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Construction plant operator

Alternative titles for this job include

Construction plant operators work with machinery and equipment used on building sites.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£36,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

48 to 50 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become 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, for example:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations
  • Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment

These courses will teach you some of the skills you need. Once you finish the course, you could try to find a trainee job with a building company.

Entry requirements

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

More Information


You could get into this job through a construction plant operator intermediate apprenticeship.

If you want to operate cranes, you could do a lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information


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.

Direct Application

It may be possible to apply directly to employers if you've got experience in construction or operating other types of heavy machinery.

Some employers may ask for GCSEs in subjects like English, maths and design and technology.

More Information


  • you may need a plant card to operate some machinery

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a construction plant operator from Go Construct.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work on your own
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day job you could:

  • use 180 and 360 degree excavators
  • move earth with bulldozers and dumper trucks
  • operate a crane, under radio direction from a slinger or signaller
  • level out work areas with compactors
  • operate piling rigs and concrete pumps
  • use forklifts to unload and move building materials around the site
  • change buckets, shovels and other attachments
  • make safety checks on machines

Working environment

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could move into construction site supervision, site estimating or work in plant hire and equipment sales.

You might become a supervisor or coordinator which involves choosing the right machinery for jobs and assessing new equipment.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Construction plant operator right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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