Everything you need to know about IPAF training courses

ipaf training courses

What is IPAF and what does it mean?

IPAF stands for The International Powered Access Federation.  They are an organisation that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment or MEWP’s as they are sometimes called, MEWP which stands for Mobile Elevating Working Platform.  2 Start Training provide relevant courses that have been accredited by IPAF.  On completion of an IPAF training course, you will become IPAF certified.

What is the difference between PASMA and IPAF?

Quite simply the equipment is different.  PASMA is the accrediting body for mobile access towers which are more commonly known as mobile scaffold towersIPAF is the accrediting body for powered access equipment such as cherry pickers or scissor lifts.  Both accredited training courses that meet the Working at Height regulations which protect you when working at height.  IPAF accredited training is delivered to conform with ISO 18878, which is the internationally recognised training standard for MEWP’s. Click here if you are interested in PASMA training courses.

What is involved in IPAF Training?

2 Start Training offers IPAF courses that combine a mixture of classroom and practical based learning.  During the course, you will learn about the theory of working at height, such as the Working at Height Regulations.  You will also be given practical training on the safe use of the relevant equipment.  There will be a test at the end of the course which you will need to pass to be certified.

Who needs IPAF Training?

IPAF training is designed for people who want to work at height using powered access equipment, also known as MEWP’s (Mobile Elevated Working Platforms).

IPAF training courses are required by anyone who wishes to use a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP). It is a legal requirement that anyone who works at height has to have completed some sort of professional IPAF training.

If you choose to complete one of our IPAF courses and are successful, you will be awarded a PAL (Powered Access Licence) card. This is an internationally recognised certification and will show to anyone, such as employers or health and safety officers that you have the correct training to be working at heights.

How much does IPAF Training cost?

As of March 2024, IPAF training costs range between £132 and £500. This depends on how many MEWPS you require training on, as well as how many operators are being trained.

IPAF Mobile Vertical 3a (Operator or Demonstrator)

IPAF Mobile Boom 3b (Operator or Demonstrator)

IPAF Combined 3a & 3b (Operator only)

IPAF Harness Inspection & Safety

How long are the IPAF training courses?

The length of your course will vary depending on which IPAF course you decide to complete. The 1b, 3a, 3b, combined 1b, 3a & 3b courses as well as the combined 3a & 3b courses we provide all take 1 day to complete.

Whereas, our IPAF PAV training & IPAF Harness Inspections and Safety courses both require half a day to complete.

At the end of your course, if you are successful, you will be rewarded with your IPAF licence.

What are the different IPAF Categories?

The most common types of powered access equipment are Mobile Elevated Working platforms or MEWPS for short. To safely use a MEWP you must be IPAF certified which will make you compliant.

2 Start Training offers the following categories:


PAV stands for push around vertical and these platforms are pushed into place manually and they can only move up and down similar to a scissor lift.

IPAF Mobile Boom 3b

A mobile boom or cherry picker as more commonly known as.  They can be operated from the platform and manoeuvred into position.  The platform or basket can be manoeuvred up and down as well as sideways, and can also be moved whilst in its elevated position.

IPAF Mobile Vertical 3a

This is normal referred to a mobile vertical machine or commonly known as a scissor lift.  Once they are in position the lift can go up or down, and, importantly, the platform can be driven whilst in the elevated position.

1b Static Boom

1b Static Booms are typically mounted onto a vehicle or a trailer and are favoured because of their lightweight size and how easy they are to tow into the tightest of spaces. This type of MEWP is again commonly found on construction sites across the UK.

Combined Courses

As well as the individual courses for these MEWP categories, we also offer combined courses with 3a & 3b training available as well as combined 1b, 3a & 3b training available.

Is IPAF accredited training a legal requirement?

There is no specific legal requirement for an employee working at height to have IPAF training certification.  However, The Work at Height Regulations 2005 state that every employer should ensure that any persons working at height is competent to do so or if being training is supervised by a competent person.  PAL cards can be used to demonstrate employees are competent and have completed sufficient training to be able to safely work at height and is the most recognised form of certification in the industry, worldwide.

What locations can I do my training at?

We offer IPAF training at our Southampton depot and our Worthing depot.  If you are unable to get to this location then we can offer IPAF training at your site provided the equipment and training area is suitable and will need to be checked for hazards by our IPAF accredited trainer.

Find out more about IPAF at our Southampton depot here: IPAF Training Southampton

Find out more about IPAF at our Worthing depot here: IPAF Training Worthing

We are also able to provide training at your locations also, enquire here: Off-site IPAF Training

Each of these courses will train you in how to use all the equipment specific to each course and give you the skills you need to safely operate a MEWP.

Who can obtain an IPAF licence?

The minimum age you need to be to hold a licence is 16. There are no restrictions on the size of the machine you are able to operate providing you hold the licence for that category. There is also no maximum age for someone to obtain an IPAF PAL Card.

What is a PAL Card?

A PAL card is a Powered Access Licence which is issued by IPAF upon completion of an accredited course.  Employees wishing to work at height will need to prove that they are able to operate mobile elevated working platforms (MEWP) safely.  The PAL card will offer the proof employees have the training required. Trainees who pass the associated examinations will be issued a SMART PAL card; these new SMART PAL cards feature contactless RFID chips, which will allow the operator to use machines which feature devices to prevent use by untrained operators. In the last few years, manufacturers have been increasingly installing devices which will only allow usage by an operator with the appropriate SMART card, instead of just an ignition key.

How long does it last?

IPAF certificates (or qualifications), also known as PAL cards are certified for 5 years from issue, you will have to take a refresher course before your card expires.  If you wait until after the 5 years you will need to take the full IPAF test again.

How to renew a licence

You will need to contact an IPAF-accredited training centre to ensure you take an accredited course in order to renew your licence.  2 Start Training is an accredited trainer and we are able to provide courses to renew your licence.

Can you fail an IPAF course?

The simple answer to this is Yes!  if your instructor feels that your and others’ health and safety will be at risk with you operating a MEWP then you will be required to take the training again in order to safely pass your test.

Where can I complete my IPAF training?

We offer IPAF training at all of our depots, depending on which course you require. Our depots are located in Portsmouth, Southampton, Reading & Worthing. Additionally, IPAF can be taught at your site, using your equipment.

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Comments (3)

  • Customer Reply


    13th December 2023 at 6:10 am
    • 2 Start Ltd Reply


      The costs for our IPAF courses vary and our range of IPAF courses, in some cases, are bookable online and others are enquiry only as they need more information in order for us to be able to provide a price.

      Our team of advisors are available enduring 7am and 5pm to answer any queries and provide costs on: 02392 123 555

      13th December 2023 at 2:27 pm
  • Idowu Michael Nathaniel Reply

    I think it is good to do the course

    25th January 2024 at 5:05 pm

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