CPCS Emergency COVID-19 Card


NOCN Job Cards is aware that some individuals in the future will have difficulty renewing or updating their CPCS cards due to issues caused by COVID-19.

Difficulties in renewing may take the form of not being able to make HSE tests or CPCS renewal tests as Pearson VUE and many Internet Test Centers are closed. We also know it will be difficult to complete Vocational Qualifications in the next few months.

The industry has welcomed CPCS and NOCN Job Cards’ advice on the relaxation by sites on cards that have expired. On March 16th CPCS recommend to employers that their sites could be more lenient on accepting cards that have expired from mid-March onwards until the Covid-19 situation has been brought more under control. This is, of course, the Employers’ choice and decision. However, some employers require further controls and a longer-term solution to this issue.

Due to this and after strong industry direction CPCS is providing the ability to apply for an Emergency CPCS Card which would be valid for 12 months for those unable to renew cards or upgrade cards due to not being able to renew their HSE test or Renewal Test.

This card will also be available for individuals on a Red card which is expiring and they have been prevented from completing their Vocational Qualification due to the COVID-19 situation. Proof of Qualification Registration is necessary, however, if this is with Cskills Awards/NOCN then we can check this digitally without the applicant needing to provide anything.

This card is to support employers and individuals who do not wish to accept expired cards, giving our beneficiaries choice.

Apply Online or  Download the Form

The cost of this card will be £15

Who should use this card?

Can I renew my card without an in-date HS&E test?
Yes, we will issue an emergency card – please use this form

Can I renew my card without completing the Renewal Test(s)?
Yes, we will issue an emergency card – please use this form

Can I extend my Red card as I am registered for a Vocational Qualification, but my assessment cannot be completed so I can’t finish the qualification?
Yes, we will issue an emergency card – please use this form

I have not recorded sufficient hours in my CPCS logbook but cannot do my On-Site-Assessments (OSA).
CPCS will issue you with an emergency card – please use this form

HS&E Test for tester Card Renewals (MAP Test), A61 Appointed Person (MAP Test) and A62 Crane Supervisor (Supervisors test)
The same rules apply we will issue emergency cards for these occupations – please use this form

I cannot complete my Vocational Qualification “VQ” to upgrade my card to blue.
CPCS will issue you an emergency card to keep you working – please use this form

For any other applications please use the normal card application process

NOCN Coronavirus Update for Customers


The growing concerns surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) are likely to impact CPCS Test Centres and Cardholders, please see the latest updates below:

1. Cancelled / Missed tests

We know that many tests are being cancelled or are not able to be delivered. For this reason we are content for Centres to postpone tests until a time when it is safe to do so. Please email your named contact and they will do this for you. They require the Batch Number of the test being postponed and the date you want to postpone it until. If you don’t know a date, please use 1st September. Once you know the date you want to move the test to please email your named contact with the Batch Number and the correct date. This will not result in you being invoiced twice. If you completely cancel a test you will end up being charged for any replacement/new registration by our automated system.

2. CPCS plan to relax notification rules and be flexible during the Covid 19 period

We will allow late notifications, change of address, potentially allow testing to be done on other sites if a particular area is affected by Covid 19, providing all CPCS test criteria can be met. Although we will allow flexibility, all changes to notifications must still be approved by the sector EQA team. This will allow the use of unused facilities and equipment during any periods of partial shut down.

3. CPCS Advice on accepting recently out of date cards on site

We have been asked by industry to relax the rules over expired cards onsite. Please see this poster that has been sent to industry suggesting this.

4. Pearson VUE Test Centres

Pearson VUE are currently working to 50% capacity to allow safe distances between people whilst they are undertaking tests. Pearson VUE are keeping us updated daily with any change to their services, as soon as we hear anything different we will re-communicated any new information. We are hearing that Pearson VUE centres are actually closed, but we have not been told this officially.

