Construction plant operators work with machinery and equipment used on building sites.
Salary Range: £14,000 to £35,00
How to become a construction plant operator
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working your way into the role
- applying directly
You could do a college course in a subject like:
- Level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations
- Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
These courses would teach you some of the skills needed for this work. You could then try to find a trainee job with a building company.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could get into this job through a plant operator or lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could find work as a general construction labourer to get some on-site experience. Once you’re working, your employer may offer you training in plant operation.
It may be possible to apply directly to employers if you’ve got experience in construction, or of operating other types of heavy machinery.
Some employers may ask for GCSEs in subjects like English, maths, and design and technology.
- you’ll need a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card to operate some machinery
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of building and construction
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work on your own
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- using 180 and 360 degree excavators
- moving earth with bulldozers and dump trucks
- loading shovels
- operating a crane where you’ll work with a slinger signaller who’ll attach the loads and direct you by signals or radio
- levelling out work areas with compactors
- using piling rigs and concrete pumps
- using forklifts to unload and move materials around the site
- carrying out safety checks on the machines you’re using, changing buckets and other attachments
You could work on a construction site.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, noisy, at height and dirty.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into construction management, site supervision, estimating, lift planning and supervision.
You could become a plant or crane supervisor, or a plant coordinator selecting the machinery needed for each new job and assessing new equipment.
You could also move into selling plant equipment.