Construction Plant Operative

Use heavy machinery to dig, lift and move materials on a building site.


You’re in charge of heavy machinery including bulldozers and dumper trucks, mobile elevated work platforms, giant cranes, compactors and excavators (JCBs).

You’re likely to be working outside on a construction site and you’ll need a cool head for heights if you’re using a tower crane or one of the larger excavators.

Construction Plant Operatives usually become an expert in one particular type of large machinery, and you’ll do everything from driving and operating the machinery to keeping it running properly.

Health and safety is also an important aspect of the job, so you’ll need to wear protective clothing, such as ear protectors, gloves, and a safety helmet and safety boots. 


Top 5 Tasks

  1. Operate heavy machinery to dig, lift and move materials
  2. Carry out simple maintenance and servicing of plant equipment
  3. Work in all weathers
  4. Work at height on a crane or elevated platform
  5. Carry out safety checks on machines.


Newly trained Plant Operators can earn around £19,000 – £25,000.

Trained with experience Plant Operators can earn around £25,000 – £30,000, with those at senior level earning up £40,000.

Salaries typically depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. 

Am I Suited?

  • Likes machines
  • Team player
  • Happy to work outside
  • Head for heights
  • Self-motivator
Construction equipment is yellow for safety reasons. On a building site you are more likely to see a machine which is yellow than any other colour, especially if it is not in your direct line of sight.


There are no formal entry requirements to train as a construction plant operator but some employers ask for GCSEs or Standard Grades/National 4/5s in maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent vocational qualifications.

You must also hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on a site, and you’ll need a driving licence if you have to drive your machinery on the road.

Vacancies / Apprenticeships

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