Construction plant operator

plant operator
Produce

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 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

Hours

You would usually work around 40 hours a week, but your working hours may vary depending on deadlines.

Environment

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.

Travel

You would travel between jobs, and some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

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

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Following instructions
  • Working on your own
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit

Build your skills

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.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

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

Qualifications

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)