Overview of the role

Check, prepare and operate a number of construction machines (known as plant) that is used onsite in the construction sector including on railways, demolition and utility works (water/gas/electricity supply).

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in Construction, Infrastructure and the Built Environment.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to check, prepare and operate a number of construction machines (known as plant) that is used onsite in the construction sector including on railways, demolition and utility works (water/gas/electricity supply).  This apprenticeship involves the learning on four common types of construction plant and includes a 360-degree excavator, dumper/dump truck, forklift and ride-on roller. The ability to operate a core range of plant onsite will enable apprentices to work across a number of projects and provide the basis of upgrading to more specialist plant such as graders, dozers, demolition plant etc. They can progress to becoming a lead operator, supervisor, site or plant manager, or even set up their own contracting company.

Although each machine can carry out a number of different types of work, the core role of a 360 degree excavator is to 'dig' or 'shape' ground to, for example, form trenches for underground pipes, form earthwork embankments and will further load vehicles such as dumpers/dump trucks with earth that has been dug. The dumper will be loaded with earth from the excavator which is then transported across a site and tips the earth from the machine to form stockpiles or tip into an open trench. A ride in roller ‘rolls’ and compacts materials such as earth and tarmac for roads, paths etc. by being driven forward and backwards on a defined pattern, which compacts the material according to a specification. Forklifts in essence pick up a range of construction materials (usually on pallets) using the forks of the machine and transports them around a site, placing their load at various locations, sometimes to heights of 17 metres or more.

On this apprenticeship, the operative will further undertake a range of non-operational activities with each machine such as the checking, maintaining and cleaning of their machine. They will also learn to direct and guide other plant and vehicles; for example, directing the driver of a dump truck where to position themselves when being loaded by the excavator and will further learn how to signal and marshal other plant and vehicles undertaking site deliveries, carry out checks on the work they do and finally help load their plant onto or off a transporter when being delivered to another site.

In this occupation, the operative will work on construction and civil engineering sites and will be required to travel to and from the site either on a daily or weekly basis. The operative may work on infrastructure projects such as a new motorway or high-speed rail line, giving the operative the opportunity to be involved in high-profile national projects. They will work alongside other workers such a ground workers who directly help the plant operator by, for example, providing signals and attaching and detaching ancillary equipment. The plant operative however remains in principle ultimately responsible for the execution and completion of the tasks they are undertaking.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a wide range of different stakeholders, including the following: the client; contractors/customers; members of the public; supervisors; other trades/occupations; supporting occupations (banksman, mechanics etc.); managers; suppliers; safety professionals; manufacturers and administration staff. They will work exclusively in an outdoor environment in all seasons and weathers, and at variable times which may include overnight, weekend and anti-social hours work to complete projects which have fixed completion timescales such as roadworks, rail maintenance etc.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for preparing, setting up and operating a number of designated construction plant types according to a site plan/method of work and in most cases will be under direct and indirect supervision. However, they will be in many cases be the lead operative working with supporting staff and the only worker who has full understanding of their machine’s capabilities and limitations. Operating plant is a safety critical activity and means that the actions of the operative has a direct and significant consequence to the safety and welfare of others, including the general public, for which a very high level of burden and responsibility comes with this occupation.

Typical job titles include:

Concrete pump operator Dozer operator Dump truck operator Equipment operator Machine driver Machine driver Note: each of these titles is supported by the machine type e.g. 360 excavator operator Plant operator

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Carry out operator-level servicing and maintenance activities using relevant information sources

K1 K2 K3 K18 K19

S1 S2 S3 S4 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 2 Carry out checks, make adjustments and alterations to the machine and preparing the machines for work

K1 K2 K3 K5 K6 K7 K18 K19

S1 S2 S3 S4 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 3 Extract and use information from the machine’s operator’s manual, site plans and drawings and verbal communication

K3 K4 K5 K11 K12 K13 K15 K17 K18 K19

S1 S3 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 4 Make requests and procure materials, equipment and tools needed for the operational activities

K1 K2 K3 K5 K11 K18 K19

S1 S3 S4 S9 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 5 Manoeuvre the machine on construction and similar sites from parking areas to the working area in all terrain and conditions

K3 K4 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K18

S3 S5 S6 S9 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 6 Position and set up the machine to carry out a range of given work activities relevant to the machine's capabilities

K3 K4 K5 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K18 K19

S3 S7 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 7 Organise, control and communicate with others to set up the work and whilst carrying out the work

K3 K4 K11 K12 K13 K14 K18

S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 8 Operate an excavator 360 according to its intended purpose to carry out working activities according to the contract specifications which will include excavating earth; forming excavations, levelling and shaping ground, forming stockpiles; lifting basic loads; loading vehicles with earth and other materials

K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K18

S8 S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 9 Operate a forward tipping dumper according to its intended purpose to carry out working activities according to the contract specifications which will include receiving earth and other loose materials; transport the materials to the discharging area; forming stockpiles of discharged materials; deposit materials into trenches; excavations etc.

K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K18

S1 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 10 Operate a ride-on roller according to its intended purpose to carry out working activities according to the contract specifications which will include compacting loose granular materials; bitumous and tarmac-bound materials

K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K18

S1 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 11 Operate a telescopic handler according to its intended purpose to carry out working activities according to the contract specifications which will include retrieving, lifting and placing loads at height using the forks; lifting and placing suspended loads at height and reach; transporting fork-mounted loads and suspended loads across the site

K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K18

S1 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 12 Monitor their work activity, ensure the machine is working safely and efficiently, and make adjustments or alterations as required

K3 K4 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K18 K19

S1 S3 S9 S10 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 13 Park, shut down and make safe the machine or machines after work.

