Blue NPORS Card

Routes to the Blue 'Competent Operator' NPORS Card

The National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS), is a plant-based accreditation similar to the CPCS scheme. NPORS is recognised on many sites with many of the major contractors due to the new addition to their card scheme, the CSCS logo NPORS card.

Like CPCS, NPORS also have a Red ‘Trained Operator’ card and a Blue ‘Competent Operator’ card” (there is also a third ‘NPORS Traditional’ card which isn’t linked to the NVQ and doesn’t show the CSCS logo generally for those who operate in industry sectors other than construction).

The testing with NPORS differs from CPCS slightly, especially in the theory testing area (for example, the theory test consists of fewer questions than CPCS). The system of upgrading your Red NPORS card to the Blue NPORS card however is much the same as the CPCS system and requires operators to complete a Level 2 NVQ in their specified category of plant.

The Blue ‘Competent Operator’ NPORS card demonstrates that the holder has:

  1. Passed the appropriate CITB health, safety and environment test.
  2. Passed an NPORS theory test.
  3. Passed the relevant NPORS practical test for the specified category of plant equipment.
  4. Completed a competence-based assessment (NVQ) for the specified category of plant equipment and has proven to their assessor that they are a safe and competent operator.
How can I get a Blue NPORS Card?

To access the Blue NPORS card, operators need to already be in possession of the Red (Trained Operator) NPORS card which is accessible once the operator has passed the NPORS training course for a specified category of plant.

In order to upgrade the Red ‘Trained Operator’ NPORS card to the Blue ‘Competent Operator’ NPORS card they will need to achieve a plant operations or NVQ for the specified category.

These qualifications have been developed within the industry to measure an operator’s competence against national standards in the workplace.

What is the NVQ process all about?

The NVQ process isn’t a training course (if you’re looking into the NVQ you will have already completed your training and passed your CPCS practical test at this point). This is about proving that you’re putting your skills into practice, in a real construction environment.

In a nutshell, you’re simply demonstrating to your assessor that you are operating safely and competently, showing them the evidence (documents, photos, videos) that proves it.

All of our Plant and Controlling Lifting Operations NVQs are assessed through a  ‘professional discussion’ assessment with your assessor.

This ‘discussion-style’ assessment method involves no written work or classroom-based elements.

We offer a unique one-day assessment for these qualifications.

The whole assessment is conducted and captured electronically through audio and video recordings which drastically reduces the duration compares with the traditional ‘paper and pen’ NVQ assessments.

In order for the assessment to take place in a single day you will be expected to thoroughly prepare beforehand and have all evidence ready to be presented on the day.

Do I need to pass the CITB Health and Safety test?

Yes. In order to apply for a Blue NPORS card you will also need to have completed the CITB Health Safety & Environment (HS&E) test within 2 years.

This is a short, multiple-choice test designed to ensure learners have a thorough understanding of general health and safety practice on construction sites.

You can book this test online by clicking here.

An NVQ is a UK regulated qualification and therefore does not ever expire. The Blue NPORS card however is valid for five years, after which time you will need to pass the latest CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test in order to renew the card.

How does NPORS compare with CPCS?

CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is the leading competence card scheme within the construction industry. CPCS covers a wide range of construction plant, providing proof that an operator has achieved a recognised level of competence.

The National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) is an alternative to the CPCS scheme. It offers the same accredited training and registration as CPCS, and has become one of the most recognised accredited training schemes in the UK.

One reason that many operators choose the NPORS route over the CPCS route is that NPORS is generally cheaper than CPCS (although NPORS training still ensures compliance with industry standards in the same way that CPCS does).

With NPORS you can complete the training on your own site, with your own machinery, or at the training provider’s site. CPCS training however can only be completed at certified centres.

Although the NPORS route is generally the cheaper option, it’s not as widely accepted at CPCS. As a general rule, If you’re considering working on large contractor’s sites then CPCS may be the option for you (although many of the larger contractors are now accepting the NPORS card). Your CPCS card is much more likely to be accepted by employers, and your training will be more detailed.