5. Our resilience for the situation

Currently we are all coming into the office, but the NOCN team have tested contingency plans to work from home if necessary; taking calls, replying to emails and processing applications. Our printers are also planning on providing a skeleton crew to continue printing cards through out the period, although we must all follow Government guidelines. Card delivery times could also be affected by how Royal Mail’s ability to adhere to their current operating levels. We therefore feel that we will be able to provide some level of continuous service to the sector, however, there will inevitably be some disruption.

CPCS Banked Categories


What is a CPCS banked category?

Example; I held a CPCS blue competence card which had the following categories;

  • 360 Excavator Tracked
  • Forward Tipping Dumper Wheeled
  • Wheeled loading Shovel

When I last renewed my CPCS card I had not been operating the Wheeled Loading Shovel or the Forward Tipping Dumper, so my employer said I could not renew these categories, therefore my current card only shows;

  • 360 Tracked Excavator

How do I get the categories back on my CPCS Card and what are the CPCS rules?

Categories not applied for at the time of renewal may be ‘banked’ and can be claimed at a later within a 5-year period providing the following rules are met;

  • You hold a valid HS&E test (two years)
  • You Hold a valid Renewal Test for the category grouping, check here.
  • You have recorded 300 hours operating experience (per category or scheme rules in the last 5 years or If you have not recorded sufficient hours detailing operating experience then you can complete a CPCS On Site Assessment (OSA) these can be booked with any test centre in the UK that has accreditation to deliver the specific category please use the Test Centre Search.


The Competent Operator Card start date will be the date from the original expiry date of the previous Competent Operator Card, Therefore, it is important to start the renewal process as soon as possible.

More information on specifics can be found in the Scheme Booklet for Operators.


Banked categories can only be re-instated within a 5-year period, if categories are older than this these rules do not apply.

New cards, new technology


CPCS application update


1. Applications Backlog

Where we have the correct HSE test, photo and CPCS test results that match with CITB/Pearson VUE data. There are still outstanding data issues remaining between CPCS, Pearson VUE and CITB, but these have been significantly reduced with you help and assistance.

2. Notifications Resulted as Achieved through Test Centre Management System

For all notifications where we can match the correct HSE data, photo and CPCS test results, cards are now being dispatched within SLA of 15 working days.

3. Card renewals/applications

We are processing new applications as quickly as possible. All applications that have met scheme requirements have been processed and have been sent to print.

Applications that are incorrect, incomplete, or where an assessment has been failed will receive Rejection letters.  Rejection letters will be sent to the applicant who requested the card. Please check that applications have all the correct information entered. An extra check will save a lot of time waiting and chasing for a card.

4. Test Centres; Carding Without Application

We are processing all Carding Without Applications as soon as possible, providing we can match for all HS&E data with CITB.

CPCS Update – March


CPCS / NOCN would like to thank you for all your support over the past months of difficulty, since the transfer of CPCS data, and apologise again for the challenges that this has caused you and your customers. 

Card Applications Update

Our team of temporary and permanent staff have been working overtime on evenings and at weekends to put the card processing on track.  We are making good progress and have processed, printed and despatched 13,698 CPCS cards to date (week ending 6th March).

Incorrect cards

Unfortunately, we are still having some problems with incorrect cards, and these are being re-issued as a priority.  SMART data is being updated or turned off where necessary, so Card Checker is corrected immediately.  We have updated the IT system to avoid repeat errors and apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused.

To help us focus on these incorrect cards, we have set up a specific mailbox for all incorrect card enquiries:   incorrectcards@jobcards.org.   CPCS card carrier letters are also being updated with this mail address so that we can quickly resolve any issues.  Please only use this email address if you have any issues with incorrect cards to enable us to resolve any issues as soon as possible – all other queries please email: enquiries@jobcards.org

Card Fraud

Cardholder details are visible on the online Card Checker within a few hours of an application completing the print processing stage.  The new CPCS SMART system protects against card fraud, as a fraudulent card will not link through to the online Card Checker. You may encounter issues around tapping the card with your NFC devices, if the card links to MyTag and you get an error code please also report this to the email address incorrectcards@jobcards.org.  We are aware that the new card designs are already being fraudulently copied. Tapping the card on any NFC enabled device will ensure that the integrity of the system is retained.

