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Step 2 – Getting The Blue Card

The Construction Plant Competence Scheme’s (CPCS) Blue Competent Operator Card, referred to as the blue card, builds on work done to obtain a red one.

During the two-year validity of your Red Trained Operator Card, which is non-renewable, you need to undertake the relevant NVQ to upgrade your current Red Trained Operator card to the Blue Competent Operator Card.

NVQs are achieved in your respective field of expertise and demonstrate your skills and in-depth knowledge of all the CPCS standards along with professional experience.

After achieving the relevant construction NVQ, you can obtain the Blue Competent Operator Card which is valid for 5 years and can be renewed through the various assessment process.

The blue CPCS card is the ‘Competent Operator Card’ and confirms that the card holder has demonstrated:

  1. the skill to operate plant machinery on the type of plant evidenced by a relevant NVQ
  2. has been tested to the CPCS standards and signed off as competent operator by a qualified assessor
  3. an appropriate level of health and safety awareness through HS&E test
  4. sufficient underpinning knowledge to pass a CPCS theory test.

At SB Skills Solutions, we offer a variety of CPCS training services and are also offering the corresponding NVQ for you to complete the whole process with ease.

Click here to view a comprehensive list of NVQ courses

How to obtain a blue competent operator card

The process to get a blue competent operator card can be broken down into the following steps:

Step One: Possess a Red Trained Operator Card

Operators needs to be in possession of a Red CPCS card and is experienced enough in the chosen category. To gain a Red CPCS Trained Operator card, the operator needs to:

  • Pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) test within the past two years
  • Pass a CPCS theory test in your chosen category (and within two years of a successful HS&E test)
  • Pass a CPCS practical test in your chosen category after passing the theory test

Step Two: Enrol for a relevant NVQ

An operator’s red card must be valid to secure acceptance on an NVQ course. Red Card with no longer than 12 months after expiry is needed to get enrolled on to an NVQ.

Click here for guidance on what to do if the red card has expired

Step Three: Meeting NVQ’s requirements

Once enrolled, the candidate will be inducted onto the relevant NVQ, which includes sections on H&S, CPCS logbooks and skills scans as well as discussions on assessments.

Once inducted, SB Skills will register the candidate with an awarding body and extend the red card if it is within grace period, if no extension has been used before and the card is not outside the expiry grace period.

Step Four: Completing a portfolio

Each candidate is assigned a qualified assessor that attends a site when the relevant ‘live work’ is taking place.

Once the assessor is on site with the candidate, they will ask the candidates to demonstrate pre-start checks, complete a professional discussion and live observations of the work being carried out with the relevant plant.

Once the assessor is satisfied that the candidate has provided enough evidence for the portfolio and completed all the activities required then the candidate will be signed off.

The CPCS test centre will then request and process the application for the competent blue card, provided the candidate has the taken the H&S touch screen test within the last two years.

How long is the blue card valid for?

The CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card is valid for five years and can be renewed. 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.

Click here for more information about the renewal of the blue CPCS card.

SB Skills Solutions offers a range of CPCS-approved training services, as well as the corresponding NVQ course, to enable you to get a blue card.

Have any questions? Give us a call today on 01695 558420 or send an email to

Alternatively, complete the contact form on our website and a member of our team will be in touch.