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1 August will see all revisions made to the
UK’s largest plant competence scheme

A new look competence card scheme for the plant sector, tailored to industry’s needs will be launched on 1 August 2008, following extensive industry consultation.

Commenting on the change, CPCS Chairman Trevor Gamble says: “After an intense period of consultation with industry last year, the CPCS Management Committee sat down to discuss the suggested changes to the scheme. Over the course of six months we had received feedback from individuals and companies representing over 44,000 employees, had mailed over 11,000 employers and consulted directly with federations and associations. We had also attended twenty-four industry and training road shows. In short, we really got to the bottom of what industry wants from a competence scheme.

The key changes will include

Technical Test
The CPCS Management Committee recognised the need to create a simpler plant competence scheme that worked well for industry. In August 2008 a new scheme will be launched that still maintains the strong standards that have defined the scheme since it began in 2003. A new Technical Test is the new core element which will apply across all categories and routes of entry and will replace the Intermediate Certificate. Content will include practical skills and supporting knowledge tests (which incorporate questions relating to underpinning knowledge, specific category and environment related H&S, and operators’ rights and responsibilities). This will be supported by a training syllabus, which will allow training to be tailored to meet individual needs, and delivered through a variety of channels, including accredited CPCS trainers, in-house trainers, and colleagues.

The S/NVQ will only need to be passed once for a family of categories (grouped into a unit), so if an individual has an NVQ in a 360 excavator below 5 tonnes, if they pass a further CPCS Technical Test on a 180 excavator below 5 tonnes they will automatically be awarded the full blue Competence Card.

Support
To help support the new scheme, CPCS Centres will offer the complete package of services required to support an operator through from the red card application to blue card retention. This includes Health and Safety testing, the CPCS Technical Tests and S/NVQ assessment. Crucially, there will be changes to simplify the scheme and encourage more employers to claim the grant available from CITB-ConstructionSkills. As of August, achievement grants will be available for a CPCS Technical Test pass, a H&S Test pass and an S/NVQ achievement with attendance grants made available to support training through the Training Plan or Short Duration Training.

Training Providers
Under the new Scheme’s rules the role of the CPCS Training Provider will be replaced with a CPCS Centre under contract with CPCS. The CPCS Centres will offer the all the necessary services including H&S testing, on-site Technical Tests and S/NVQ Assessments and they will be required to provide a suitable area at the Test Centre to undertake the practical test. Again, the application process is expected to open in May 2008. The process will be open to everyone and existing CPCS Training Providers will be contacted and invited to apply.

Instructors and Testers
Under the new scheme, the role of the CPCS Instructor is to be divided into two: Trainer and Tester. CPCS Trainers will be accredited as qualified trainers and listed on the CPCS website as a source of training. Likewise, CPCS Testes will be accredited as qualified testers and be able to deliver the CPCS Technical Test when registered with a CPCS Centre. The application process to become a CPCS Trainer or Tester will open in May 2008, and, like the CPCS Training Providers, will be open to everyone who meets the scheme requirements. Existing CPCS Instructors will be invited to confirm whether they wish to transfer into the new Scheme as a Trainer or Tester.

Trevor Gamble, CPCS Chairman, explains the next steps: “We are now in the process of producing a guidance document to help elaborate on further on the more technical changes in finer detail, which will be available to industry shortly. I’m extremely pleased with the response we’ve had for this consultation, and I’m confident that the new scheme will be a vast improvement on the old; demonstrating that this is the competence card scheme for the plant sector – now tailored to industry’s needs.”

Visit www.cskills.org/cpcs for further information on the scheme.

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