Quarry operative, opencast mine worker, opencast miner
Quarry workers dig out and process rock, slate, gravel and sand from quarries or mines.
Salary Range: £16,000 to £25,000
How to become a quarry worker
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a mineral processing mobile and static plant operator.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got experience or qualifications in construction, mining, or operating heavy machinery like mechanical diggers.
A relevant driving licence, for example a large goods vehicle or plant operator’s licence, may give you an advantage when looking for work.
You can get more advice about working in the quarrying industry from Careers in Quarrying.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work on your own
- to enjoy working with other people
- the ability to work well with your hands
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- physical fitness and endurance
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a driving licence that includes LGV for lorries, or PCV for buses, if you work with these vehicles
You may need your own transport to get to work, as quarries are usually in the countryside.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- using mechanical diggers to excavate rock, clay, sand, gravel and slate
- operating equipment like rock crushers and stone graders
- using drilling equipment
- maintaining vehicles and machinery
- setting and detonating explosives
- transporting materials in large trucks
You could work at a quarry.
Your working environment may be cramped, physically demanding, dusty and dirty.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With training and experience, you could become a site supervisor, mineral products technician or quarry manager. You could also move into:
- quality control
- explosives work – shotfiring
- health and safety inspection
- machine and plant maintenance
- laboratory work like testing samples