Grant Payments

We have been working closely with CITB to enable CITB to pay grants to employers for CPCS theory and practical tests that have been achieved.  Grant payments are now being processed by CITB for these achievements and employers should be receiving automated grant payments and grant remittance forms. All grant queries should go to levy.grant@citb.co.uk.  If employers have missed Grant then they can claim this from CITB via the ‘missed Grant’ process.

Customer Call Volumes

Despite improvements we are still experiencing high customer call volumes, we have implemented a new phone strategy which has reduced customer call time significantly. If you are a test centre we would still advise you to email your dedicated customer coordinator to ask for a call back to save you time.




At NOCN Group, we are all deeply sorry and like you frustrated by the issues that our customers have experienced in the weeks since the CPCS transfer.  Please know we are doing all we can to rectify the issues as quickly as possible.  The CPCS Team is being supported by colleagues from all areas of NOCN Group to resolve your ongoing issues, this is our number one priority.  We are working positively and closely with CITB, and the industry supplier for HS&E tests, to resolve the issue with mismatched data, one of the main delays to processing.

Hopefully, the update below will show what we have been working on, and we are working to rectify issues daily.  Please email any feedback to marketing@nocn.org.uk and the team can pass to the relevant department.  Once the transfer issues have been resolved we want to work with all our customers to build the scheme up to new levels of excellence.

We need your help to do this.

Apologies again,

Mark Buckton, Executive Director of Job Cards and Services

Processing Update

We are now processing individual applications from 15 January, and CWAs from 10 January, for all cards which have correct data across the 3 interacting systems of CITB, their HS&E Test supplier and ourselves.

However, there are a number of cards still ‘stuck’ in the system, and we are trying to get these through as soon as possible.

The main reasons for these delays are:

  • Missing HS&E test results – as previously communicated, this is happening where the industry supplier for HS&E tests have incorrect candidate details (such as name, DOB or NI number) and our system is unable to match to CITB records. We are working with CITB to help them clean their data so that we are able to match these records.
  • Missing Photograph – this is related to the above HS&E issue.
  • Orphan Components – in some cases the system is recognising the endorsement but not the “parent” category. We are manually processing these.

We are very sorry for the delays to these cards, and we are working as hard as we can to clear the backlog.  We are liaising with the industry supplier for HS&E tests and CITB at the highest level to overcome the barriers caused by having three sets of records to produce a single card.

Card Checker Online

Test centres, employers and individuals can use Card Checker to see their CPCS history and which categories / cards are currently active. On this tool you can check CPCS records alongside CISRS records and Health, Safety and Environment test records.


Test Centre Search Tool Online

Learners can use this to find centres near to them who offer the CPCS categories they want to be tested in. It is improved from the out of use CITB tool as it now searches based on distance from the postcode you input, rather than giving you an alphabetical list of centres in the sector.

Test Centre Search

Renewal Test Tool Online

Learners can use this to confirm which CPCS renewal tests they need to take. All of our factsheets are held on the Renewal Test Tool. This replaces CITB’s Module Matcher.

