CPCS/QCF FAQ


What is CPCS?

CPCS is the most recognized card scheme in the plant industry and aims to keep a record of workers and allied industries that have achieved a high level of operating ability and competence, and to provide a means of identification. It also aims to raise health and safety standards through a programme of health and safety testing to prove workers have met minimum standards.

What are the Course Elements?

  • Classroom session (foundation training only)
  • Practical learning and training (foundation only)
  • Theory test
  • Practical test

What are the Entry/Card Routes?

Trained Operator Card (Red) : Valid for 2 years

For novice operators wishing to enter the scheme and for experienced operators wishing to enter the scheme without completing an NVQ.

Competence Card (Blue) : Valid for 5 years

For experienced operators wishing to progress through or enter the scheme.

Upgrading from red card to blue card

Operator needs to complete NVQ/QCF relevant to the category of plant they operate.

Working directly to blue card

The operator needs to complete NVQ/QCF on category of plant, then complete the CPCS Technical test both theory and practical.

Renewing Blue Card

The operator must complete the CPCS renewal test in the on the category of plant they operate, then demonstrate ongoing experience either through the log book route, on site assessment or practical test. This depends on the operators experience at time of renewing the blue card. Our centre coordinator can advise on this, please call for further information.

All operators must have passed the CITB Construction skills Health and Safety test within 2 years of the date of the application being received. We have facilities at our centre for the operator to take this test on the same day.

Revision study notes for the theory test are available on acceptance of an order. You can download the questions form our link page for CPCS.


QCF What is it?

The Qualifications and Credit Framework, or QCF, is a new educational framework designed to make vocational qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland easier to understand, and simpler to use. By the end of 2010, the QCF will replace the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and all existing qualifications under the NQF will be transferred to QCF, including the full suite of National Vocational Qualifications. (NVQ).

How does QCF work?

The QCF provides a framework to support learner as they progress. There are varying levels ranging from Entry Level to Level 8. Credits are allocated based on the amount of learning required to complete the qualification. This also defines the qualification size Award, Certificate or Diploma.

Will I get an NVQ under QCF?

With QCF, the brand NVQ will still feature in the title of all competence qualifications, however the qualification type will be referred to as an Award, Certificate or Diploma. For example:

With NQF:

Level 2 in Plant Operations

With QCF:

Level 2 NVQ Certificate or Diploma in Plant Operations

Why NVQ Certificate and NVQ Diplomas?

The main benefit is a nationally recognized qualification. These qualifications take into account of your past and present practical experience and knowledge.

The qualifications gained can be used through out your working life and can be taken from site to site with the knowledge that it shows the employer you are competent and able to work to recognized industry standards.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit. Qualifications can be obtained at any stage in your career without having to go back into college or attending a course.

What about previous qualifications/work evidence?

Awarding Organisations have agreed work carried out in the past can contribute to and qualify the person for any of the units within a qualification.

For example: existing qualifications or evidence of prior work could be photos, videos, reports etc. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and it aims to make your previous experience count.