Changes to the Plant NVQ Scheme Ahead

Following consultation with the Construction Plant sector including Construction Plant Association (CPA), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) and Build UK, ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council has withdrawn the use of simulation as an assessment route to achieve Plant and Plant-related qualifications, unless there is a very substantial reason that site assessment is not possible. This is stated within the Assessment Strategy for Construction and the Built Environment – Plant Operations and Lifting Operations dated 1st January 2018.

Cskills Awards is required to comply with the Assessment Strategy, as are all other Awarding Organisations, and for this reason the ability to achieve our Plant and Plant-related qualifications by Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) will be withdrawn on the 31 December 2017.

From 1 January 2018, the new Assessment Strategy includes the use of workplace observation supported by video evidence ensuring workplace competence has been demonstrated. It is hoped that Cskills Awards Centres who regularly used the EWPA route will be able to adjust their processes to assess using video evidence to comply with the new rules. We will also be looking to gain approval from the industry body for some simulation where onsite assessment is not practicable.

All Awarding Organisations in the sector have agreed to implement the new Assessment Strategy on 1st January 2018.

This does not affect the EWPA status of qualifications outside of the Plant designation which will carry on as they do now.


What does this mean for Plant Operatives?

In simple terms gaining your NVQ that is a requirement of many card schemes including CPCS and CSR will not be as efficient and as cost effective as it currently is.

With the new On Site Assessment Route delegates will now have to complete a number of On Site Assessments (OSAT) to build up a portfolio of their skills in order to gain their NVQ. This will entail an Assessor visiting the delegates site to witness them carrying out various site based working activities with the item of plant they are gaining the NVQ in. This may take from a few days to a number of months to complete depending on the activities being carried out by the operative at the time.

Currently with the EWPA route delegates can complete a simulated assessment at our training centre meaning that they can gain the Level 2 NVQ in Plant Operations in 1 day.

This will not be the case with OSAT, so make sure that you complete any NVQ's in plant operations before 31st December 2017 as the cost, time frame and work load will all significantly increase for the delegate under the OSAT route.


What if I'm upgrading from a red to a blue card?

Red to Blue card upgrades will also have to go down the OSAT route from January 2018. If you complete the NVQ before December 2017 you can still go down the EWPA Route.


What if I'm currently unemployed and can't get on a site to complete my OSAT?

At present Cskills have no solution to this problem. In the interim it is not possible for delegates that do not have access to a site to complete a level 2 NVQ in Plant Operations from January 2018.

If you fall into this situation it is essential that you complete your NVQ before 31st December 2017 under the EWPA Route.


If you have any queries or want any further information please contact us on 02892639459 or


Now is the time to act if you need a Blue CSR or CPCS Plant operators card