Renewal Test Tool

Action Minutes from the December CPCS Management Committee

  • Management Committee were updated on the transfer including data that was missing in the move of systems
  • Staffing has increased to deal with calls, emails and processing of cards
  • NOCN confirmed that testing of the new systems happened prior to go live, but there were unanticipated complications such as missing data
  • A new dedicated phone line was set up where customers can book renewal tests. This phone number (available from 1 Jan 2020) is 0300 499 1900.
  • Management Committee made it known that they do not want the term ‘Grandfather Rights’ to be used in reference to Industry Accreditation in the future.
  • Confirmation that the news on Industry Accreditation was well received by industry.
  • NFDC requested on behalf of their federation that Asbestos Awareness Training be a mandatory pre-requisite for demolition categories held on CPCS cards. This will be raised at the next Management Committee meeting in March.
  • NFDC raised a question about whether Demolition Rigged Plant Platforms should be endorsed under Tracked or Wheeled. It was confirmed that the tracked or wheeled endorsements cover all and ensure safety.
  • NFDC requested clarification of whether NOCN CPCS’ Industry Accreditation requirements also covered those with demolition categories. Confirmation was given that yes, all categories are covered by the requirements.
  • The Committee agreed that a two-year extension could be given where testers come up for renewal this year, this gives more opportunity to put a new tester renewal programme in place.
  • The committee requested that an additional Test Centre Academy be made available in Wales. NOCN agreed to work towards this in 2020.
  • The Committee approved the change in Excavator A59 test area size from 90x90m to 60x60m. Documents will be amended and this will be introduced in the next Test Centre Newsletter (beginning of Feb 2020).
  • Trialling and testing to be done on changes to Plant and Vehicle Marshaller. The outcomes of this will be communicated and introduced in the next Test Centre Newsletter (beginning of Feb 2020).
  • NOCN confirmed a Construction Project Team has been established in NOCN to help us build employer contacts which were not a part of the sale from CITB.
  • CPA raised for information that there were two fatalities with excavators towards the end of 2019. CPA will be putting together some guidance.
  • Management Committee raised the point whether fully qualified international workers could gain their competent operator card without having to obtain an NVQ. NOCN will investigate this.


NOCN apologises for CPCS fiasco


The private company that has taken over management of the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) has come out and apologised after plant operators found themselves unable to renew their cards.

NOCN Group, which now administers the card scheme, has also put in place an emergency plan to tackle the backlog it is facing in card applications.

More than 200,000 workers who operate large plant on construction sites rely on the cards to access employment. Without their cards, they risk being thrown out of work.

The bureaucratic bungling is also affecting the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS).

“We would like to apologise to all customers for the problems that NOCN Job Cards are having in issuing CPCS and CISRS cards,” NOCN said.

On 1st December 2019 NOCN fully took over the issuing of CPCS and CISRS cards from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Despite best endeavours, the transfer of responsibilities has been far from seamless.

“There have been a number of data/administrative/technical issues that have occurred due to the inflight transfer of such large and complicated card schemes,” NOCN said. “This has resulted in a backlog in processing applications that were made in November and December 2019.”

It added: “We are very sorry for the impact of this on customers’ ability to work and the frustration that this is causing. We are working very hard, together with our service providers to rectify this problem as quickly as possible. CITB are being especially proactive and providing substantial support. Please be reassured that an emergency plan has been put in place and a taskforce deployed to get on top of the backlog as soon as possible.”

NOCN said that new applications for CPCS cards, which can be processed automatically, are being processed within 15 working days.  But for CISRS it is a manual process so time scales are longer. “We are printing hundreds of cards per day and are actively catching up already,” it said.

The Unite union said that the CPCS card scheme was “not fit for purpose”. National officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “It is essential that problems to the CPCS card scheme are swiftly resolved. A backlog in renewing and issuing cards is denying skilled workers the ability to earn a living.

“If the problems are not swiftly resolved then the entire scheme will be undermined, which will result in major safety implications for the industry.”

Industry in uproar as plant skills card chaos continues


One irate training specialist warned the system is “on the brink of collapse” as problems continue to plague skills card renewals.

Companies are also threatening legal action over loss of earnings as plant operators struggle to secure the cards they need to operate on site.

CPCS was sold to awarding organisation NOCN Group by the Construction Industry Training Board last year.

Problems have been ongoing since late last year when NOCN transitioned over the renewal test booking system.

The Enquirer has been deluged with complaints about the new system from all sides of the industry.

NOCN has been battling to fix glitches and catch-up with a huge backlog of cards to be issued.

But one operator said: “I can’t seen any improvement. I tried to speak to the call centre last week and was on hold for more than an hour.”

A training specialist added: “We’ve still got a raft of red and blue card applications which went in in November and have still not been received.

“It’s an absolute shambles and is costing companies a fortune in terms of lost work and delays.

