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Construction Plant Operator Apprenticeship

Construction Plant Operator Apprenticeship

Construction plant operators use heavy equipment to dig, lift, and move materials on construction sites. They may dramatically transform landscapes or construct magnificent structures in a short amount of time. Plant operators may specialise in a particular piece of equipment, such as an excavator or a large crane, and must have excellent spatial awareness to operate such heavy machinery.


Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • 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.


  • Apprentice construction plant operators can earn in the region of £19,000 – £25,000
  • Trained with experience plant operators can earn in the region of £25,000 – £30,000
  • Senior plant operators can earn in the region of £30,000 – £40,000

Working hours

You will typically work 48 to 50 hours per week, working evening and weekends and away from home.

Working environment

You could work on a construction site.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, noisy, at height and dirty.


Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice construction plant operator include:

  • Level 2 Construction Plant OperativeEntry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification takes 15 months to complete.


On a construction plant operator apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • physical skills like movement and coordination
  • 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.

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.

Updated on November 20, 2022

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