The Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card is an ID and competence card provided by the CPCS which demonstrates that an individual has met certain health and safety requirements and that they are qualified in their occupation as a plant worker. It is the next level up from the Red Trained Operator Card and is the CPCS card you progress to once you have completed a SVQ or NVQ qualification.
In this article, we go through everything you need to know about the CPCS Blue Card including how to apply, how to renew and what qualifications are needed to be eligible for the card.
How do I apply for a Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card?
There are two routes to applying for a Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card. If you do not have an NVQ or SVQ qualification the route to take is through first gaining the Red CPCS Trained Operator Card and then progress to the Blue CPCS card once you have passed your vocational qualification (for more on how to do this, click here). The other route is to work directly towards a CPCS Blue Card.
If you already have an NVQ or SVQ in a related field and wish to apply directly for the Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card, these are the steps you need to take:
- Obtain evidence of your qualification (either SVQ or NVQ): this can be a copy of the certificate which needs to be shown when you undertake the CPCS Technical Tests at a CPCS Test Centre.
- CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test: the CSCS Test assesses your health and safety awareness and to ensure that you meet a required standard. This assessment can be undertaken at a CITB approved test centre and needs to have been passed within the last 2 years.
- CPCS Theory Test: you then need to take the Theory Test that is relevant to the category of plant or equipment that you operate. This test can be taken at an approved CPCS Test Centre.
- CPCS Practical Test: once you have passed the Theory Test you then need to take the relevant CPCS Practical Test for your chosen category within 6 months.
- Complete the CPCS Application Form F1/1: when you have passed the practical test, the CPCS Test Centre will provide you with this application form in order to process your application for a Blue CPCS Card.
How much does the CPCS Blue Card Cost?
The cost of the Blue CPCS card itself is covered within the fees you pay for the CPCS Theory and Practical Tests. The prices for these tests vary and depend on what category you are being assessed on, and the test centre where you complete your test.
How do I add a category to my CPCS Blue Card?
As you progress in your career as a plant operative it is likely that you will want to expand your skill-set and make the most of training and development opportunities. If you do train in a new category, then you will need to be assessed in this category so that your Blue CPCS card can be updated. The process for this is the same as the process for applying for a Blue CPCS card directly. You will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a SVQ or NVQ related to the new category, pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test (within the last 2 years) and pass the relevant CPCS Theory and Practical tests. Once you have done this, the new category will be listed on your Blue CPCS card.
What is the CPCS Logbook?
When you receive your first Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card you will be issued with a CPCS Logbook. This is intended to promote life-long learning throughout your career in the industry and is the place to record all of the operating tasks, testing, training and employment that you have completed. It is not an essential requirement that you use the logbook, but it is a helpful record to have when renewing your card (and is the cheapest renewal option).
How do I renew a CPCS Blue Card?
The CPCS Blue Card lasts for 5 years and, after this time, you will be required to renew your card to demonstrate that you still meet the required health, safety and competency requirements in order to undertake your role. Here are the steps you need to take to renew a Blue CPCS Card:
- Pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test: you will be required to take the CSCS Test again to ensure your health and safety knowledge is up to date.
- CPCS Renewal Test: you will then need to take a CPCS Renewal Test for each category of plant you operate. To find out which modules you need to prepare for check the CPCS Module Matcher.
- Select one of the following: you will then need to provide one of the following:
- Provide evidence of a Logbook which should record at least 300 hours of activity per category you work on;
- Complete an on-site assessment;
- Complete a CPCS Practical Test.
The cost of the renewal process for the Blue CPCS card is covered in the CPCS Renewal Test fees.
The Blue CPCS Competent Operator Card evidences that the cardholder has met health and safety requirements, holds the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge in their chosen category, and has completed either a SVQ or NVQ qualification in their chosen field. This card is the next step up from the Trained Operator Card as an individual progresses through the CPCS scheme. The Blue CPCS card is valid for 5 years and requires cardholders to undergo further assessments when renewing the card to ensure they still meet the skill level and health and safety requirements of the role.