CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is an industry standard identification card that an individual can posses to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge and competence to work as a plant operator in the construction industry.
Established in 2003 at the request of employers, the scheme is designed to apply common standards of work practice for all plant operators. Here are 5 reasons why every plant operator in the UK should be CPCS trained:
1. HEALTH & SAFETY
One of the elements associated with CPCS is health and safety awareness. In 2016/17 the construction industry accounted for the most fatal injuries to workers in the UK. These injuries included being struck by a moving vehicle or object, being trapped by something overturning or collapsing, and being in contact with moving machinery.
Any operative looking to achieve or renew their CPCS card must have a valid health, safety and environment test, within the past 2 years. This element of the scheme, combined with demonstrating competence during the theoretical and practical assessments, demonstrates to employers that you are safe and competent worker.
2. PROOF OF SKILLS
The UK infrastructure plan, an increase in demand for new housing, and the importance of embracing new development methods are combining to create demand for higher skilled workers. It is estimated that after Brexit, the UK will lose 175,000 EU workers – or 8% of the sectors workforce. As a result, it is now vital for the sector to attract a new generation of workers to ensure the continued growth and development of the industry.
CPCS training provides workers with the knowledge and skills to safely and competently operate plant machinery. Operatives who achieve a Trained Operator card (also known as the CPCS Red Card) have demonstrated a level of core skills, knowledge and understanding that can be applied in the workplace.
3. FUTURE QUALIFICATIONS
Annual employment growth is projected to average 1.1% a year and by 2020 the construction workforce is expected to be around 2.73 million. Over 230,000 new workers are needed in the next five years which creates opportunities for trained operatives to extend their qualifications to increase earning capacity and improve job prospects.
A construction plant operator can upgrade their CPCS Trained Operator card (Red Card) to a CPCS Competent Operator card (Blue Card) by demonstrating higher levels of health, safety and environment awareness, and advanced operating abilities, evidenced by an NVQ. This provides operatives with an opportunity to personally develop their skills in the sector.
4. INCREASED EARNING CAPACITY
The hourly rate for plant operators in the UK ranges from £8 – £30ph, with the average salary for Plant Operators currently at £32,143 (£16.72 per hour). A construction plant operator who can demonstrate competence in more than one CPCS category of plant, or demonstrate more practical working experience on one CPCS category of plant, is likely to earn a higher hourly rate of pay than a plant operator without a CPCS card.
5. BETTER JOB PROSPECTS
When it comes to skills and labour the UK is facing a shortfall to keep up with demand. This shortfall is likely to increase competition in the recruitment sector and provide skilled plant operators with greater opportunities to find better jobs with higher levels of job security and higher rates of pay.