NVQ Certificate in Plant Operations (Construction) Level 2

SQA code: GN33 66
Ofqual code: 603/2585/9
Qualifications Wales Code: C00/1229/2  
Minimum Total Qualification Time: 160 hours
Minimum Guided Learning Hours: 84
Minimum Credit value: 16

The qualification will develop knowledge and skills in areas such as preparing and operating compact cranes to lift and transfer loads in the workplace and preparing and operating ergonomic manipulating machines to lift and transfer loads in the workplace.

This qualification covers the following areas:

  • Plant Operations (Cranes and Specialist Lifting)
  • Plant Operations (Fork-lift Trucks)
  • Plant Operations (Extracting)
  • Plant Operations (Transporting Loads)
  • Plant Operations (Work Platforms)
  • Plant Operations (Laying and Distributing)
  • Plant Operations (Compacting)
  • Plant Operations (Processing)
  • Plant Operations (Loading and Securing)
  • Plant Operations (Road/Rail)
  • Plant Operations (Attachments)
  • Plant Operations (Excavating)
  • Plant Operations (Sweeping, Cleaning, Clearing)
  • Plant Operations (Operations Guide)
  • Plant Operations (Movement Guide)

This qualification may be available through employers, training providers and colleges, and may be offered in England and Wales.

This is an updated qualification that has been developed to ensure it meets the needs of the industry. This qualification now includes an additional Unit in the Cranes and Specialist Lifting and Extracting pathways. 

Qualification rationale and objectives

Rationale and purpose of this qualification

This qualification is aimed at those who are in work and are looking for recognition of their prior learning and experience.

Its primary purpose is to confirm the learner’s occupational competence as a Plant Operator. As a work-related, competence-based qualification it provides confirmation to employers, industry managers and card schemes that the learner has the skills and knowledge needed to meet the nationally recognised standard to carry out the role.

Learners who achieve this qualification can use it to gain employment, to progress in the industry, or to work towards another qualification (see Progression).


The qualification is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • supporting a role in the workplace
  • confirming knowledge, understanding and skills
  • providing access to a relevant card scheme
  • enabling learners to gain the relevant licence to practice


This qualification is supported by CSCS which is the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme provides a registration card scheme acknowledged by industry for those involved in Construction. The scheme recognises skills, knowledge and understanding, competence and qualifications.

What does this qualification cover?

As this is a competence-based qualification, learners will be acquiring the knowledge and skills required through either on-the-job experience or in a learning environment.

To achieve the whole qualification, learners need a minimum of 16 credits. They must complete 2 mandatory units and 1 optional unit from the qualification structure. (see Qualification content and delivery tools)

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is suitable for:

  • people in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • workers wishing to progress into a supervisory position
  • people in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • individuals who wish to start their own business
  • school and college students with a part-time job that enables them to develop the appropriate skills in the workplace
  • full-time and part-time study

There are no specific skills, knowledge understanding or any other qualifications that must be achieved in order to start this qualification, however learners must have the potential and opportunity to gain this qualification successfully.


Entry to the qualification is at the discretion of the centre.

This qualification is mainly taken by individuals employed as a: Plant Operator 


This qualification is a mandatory component in the Level 2 Construction Civil Engineering Apprenticeship.

SQA also offers the following components of this Apprenticeship: Level 2 Diploma in Plant Operations - General (Construction).


Learners may progress from the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Plant Operations (Construction) to a range of qualifications at Level 3 and above, including Occupational Work Supervision.

The Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Plant Operations (Construction) can lead to employment within the construction industry.

What approvals are needed?

Centres must come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Where can you take this course

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification structure

The qualification requires the learner to complete 2 mandatory units (credit value 5) and 1 optional unit (credit value 11).

Please refer to the qualification structure (268 KB) for more information

Unit specifications

Unit specifications for this qualification are available on the Regulated Qualifications unit search.

How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Each unit specification gives detailed information on the assessment criteria, assessment (evidence) requirements and guidance on instruments of assessment for the unit.

The qualification is assessed by completing a portfolio of evidence which details what the learner has completed at work. This can be gathered through observation, professional discussion, witness testimony or supporting documentary evidence. The assessor can work alongside the learner to confirm that they have met the requirements of the qualification and that they are therefore competent in their role.

Competence is displayed through the assessor observing the learner demonstrate that they carry out their normal work activities competently and to the industry standard and comply with current legislation and company procedures.

The assessment process will ensure that the learner can complete the tasks that they have been directed to undertake and that they can interpret the instructions correctly. They will demonstrate that they can select the appropriate resources for the tasks and can complete them within the given timescales and specifications.

Learner portfolio

Assessment strategy/principle

Learner Guidance and Portfolio


The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is the largest and most highly recognised single skills card scheme for the plant sector of the construction industry. The scheme provides certification for plant operatives and associated operations for UK construction and allied industries to prove workers' operating skills and health and safety awareness.

The Plant Operator certification process is supported by CPCS Testers and CPCS Trainers, who in turn are certified as trained and competent by CPCS.

Membership of the Scheme is voluntary, but is mandatory on many construction sites and other work environments.


Qualification structure

This group award has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.

The operational end-date for this qualification is 30/11/17

The certification end-date for this qualification is 30/11/19

Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Plant Operations (Construction) (125 KB)

Group award code: GL5F 66

Unit specifications

Unit specifications for this qualification are available on the Unit search.

How to assess

Learner portfolio