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CPCS Red To Blue Card Explained

If you are in possession of a RED CPCS TRAINED OPERATOR card, you will be aware that it is valid for 3 years.

Within this period you must successfully complete a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in every category that you hold on your RED CPCS TRAINED OPERATOR card and then apply to CPCS with copies of your NVQ certificates in order to gain a BLUE CPCS COMPETENT OPERATOR card.

To be able to register and complete an NVQ you must meet these requirements:

  • Be over 19 years old
  • Be in full-time employment (20 hours or more a week)
  • Have no more than 5 GCSE's Grade A to C
  • Be a UK resident

If you meet this criteria then we at Mainstream will be able to enrol you on to an NVQ and provide advice and guidance on the application process for gaining your BLUE card.

Please note:

You cannot refresh your RED CPCS TRAINED OPERATOR card at any point during of after the 3 year life of your card.

If your card is due to expire shortly and you feel you may not have adequate time to complete the NVQ(s), then provided you register for the NVQ(s) you can obtain a 6 month extension on your RED CPCS TRAINED OPERATOR card.


In the construction industry there are two main awarding bodies for plant machinery licences, these are the National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) and the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS).

NPORS cards are obtained by attending a course for any plant/machinery that your require and taking both a theory and practical test. Upon passing your test you will hold a full National Plant licence that is accepted at most construction sites except Major Contract Group sites.

To obtain a full CPCS card you have to attend a training course provided at a training organisation for the plant category you require then contact your local CPCS test centre and book at theory test. Once you've passed the theory test you can book your practical test. Upon passing the practical test you will then receive a CPCS RED TRAINED OPERATOR card that is valid for three years. During the three years you must complete an NVQ level 2 for each category of plant machinery that you hold on your TRAINED OPERATOR card and apply for a CPCS BLUE COMPETENT OPERATOR card. The blue card is valid for 5 years, at the end of this period you will need to apply for a 5 year renewal with the CPCS.

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