Cemetery worker

grave digger bereavement and environmental services operative

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would prepare graves so families can say goodbye to their loved one at a funeral.

You’d look after the cemetery so it is tidy and pleasant when people visit in later months and years to remember the person.

You’d work outdoors to maintain the grounds at cemeteries and crematoriums. You’d respectfully tend the graves and memorial sites so families know that they are always cared for.

You would:

  • Measure and mark out the spaces for graves
  • Use a mechanical excavator and hand tools to dig graves
  • Prop up the sides of the grave with timber, using hydraulic equipment
  • Keep the cemetery and graves tidy
  • Check headstones for damage and remove those that are not safe
  • Cut and trim the lawns, verges and plants

You’d work with other funeral and cemetery staff including:

  • Crematorium technicians
  • Cemetery inspectors and superintendents
  • Council officials
  • General gardening staff

Working conditions


You will usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may also need to work at weekends.


You will be outdoors in all kinds of weather. It can be physically demanding, and involve lots of climbing and bending. Some aspects of the job may involve the use of heavy machinery and chemicals. Suitable protective clothing is provided when appropriate.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Following instructions
  • Helping customers
  • Being tactful
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role; personal qualities are more important than academic.

You will also need

You usually have to be able to drive or ride on machinery, for example, a mower.

A full driving licence is usually required.

A licence with Categories B1E and C1E may be required and a JCB certificate is an advantage or be willing to gain a JCB Certificate once in work.  

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience in construction or gardening.