NPORS or CPCS: Which is the Right Choice for Plant Operators?

Posted on written by Marvin

NPORS or CPCS: Which is the right choice for plant operators? Project Skills Solutions Blog

When it comes to operating heavy machinery, having the right qualifications is essential. If you are seeking a recognised qualification in plant operations, you might have heard of NPORS or CPCS and wondered if one was better than the other or what one would be best to choose.

NPORS and CPCS are the two main qualifications in the UK for operating construction plant machinery: NPORS (National Plant Operators Registration Scheme) and the CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme). While both qualifications are recognised in the industry, there are some key differences between them that you might want to consider before committing to one or the other.

What is the NPORS Qualification?

The National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) is a certification scheme for plant operators. They established it in 1992 as an alternative to the CPCS scheme, and over time, the construction industry has recognised it. NPORS certification is awarded by accredited training providers. This means that the scheme’s standards have assessed them to be competent to deliver training and assessments.

One of the main differences between NPORS and CPCS is that NPORS offers a more flexible approach to training and certification. NPORS provides certification for a wider range of plant machinery, including specialist equipment, and allows for on-site assessments. This means that it may be easier to achieve certification with NPORS, particularly if you work in a niche or specialist area of the industry. If this seems like the qualification which would suit you best, you can browse NPORS courses and select a plant category to start your journey.

NPORS now offer a NPORS CSCS Blue Competent Operator Card. This card has the CSCS logo on it and a QR code. The QR code means that your qualification can be instantly checked on site.

See below the route to get a NPORS CSCS card.

What is the CPCS Qualification?

The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is a qualification scheme for plant operators. It was established by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Many contractors and employers working on construction sites, particularly those that require heavy machinery, require their employees to have CPCS certification.

The CPCS scheme focuses on plant machinery commonly used in the construction industry, such as excavators, bulldozers, and cranes. It also offers a structured approach to training and assessment, with standardised testing and a tiered system for achieving qualifications. This means that achieving CPCS certification may take longer than NPORS certification. Generally, CPCS is accepted on any construction site and is the most widely recognised qualification for plant operators. If this seems like the qualification which would suit you best, you can browse CPCS courses and select a plant category to start your journey.

See the route to achieving a CPCS Competent Operator Card below.

Which One Should I Choose?

Deciding whether to pursue NPORS or CPCS certification depends on 3 main factors:

  • The machinery you will be operating
  • Requirements of the employer or main contractors on site
  • Your career goals

In general, if you are working in a niche area of the industry, or if you require certification for specialist equipment, NPORS may be the better option. On the other hand, if you are working on construction sites or need certification for commonly used machinery, CPCS may be a better choice.

The industry does recognise both NPORS and CPCS as qualifications. They both provide a pathway to a career as a plant operator. The key is to choose the one that best fits your needs and career goals, and only you can really make that decision. However, if you would like to discuss your options with one of our team, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 0213 263.

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Project Skills Solutions have been providing NRSWA training to individuals and companies since 2004. Our team are trained to give you the very best advice in your course selection and focussed on customer service.
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