NPORS, the National Plant Operators registration Scheme, is seeking to reassure its cardholders that they will still be able to work on major construction sites next year.
Build UK recently issued a statement saying that from April 2017 its members would only recognise skills cards with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) logo on it.
Build UK members include most of the UK’s major construction contractors as well as 11,500 specialist contractors. It was formed last year by a merger of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) and the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC).
In September 2014 UKCG agreed to recognise NPORS as an ‘accepted record scheme’. Previously it only recognised Construction Plant Competency Scheme (CPCS) cards, which are part of CSCS.
NPORS said that Build UK’s statement had caused confusion in the industry and it has issued this statement:
“Over recent weeks we have received a large number of calls and emails from concerned employers and operators regarding the recent communication issued by Build UK stating that from January 2017 the only operator cards that will be accepted on their sites are those that carry the CSCS logo.
“It has been intimated by some that as a result of this announcement NPORS cards will no longer be accepted after this date. This has led to uncertainty and some employers who have invested in training and testing their operators through the NPORS route may feel unsettled as a result.
“We would like to reassure all employers, operators and training providers that we are committed to ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council decision that all operator cards in the construction sector must carry the CSCS logo.
“We have met with CSCS, Build UK and CECA in order to ensure that NPORS cards will carry the CSCS logo and therefore will continue to be accepted on Build UK sites post December 2016.
“The new requirement will involve a change to the way our scheme currently operates in the construction sector and we have agreed a process whereby current NPORS card holders in the construction sector will be able to transition across to the new NPORS Construction Operator card.
“Further detail will be issued by NPORS in due course but we wanted to make this announcement now so as to reassure employers, operators and training providers that NPORS cards will still be accepted on construction sites after December 2016.”
NPORS Ltd is an accreditation body with its own plant operator training scheme that it controls. It was established in 1992 and is privately owned by its chief executive Stan Chapman. The rise of CPCS, which is industry-owned and managed by the Construction Industry Training Board, threatened its viability in the construction industry. So long as only CPCS cards were recognised on major sites, an NPORS card was of limited value in construction, although it also has a presence in other markets, such as ports and harbours, utilities and factories.