If however you just want to work with smaller machinery, or want a low-cost course to get you started, then NPORS might be the one.

It’s probably a good idea to ask your company or (or potential employer if you have a job lined up) if NPORS or CPCS are accepted before making your decision.

Are the NPORS and CSCS cards interchangeable?

Unfortunately not. If you hold a Red ‘Trained Operator’ NPORS card and complete a Level 2 NVQ in the specific category of plant, you can upgrade your Red NPORS card to the Blue ‘Competent Operator’ NPORS card, but you won’t be able to ‘upgrade’ to the Blue CPCS card without first holding the Red CPCS card (and passing the appropriate CPCS training course. 

My Red NPORS card expires soon, can I extend?

Red NPORS card holders have 2 years from the date of issue to complete an NVQ in the specified category of plant. Once the NVQ has been achieved they can upgrade their card to the Blue ‘Competent Operator’ NPORS card.

In the event that a Red NPORS card holder needs to extend their card, NPORS will also extend the registration period for a further 12 months.

In order to do this, Red NPORS card holders must be registered onto an NVQ in the specified category of plant and apply for a 12 month extension with NPORS (click here for more information).

How soon can I register onto an NVQ?

At CADUK, we can provide proof of registration on a plant/lifting operations NVQ the very same day. Once you have been approved to enrol by one of our assessors you can register at any time.

Which NVQs will enable me to apply for the Blue NPORS card?

CADUK offer the following NVQs at Level 2-5 that provide access to the Blue NPORS card:

Check out our latest articles

and Google reviews

The following articles are related to the Plant and Lifting Operations NVQs. Continue further down the page to view some of our Google reviews left by previous learners on these qualifications.
David Andrews MCIOB
David Andrews MCIOB
Doha Metro (Qatar)
Read More
I have completed my NVQ Level 7 in Construction Senior Management and I cannot speak highly enough of all members of their team. They provided me with an excellent service throughout and it was money well spent. I gained a vast amount of knowledge from each completed unit and it has already shown its benefits with instant career progression. Thank you to you all at CADUK.
Neil James MCIOB
Neil James MCIOB
West Midlands Safari Park
Read More
Great service, support and tutorship throughout. I have developed more than I ever expected going through my Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management. I would highly recommend CADUK to anyone wishing to develop themselves and gain a recognised construction based NVQ qualification.
Michael O'Byrne MCIOB
Michael O'Byrne MCIOB
Colmore Tang Construction Ltd
Read More
I recently completed the NVQ Level 7 in Senior Construction Management and immediately went on to get my CSCS Black Management Card. I then successfully applied for MCIOB, Chartered Construction Manager. The support and encouragement I got from the team was fantastic. This has opened up a lot of doors for me and I highly recommend using CADUK.
Ewan Davies-Smith MCIOB
Ewan Davies-Smith MCIOB
Babcock International Group
Read More
I have completed my NVQ Level 7 in Construction Senior Management and I cannot speak highly enough of all members of their team. They provided me with an excellent service throughout and it was money well spent. I gained a vast amount of knowledge from each completed unit and it has already shown its benefits with instant career progression. Thank you to you all at CADUK.
Colin Christian MCIOB
Colin Christian MCIOB
Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Ltd
Read More
Just completed an NVQ7 with CADUK and found the whole process well managed and straightforward. Easy to apply, and the portfolio system allows you to work seamlessly across a number of platforms. Good support and communications throughout from the team at CADUK and the assigned tutor for your course. A great experience and highly recommended for anyone trying to balance study with a full time role.
Darren Allen MCIOB
Darren Allen MCIOB
Bluu Qatar
Read More
The opportunity to study with CADUK provides a platform for the future in the Middle East. It's the most direct route into the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) that is recognised worldwide. For me personally obtaining the Level 7 was money well spent. I achieved a qualification that suited my lifestyle and allowed me to obtain corporate identity within an established institute. Keep up the good work CADUK, you make a difference in people's lives!