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Plant Operator

Construction plant operators work with machinery and equipment used on building sites. This job would suit someone with a basic knowledge of the vehicles who enjoys being outdoors and using large machinery. You would also need to work well in a team and follow detailed instructions. 

What would I do?

  • Safety checks on the machine you are using

  • Changing attachments on the machin

  • Using forklifts to unload and move materials on site

  • Operating a crane, working with a slinger signaler who would direct you by signals or radio 

  • Operating machinary such as: 180 and 360 degree excavators, earth moving bulldozers and dump trucks, compactors used for levelling out work areas, loading shovel, concrete pumps, piling rigs

Possible duties:

  • Basic knowledge of machine vehicles

  • Good concentration

  • Good practical and communication skills

  • Ability to follow instructions

  • Fitness for climbing in and out of cabs

  • Awareness of safe working practices

  • Ability to work independently or in a team

  • Able to work at heights for some jobs

Skills needed

You would usually work around 40 hours per week but working hours may vary depending on deadlines. Most of your work will be outdoors and conditions could be noisy and dirty. You may work at heights, for example when operating a tower crane or a larger excavator. You would travel between jobs and some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home.

What to expect


  • Trainee construction plant       operators can earn around £17,000 per year

  • With qualifications, this can rise to between £20,000 per year

  • Experienced operators can earn between £25,000 and £45,000

  • Overtime and bonuses are often also available

Possible routes

  • Some employers may ask for GCSEs in some subjects like Maths, English and D.T or vocational qualifications such as a Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment or Plant related technical certificates

  • Apprenticeship

  • CPCS accredited Plant Operator  Qualification​​



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