The Construction Industry Training Board has recently added to long-standing uncertainty and confusion about card schemes by deciding to divest the dominant Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS).
Plant operator licences are not a legal requirement, unlike a driving licence, but it is necessary to demonstrate competency. Various industry schemes have cards that validate the competencies of the holder, with CPCS backed by the major contractors as an industry-owned scheme.
They have always generated heated debate.
In 2014 the major contractors agreed to also recognise the privately owned National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS), theoretically making an NPORS card as valid as a Construction Plant Competency Scheme (CPCS) card for most general types of construction machinery, including diggers, dump trucks and cranes.
When the CITB announced in August that it now longer wanted to manage CPCS, this stoked new concerns among the industry about the implications. The preferred bidder for CPCS is the NOCN Group, an awarding organisation that offers a range of construction-based qualifications, and was also the buyer in 2017 for CITB’s CSkills Awards.
The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has already sought views from its members via a questionnaire about how card schemes are used and viewed. Its next step is to allow others to share their views on plant-based card schemes via a series of open meetings across the country. With new card schemes offering plant certification entering the construction sector, the aim of the meetings is to ‘encourage debate’ on what should be the important elements for a card scheme, the CPA says. In truth, debate will not need much encouragement. More crucial is the establishment of some kind of consensus on key principles of competency schemes.
The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) is hosting a series of open meetings around the country in January 2019.
The meetings are on the following dates:
- Wednesday 16th January 2019 – Reading
- Thursday 17th January 2019 – Solihull
- Wednesday 23rd January 2019 – Leeds
- Thursday 24th January 2019 – Stirling
The meetings are free to attend but spaces are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. Registration for each regional meeting can be made at www.cpa.uk.net/cardschemesopenmeetings
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