What is NPORS & Why Do You Need It?


NPORS (National Plant Operators Registration Scheme), founded in 1992, is an awarding body and is a rapidly up and coming card scheme. Throughout the years it has been proven to be a dependable option for workers in the construction industry.

The NPORS Card Scheme

Whilst it’s not necessarily a new scheme, NPORS has recently become a UKCG accepted record scheme and is now considered equivalent to CPCS. This is partly due to the addition of the CSCS logo at the top of the card, making it a great option even for those working on sites with major contractors.

The NPORS card scheme offers a flexible approach to training a competent construction workforce. To earn the NPORS card, an individual needs to have successfully completed practical and theory tests on their chosen categories, which are shown on the back of the card. This demonstrates that they have achieved a level of competence to operate the category of plant shown on the card.

The theory section of the NPORS test is 25 questions, 20 of which are multiple-choice and 5 are answers to specific questions. Some categories have mandatory questions which have to be answered correctly to pass the test. The practical test is an assessment on the chosen machine, carrying out specific tasks to confirm the operator’s ability.

NPORS Traditional Card

The NPORS traditional card doesn’t show the CSCS logo. This card is suitable for those who don’t require a CSCS-embossed card when working on site.

This card is easier to renew than the Trained Operator card. The renewal process for the NPORS traditional card is to simply complete a renewal application close to the expiry date on the card and for the employer to endorse the renewal application. 

NPORS Trained Operator Card

NPORS trained operator card

This card is a CSCS-embossed card confirming that the operator has successfully completed the CITB Health and Safety test as well as the NPORS test on the category of plant. This card is very similar to the CPCS Red Trained Operator card.

NPORS Competent Operator Card

Just like the NPORS Trained Operator card, this card also has the CSCS logo. To obtain this card, the operator will, prior to the expiry date on the Trained Operator card, need to complete an NVQ on the category(ies) of plant shown on the card.

The requirements for upgrading to this card are a completed NVQ and an in-date CITB Health, Safety and Environment test.

Is NPORS similar to CPCS?

As NPORS is considered equivalent to CPCS, there isn’t a huge difference between the two. Delegates will achieve a similar outcome, via a similar path.

When it comes to choosing between NPORS and CPCS, it really comes down to personal preference; learning styles, budgets and the companies you tend to work with.

NPORS serves as a cost-effective alternative to CPCS, where budget may be a concern. However, rest assured that the lower costs don’t mean you get a lower quality of training. NPORS follow strict industry standards and ensure compliance with the scheme.

The biggest benefit of choosing NPORS is that it offers a more flexible approach to learning. The training isn’t just restricted to certified centres, it can also be carried out on-site using your own machinery although a dedicated area may be required to carry out the practical tests.

npors training machinery

Even though it may be considered a more accessible option, it’s worth noting that CPCS can still be viewed as a ‘superior’ scheme. There will be some companies out there who still request that operators hold a CPCS card, rather than NPORS. You may want to consider who you may be working for and what they will accept. However, NPORS is continuing to become more widely accepted, to the point where even most major build companies will take holders on.

How Can I Get an NPORS Card?

TUTS Training are able to carry out assessments on a number of NPORS categories and are able to carry out these assessments either at our Training Centre or on-site, nationwide. If you want to gain an NPORS card, get in touch with our friendly team.