FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our frequently asked questions page. We’ve tried to supply as much information as possible about the training and card schemes but if we can’t answer your question then please contact us

General questions:

How much training will I need?
Do I need a driving licence to drive a digger on the road?
Do I need to be able to read and write?
What if English is my second language?

CSCS – Construction Skills Competence Scheme:

What is the CSCS test?
How do I take a test?
How can I practice for my test?

CPCS – Construction Plant Competence Scheme:

What is CPCS?
What is the cost of a CPCS card?
How old do I have to be?
What types of CPCS card are there?
How do i get my red CPCS card?
How do i get my blue CPCS card?
What’s involved in a CPCS test?
What is the difference between Red and Blue CPCS card?
How many CPCS cards do i need?
My CPCS card expired! What can I do?

How much training will i need?

The amount of training you require will depend on the machine category and your experience. A candidate with no previous experience would require 10 days of 360 excavator training or 3 days of forward tipping dumper training before taking the relevant CPCS test.

If you have other machine experience then sometimes the skills can be transferred and we can reduce the length of your course to save you money!

Novice course durations can be found on the CPCS page.

Do I need a driving licence to drive a digger?

In the UK you need a driving licence to drive the digger on the road. You don’t require a licence to operate on a construction site.

In General to drive on the road:
If the machine has wheels (Forward tipping dumper, Telehandler, JCB 3CX) you’ll need a standard car licence (Category B)
If the machine has tracks (360 Excavator, Dozer) you’ll need Category B + H
If the machine has rollers (Ride on roller) you’ll need Category B + G

There are other laws concerning the operators age, MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) and carriage of goods that make this subject slightly more complicated. Don’t worry we’ll cover it on your course!

Do i need to be able to read and write?

Basic literacy skills will help on your course but are not a requirement. The CPCS theory test is verbal (you don’t have to write anything down) but there are 2 questions on every test where the candidate has to find information in the machines operator manual.

What if English is my second language?

You can contact CPCS in order to arrange an interpreter for your CPCS theory test.

What is the CSCS test?

CSCS stands for the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. The CSCS touchscreen test is the industry standard test that most construction sites require before they’ll let you work there. (Yes, even with a shovel!) Passing this test proves you have a general level of health and safety knowledge. This is also required to be in date within 2 years before you can sit your CPCS theory test, but don’t worry you can take it here!

The CSCS test is made up of 40 multiple choice questions of which you must answer 35 correctly in 45 minutes. With a little practice you shouldn’t find it difficult.

How do I take a test?

A CSCS test can be booked through the CSCS website or FREE with us if you’re booking a machine test or course!

How can I practice for my CSCS test?

Revision materials such as a test CD or bookcan be purchased from most online bookshops or your local WHSmith. If your taking a course at our training centre we can give you the required training to pass your CSCS test during your stay.

What is CPCS?

CPCS is the Construction Plant Competence Scheme. It was formed in 2003 with the aim of applying common standards to all plant operators. Since then there has been over 280,000 cards issued across over 60 categories of plant and machinery. If you work in the construction industry then you’ll know that this is the most widely accepted proof of skills card available. The official scheme booklet for operators should answer any questions about the scheme and can be downloaded from the cskills website

What is the cost of a CPCS card?

It all depends on the amount of training required and the chosen machine category. Contact us for a quote.

How old do i have to be?

The age requirement for a CPCS card is 16 years old as you need a National Insurance number to register with the scheme. 

What types of CPCS card are there?

There are a number of cards available but the operator tickets are: Trained Operator (Red) and  Competent Operator (Blue) The CPCS scheme booklet for operators has a lot of useful information on the cards and routes.

How do i get my red CPCS card?

You need to complete a CSCS Health and safety Touchscreen test followed by CPCS theory and practical tests.

How do i get my blue CPCS card?

Firstly achieve your red card then whilst your in work you need to complete an NVQ/QCF award.

Whats involved in a CPCS test?

The test is in two parts, a theory element and a practical element. You must pass the theory before you can take the practical.

CPCS Theory test

The theory test must be completed first and involves 1 to 1 verbal questions with a CPCS tester. The amount of questions varies from category to category. You can find the CPCS theory test questions at cskills or on our CPCS page. You need to score above 80% in the test to pass and you cant take your answers in with you!

CPCS Practical test

The CPCS practical test is to prove that you are a safe operator. It is not unlike a car driving test with Major and Minor points. Score a Major fault and you receive a mandatory fail. You are allowed up to 8 minor points. Test times range from 1 hour (forward tipping dumper/ ride-on-roller) to 3 hours (360 excavator/ 180 Excavator). We always recommend that even experienced operators take some training to prepare for their test. Its not how good you are its how safe you are. The CPCS practical test specifications can be downloaded from the cskills website.

What is the difference between Red and Blue CPCS card?

Red card is for trained operator, Blue card is competent operator. After achieving your red card you have 2 years in which to start an NVQ/QCF. If you don’t do this your red card will expire and you will be back to square one! When you have completed your NVQ/QCF you will receive your blue card in which you have 5 years to log 500 hours on each category of machine you hold. More information in the CPCS scheme booklet for operators.

How many CPCS cards do i need?

Just one. All the categories you hold will be on the back of this card with their expiry dates. If you take any tests in future the categories you gain will be added to the card.

My CPCS card expired! What can I do?

Depending on how long ago your card expired we may be able to help. Please contact us.

Leave a Reply