“My clients are now asking who they should go after for loss of business and earnings.”

NOCN Job Cards Smart Cards User Guide



All CPCS and CISRS operators who apply for a card from 2nd December will receive a new digital ‘smart’ card. The smart cards work through NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and by tapping the smartcard on any NFC enabled device – most modern mobile phones and tablets – the cardholder’s name, photo, categories/courses and endorsements will appear. NOCN Job Cards are working on the next stage of smart cards currently, where qualifications and NOCN Site Right training will also appear on the card as well renewal notifications.

NFC (Near Field Communication)

Near-field Communication, or NFC, is a connecting technology based on RFID (radio frequency identification). Designed to transmit short strings of information to an interacting phone, NFC tags require no internal power and for us, take the form of an ID card. While their appearance may seem unimpressive, their power comes from simplicity because they can be used where other technologies cannot.

What you need to know

  • NFC tags are passive yet powerful
  • They transmit information wirelessly
  • They have approximately a 1” read range
  • They do not require a battery


  • iPhone XS / XR / 11 and newer read NFC natively (no app required)
  • iPhone 7, 8 and may need an app (free to download)
  • Most Android devices have NFC

Even though NFC is a relatively new technology it has seen rapid adoption across the smartphone industry. Android has long been known to have NFC scanning capabilities. Since 2012 the number of NFC compatible Android devices has exploded. Now nearly every Android phone supports NFC scanning.

Like most things Apple the release of iOS 11 saw the iPhone 7 and newer gain NFC read support through an app and the latest iPhone XS, XR and 11 have the ability to scan NFC from the home- screen without the need to install an app. See this iPhone compatibility guide to learn more.

Advantages of NFC

  • High customer perception
  • High smartphone adoption
  • High security / Authentication / Exclusive content
  • High value – Use-cases span the entire customer journey & product
  • Cannot be copied or cloned
  • Content can be updated via secure platforms
  • Future proofed

NFC’s rapid adoption is a result of the technology’s many advantages. Consumers often see the technology as desirable when compared to QR codes, with NFC-enabled products becoming highly sought after.

Because NFC tags include a secure element to thwart duplication, they enable ID authentication and the ability to see exclusive content. This functionality is simply not possible with QR codes.

How to Scan an NFC Tag with an Android Phone

  1. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the smart card (top left corner)
  2. Touch the back of your device to where the NFC tag is located on the object and hold it there for 3-5 seconds
  3. There is no step 3. Your device should open the experience after reading the NFC


  • When trying to scan if an action is not immediately triggered, slowly move your phone around the NFC touchpoint until an interaction is
  • Most Android phones natively have NFC
  • Depending on your phone manufacturer, NFC may be switched off by default. If your phone supports NFC but still doesn’t interact with NFC objects turn on NFC

Turning NFC On and Off

Once you have determined if your device supports NFC, it’s important to understand how to turn the feature on and off. Depending on the manufacturer, it’s possible your device supports NFC but, by default, came with it switched off in the settings.

Activating NFC Android

On your Android device, tap on “Settings” Select “Connected devices or connections”

You should see “NFC” and “Android Beam” options. Turn both of them on!

NFC on iPhone

For iPhone, the steps depend on which model you have.

iPhone XR, XS 11 or newer

  1. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the smart card (top left corner)
  2. Tap the top of your iPhone to where the NFC tag is located on the object and hold it there for 3-5 seconds
  3. Upon read a notification will appear at the top of your screen. Tap it to launch the experience.

iPhone 7 and 8

  1. Download the ‘gototags’ app on the app store (free to download)
  2. Launch the app and select NFC
  3. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the object you are scanning
  4. Tap the top of your iPhone to where the NFC tag is located on the object


  • All new iPhones have NFC enabled natively without the need for an app
  • Phones before iPhone 7 do not have NFC capability beyond Apple Pay

Get a Dedicated NFC Reader App

As detailed above, if you’re using an iPhone 7 through iPhone X, you’ll need a NFC reader, like the Decode NFC App ‘gototags’ on App store.