  2. Pass the relevant CITB health, safety and environment test.
  3. Achieve the CPCS theory test (within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test).
  4. Achieve the CPCS practical test (within six months of the CPCS theory test and within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test).
  5. Both CPCS theory and practical tests are delivered by an approved CPCS test centre.

On achievement of the CPCS practical test, the CPCS test centre will request the CPCS Trained Operator (Red) card on your behalf.

If you narrowly didn't pass the CPCS theory or practical test(s), you could appeal against the result. Please contact the CPCS test centre where you took the test(s).

Blue Competent Operator Card

Blue Competent Operator Card

What is a Blue Competent Operator Card?

The Blue Competent Operator Card confirms you have demonstrated a level of  health, safety and environment awareness through the CITB health, safety and environment test - underpinning knowledge through a CPCS theory test, operating ability through a CPCS practical test, and operating competence on the type of plant evidenced by a SVQ or NVQ.

The Blue Competent Operator Card has a five-year life and is renewable.

To get this card you need to:

  • Provide proof of achievement of the SVQ or NVQ for the category being applied for to the CPCS Test Centre.
  • Pass the relevant CITB health, safety and environment test.
  • Achieve the CPCS theory test (within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test).
  • Achieve the CPCS practical test (within six months of the CPCS theory test and within two years of the CITB health, safety and environment test).
  • Both CPCS theory and practical tests are delivered by an accredited CPCS test centre.

On achievement of the CPCS practical test, the CPCS test centre will request the competent operator card on your behalf.

On receipt of your first competent operator card, you will be sent a CPCS logbook. The role of the logbook is to record life-long learning and evidence towards the renewal of a competent operator card.

Effective from 28 March 2018, the new Telescopic Handler 360º Slew (A77) category replaces the Telescopic Handler All Sizes inc. 360º Slew (A17D).

The new standard has been enhanced and now covers travelling with suspended loads and will therefore not require a separate endorsement under this category. This new category also includes working tasks around hoist rope use which was previously not in the standard for A17D. 

What an operator needs to do:

  • If you hold A17D endorsement on your card, you will receive a letter with information about the new A77 category and instructions on how to get it.
  • If you hold a current Blue Competent Operator card with A17D on it, once you have completed the Transitional Assessment you will automatically get A77 on your Competent Operator card.
  • When you renew your Blue Competent Operator card, you will need to take RT17, which covers both A17 and A77 categories.
  • You can also do an On-Site Assessment for A17 if you do not have enough hours in your logbook.

Transferring MPQC or SOLAS cards to a CPCS card

If you hold a Materials Products Qualification Council (MPQC) card, you can transfer certain categories onto a CPCS Trained or Competent Operator card. The type of CPCS card you get will depend on whether you have a relevant NVQ or SVQ.

The CPCS Scheme Booklet for Operators (PDF, 1MB) has full details about the CPCS cards and how to transfer an MPQC card.

MPQC card holders with a NVQ or SVQ

If you have a NVQ or SVQ for specific plant equipment or categories and want to transfer your card, you need to:

You will be issued with the Blue Competent Operator Card when you've successfully transferred across to the scheme.

MPQC card holders without a NVQ or SVQ

If you do not have a NVQ or SVQ for any of the plant equipment or categories and you want to transfer your card, you need to:

You will be issued with the Red Trained Operator Card when you've successfully transferred across to the scheme.

If you hold a An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna (SOLAS) card, you can transfer certain categories onto a CPCS Blue Competent Operator card.

To do this, you need to:

The application fee to transfer your card is normally included in the CPCS practical test fee. Contact your CPCS test centre for further details.

Once we've received your application, it usually takes 15 working days to process and produce your card.

Transferring a CPCS card to a SOLAS card

You can also transfer your CPCS Blue Competent Operator card to SOLAS.

To do this, you need to:

Replacing a lost or stolen CPCS card

If you've lost or have had your CPCS card stolen, you can replace it by:

  • calling our helpline on 0844 815 7274 to apply for a replacement card
  • please make sure you have your debit or credit card ready to pay the £25 fee to replace it
    • the fee is not refundable and covers the cost of processing and issuing you a replacement card.
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