Construction plant operator

plant operator
Construction and building

Career outlook for construction plant operator

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would use large machines and vehicles, like diggers and cranes, to get jobs done on construction and demolition sites, roadworks, and in industrial sites like quarries and railways.

You could use machines such as:

  • Excavators or diggers
  • Dumper trucks
  • Bulldozers
  • Loading shovels
  • Mobile and crawler cranes
  • Tower cranes
  • Compactors used for levelling work areas
  • Piling rigs
  • Concrete pumps

You would carry out daily safety checks on the machine you are using so a basic knowledge of vehicle mechanics would be necesary. You would also change the buckets and other attachments.

You might also use forklifts to unload and move materials around the site.

If you operated a crane, you would work with a slinger signaler who would attach the loads and direct you by signals or radio.

Working conditions


You would usually work around 40 hours a week, but your 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.

UK employment status





Self employed


Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Concentrating
  • Taking initiative
  • Taking responsibility

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

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 for entry to this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Practical technologies subjects

You will also need

You usually need to pass an aptitude test to enter this role.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent and pass a health and safety test to work and train on construction sites.

Plant operators who work in the construction industry must hold a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate an understanding of construction and practical skills, such as:

  • Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCQF level 3)
  • Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5)