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.

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

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

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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 of operating other types of heavy machinery.

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

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Further information

You can find out more about becoming a construction plant operator from Go Construct and the Construction Plant-hire Association.

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 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

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • use 180 and 360 degree excavators
  • move earth with bulldozers and dump trucks
  • load shovels
  • operate a crane where you'll work with a slinger signaller who'll attach the loads and direct you by signals or radio
  • level out work areas with compactors
  • use piling rigs and concrete pumps
  • use forklifts to unload and move materials around the site
  • carry out safety checks on the machines you're using, change buckets and other attachments

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

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.

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.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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