IPAF PAL+ on a VR Simulator

PAL+ LogoPAL+ is an optional, additional one day of category-specific training aimed at operators working in higher risk or challenging environments.

The course includes a short, compact theory session and focuses on practical training, using large machines such as a scissor lift with a minimum of 10m working height and a boom with a minimum of 15m working height. For example, one practical exercise focuses on work in confined overhead spaces; another practical exercise involves driving the machine on challenging terrain. Candidates have to complete a theory test, a practical test and an individual interview.

Upon successful completion of the theory test, practical test and interview, operators will have the relevant categories added to their PAL Card, e.g. Static Vertical (1a+), Static Boom (1b+), Mobile Vertical (3a+) and Mobile Boom (3b+).

Virtual reality (VR) simulators

Approved training centres delivering IPAF’s PAL+ advanced Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) operator course now have the option of assessing candidates in a VR environment as an alternative to the standard assessment using real MEWPs and a specially constructed superstructure to operate around. Read more

For how long is the qualification valid?

PAL+, like the PAL operator qualification, is valid for five years and must be renewed after that. Only those who have been filling out their log books (60 entries over 5 years, 10 of which should be in the final year prior to expiry) will be eligible for a PAL+ renewal test. Those who have not been filling out their log books will have to re-sit the PAL operator course and the PAL+ course again. All renewals must be done before the expiry date.

If you hold a valid PAL+ qualification, you do not necessarily need a PAL operator qualification for the same category. If you renew your PAL+ qualification, you do not need to renew your original PAL operator qualification when it expires. However, you must hold a valid PAL operator qualification when you originally take the PAL+ course.

Who should take the PAL+ course?

The course is aimed at trained operators who work in higher risk or challenging environments, e.g. steelwork, work in confined overhead spaces, work on challenging terrain. PAL+ training is open to operators who hold an existing PAL Card qualification in the relevant category. To book this course, contact your usual IPAF-approved training centre or use the training centre locator at

I do not hold a PAL Card. Can I still take the PAL+ course?

Yes, you must first take the PAL operator course, and if successful, take the optional, additional PAL+ course on another day. Please be advised that taking the PAL operator and PAL+ courses back to back may not be suitable for inexperienced operators. The PAL+ course is targeted at trained operators working in challenging environments. To ensure that candidates get the most out of the PAL+ course, sufficient experience in operating equipment is required. To book this course, contact your usual IPAF-approved training centre or use the training centre locator at

Will the “+” symbol be added to my existing PAL Card?

If you hold a valid PAL Card and successfully complete the PAL+ course, you will be issued a new card showing the relevant categories for which PAL+ was achieved. For example, if you hold a PAL Card for the categories 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b, and successfully complete PAL+ in the categories 3a and 3b, you will be issued a new card showing the categories 1a, 1b, 3a+ and 3b+.

I am a site manager/employer. What does the “+” symbol mean on the PAL Card?

This means that the operator has successfully completed additional, practical training and testing on the machine category indicated. The operator has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to operate powered access equipment safely and effectively in challenging work environments. PAL Cards can be verified online.

I am a certified training centre/instructor. How can I deliver the PAL+ course?

IPAF-approved training centres interested in delivering this course should contact the IPAF Training Operations Coordinator to arrange an assessment. IPAF-certified instructors who intend to deliver the PAL+ course must hold the PAL+ qualification in the relevant categories.

Is the PAL+ course available in other languages?

The PAL+ course is currently available in English in the UK. It will be available in other languages and markets, subject to demand.

Do PAL+ courses qualify for CITB grants?

IPAF PAL+ training, like the PAL operator course, can be supported through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) grant scheme. To qualify for grants, the employer must be registered with CITB-Construction Skills and have the required levy status. The employer will need to contact his or her local Company Development Advisor in order to process the claim either as part of Short Duration Training or as part of a Training and Development plan.

Is PAL+ required on site?

PAL+ is required for net riggers and steel erectors working on Build UK, formerly UKCG, sites from 31 October 2013.