The importance of owning a CPCS card
The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is a card scheme that helps to prove workers’ operating skills as well as their health and safety awareness. Braden Connolly explains the scheme’s relevance in today’s challenging and fast moving world of plant operators.
Braden Connolly Head of testing and card services, CITB-ConstructionSkills
PCS HAS been around since 2003 and, during that time, has grown to become the largest and most widely recognised card scheme in the
construction and related sectors such as skip hire operators and waste management. Over 200,000 workers currently hold a
valid CPCS card and the UK’s operatives are considered among the most highly skilled in the world for most categories of plant. However, we recognise that the plant sector
has faced many challenges in recent years. According to our most recent Construction
Skills Network (CSN) forecasts, those challenges will continue for the next couple of years at least. That’s why CITB-ConstructionSkills
regularly consults with employers to listen to their views and to make updates to our card schemes so that they continue to be fit-for- purpose. One change that we’ve made recently to
CPCS means that people working in associated sectors are able to transfer their skills between industry sectors much more easily. For example, CPCS and the Mineral
Products Qualifications Council (MPQC) – a body which sits on the CPCSmanagement committee – have agreed a process whereby operators can now transfer their categories between schemes, meaning that plant firms can benefit from a wider pool of expertise and allow further employment opportunities for plant operators.
This solution, which we are looking to
replicate for other affiliated industries such as the lorry loader sector, is just one example of how CPCS adds value to industry, but there are many more. With regard to cost, the price of a CPCS card
is down to the individual’s circumstance. For example, if someone has not had a card before
then they would need to do their theory and practical tests. The cost of the card is absorbed into the fee of the test package in this instance. To renew a card, the cost is around £25.
• For more information on issues such as test specifications, guidance notes and test centres, visit www.cskills.org/cpcs
FACT FILE: HOW CPCS BENEFITS THE PLANT INDUSTRY
1. CPCS is run for the industry by the industry. Policy and direction for CPCS is set by the management committee, which comprises organisations from across the plant sector and the scheme is managed by CITB- ConstructionSkills. The management committee includes the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA); the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC), the Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI), and Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA), as well as representation from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). It does more than any other scheme to help employers meet their CDM ACoP (Construction Design and Management) Regulations and ACoP (Approved code of practice) obligations The CDMregulations, revised in 2007, were an important step for firms in the construction industry, to make sure that health and safety was integrated into all stages of notifiable contracts, and to reduce employer liability for claims of corporate manslaughter.
The need for proven competency through NVQ or SVQ achievement has been reinforced in the ACoP.
Changes that were made to CPCS in August 2008 mean that it is the only plant card scheme that continues to assist employers meet these revised obligations, helping them keep on the right side of the law. 3. CPCS is accepted on all construction sites.
CPCS is the only card scheme that is accepted on all major construction sites. This means that it is the best way to make sure that plant operators can work on any construction or related project. You can claim financial support.
For employers who have levy registered 16 October 27 2011 www. r e c y c l i n gwa s t ewo r l d . c o . u k
with CITB-ConstructionSkills, financial help is available to cover CPCS technical test costs. For example, you can claim a grant of up to £60 for the theory section and up to £410 for the practical part (depending on category). CPCS covers all plant categories. Plant is a varied and diverse part of the construction industry and allied industries, and there are more than 52 different categories. CPCS covers many more categories than most schemes, even for some very specialised equipment and many more are being introduced over the next few years. Help is at hand locally.We have 196 test centres that are based across the country; all of which can provide assistance in booking the different elements of CPCS testing, through a single point of contact. CITB-ConstructionSkills also has area monitors for further assistance. CPCS gives people one-to-one attention We believe that skills and understanding can only be judged through in-depth one-to-one assessment, and all our tests are carried out on this basis.
8. Test standards are high. The CPCS theory tests and technical tests have been developed to make sure that plant operators are rigorously tested for both skills, knowledge and understanding including an operator’s role and responsibilities, and ensure that the standards are relevant to the construction and allied sectors. Training and test specifications are available free of charge from the CPCS website allowing employers to prepare their operators for testing and for this reason, the average pass rate for the test is over 90%.
9. We make sure CPCS testing is kept at a high and consistent level by ensuring that all tests are notified in advance and are subject to spot checks by the dedicated team of monitors. You can find out more at www.cskills.org
Recycling & WA S T E W O R L D RWW
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