K1 K4 K17 K18

S1 S11 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 14 Marshall, guide and control other types of similar construction equipment for delivery and transporting activities

K4 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K18 K19

S9 S10 S12 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 15 Provide assistance when a machine is to be loaded onto and unloaded from an HGV/low loader truck and assist in securing for transport

K1 K2 K3 K8 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18

S3 S4 S5 S6 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5



K1: The operator-level servicing, checks and maintenance requirements for the range of plant. Back to Duty

K2: How tools and equipment for maintenance, checks, servicing and configuration requirements are to be used and maintained. Back to Duty

K3: How to extract information from the operator’s manual and electronic readout systems for to prepare and use the machine effectively. Back to Duty

K4: How site plans and work programmes are devised, used and disseminated to relevant parties and how they determine how the work is to be carried out. Back to Duty

K5: What resources and ancillary equipment the machine will require to carry out core operational functions. Back to Duty

K6: The function and use of all controls, gauges, switches and performance aids to carry out machine operations. Back to Duty

K7: The characteristics, functions, uses and limitations of use of the relevant item of plant. Back to Duty

K8: The factors that affect the stability and safe operation of the relevant item of plant. Back to Duty

K9: How the machine should be manoeuvred and set for operational activities. Back to Duty

K10: What the hazards and requirements are for manoeuvring the machine around construction sites and working environment. Back to Duty

K11: The types of planning and communication methods that are relevant and effective in a variety of work situations. Back to Duty

K12: The purpose and layout of site traffic plans, the working areas, exclusions zones and authorized passages for the movement. Back to Duty

K13: The types of hand signals and verbal instructions (inc. radio use) required for the movement of plant and vehicles. Back to Duty

K14: The manoeuvring characteristics, limitations of manoeuvrability and visibility limitations of plant, supporting plant and delivery vehicles. Back to Duty

K15: How a transporter needs to be set to allow the loading and unloading of plant. Back to Duty

K16: The dangers and precautions when loading and unloading plant from a vehicle bed. Back to Duty

K17: The securing procedures required for a range of plant including tracked, wheeled and smooth-drum types. Back to Duty

K18: The health, safety, wellbeing and environmental requirements and considerations that apply for operational and maintenance activities, such as the control of diesel and oil spills, and reporting procedures for unsafe or environmental situations. Back to Duty

K19: Relevant legislation and regulations including Health and Safety at Work Act, PUWER, LOLER, COSHH and the requirements for, and devising of static and dynamic risk assessments, method statements, COSHH-based assessments and permit-to-work systems. Back to Duty


S1: Extract information from a variety of sources for basic servicing, checks, operational and maintenance requirements. Back to Duty

S2: Select and use tools, lubricants and equipment required for operator-level maintenance, checks, servicing and configuration requirements. Back to Duty

S3: Identify and apply information from a range of sources so that the machine is set for the work and for the work to be carried out. Back to Duty

S4: Identify and source materials, equipment and consumables for operational requirements. Back to Duty

S5: Prepare and set the machine for travelling purposes. Back to Duty

S6: Travel the machine across a range of ground, surfaces and in a range of operational environments and conditions inc. where relevant on inclines, and on and from a transporter. Back to Duty

S7: Plan, configure and set the machine to carry out the required work activity. Back to Duty

S8: Operate the machine in accordance with given instructions for excavating, compacting, loading, lifting, moving, discharging and placing activities relevant to the machine being used. Back to Duty

S9: Identify, use and maintain effective communication with co-workers, supporting staff and supervisors to carry out the work safely and efficiently. Back to Duty

S10: Carry out checks (through self and with others) that the work being carried out meets the job requirements and timescales. Back to Duty

S11: Position, configure and shut down the machine when work activities cease and isolate and secure the machine and relevant equipment and structures to prevent unauthorised use or access. Back to Duty

S12: Marshall the movements of a range of plant and delivery vehicles for positioning and safe movement requirements. Back to Duty

S13: Assist in the setting up, configuring and positioning of plant to carry out specific work functions. Back to Duty

S14: Assist in preparing and securing a transporter and the items of plant during the loading and unloading activity for transportation purposes. Back to Duty

S15: Work in accordance with health, safety, welfare and environmental requirements, evaluate the working area and activity according to static and dynamic risk assessments and method statements, and report on unsafe situations following organisational procedures. Back to Duty


B1: Health and Safety-first attitude - Is aware of the importance of following procedures and following guidance of senior members of the team due to the many risks and hazards present in the work environment and acts in accordance to H & S requirements, constantly evaluating the operation for hazards and takes appropriate actions whilst following safe systems of work, avoids taking short cuts that may increase risks. Back to Duty

B2: Working effectively - Undertakes the work in a reliable and productive manner. Back to Duty

B3: Positive customer relationships - Behaves in accordance with the values of the employer; treats customers and stakeholders with courtesy and responds quickly to their requirements, forming and enhancing customer relationships, creating and maintaining effective working and commercial relationships. Back to Duty

B4: Teamwork and independent working - Working and engaging collaboratively and effectively with co-workers of different occupations to achieve requisite results safely and efficiently and safe working, and achieving those results through independence, resourcefulness and ability, operates as an effective team member and under supervision, takes responsibility, accountability and ownership of their own actions and for the completion their own work. Back to Duty

B5: Attitude and discipline - Adopts a professional approach to the work and to colleagues and clients and shows professionalism whilst being polite and courteous to peers, managers, clients, general public and others, questions and challenges others when procedures are not being followed. Back to Duty


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 2
Reference: ST0736
Version: 1.2
Date updated: 15/01/2024
Approved for delivery: 10 July 2020
Route: Construction and the built environment
Typical duration to gateway: 15 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £14000
LARS Code: 575
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Flannery Plant Hire, Keltbray, John Reilly Civil Engineering, BAM Nuttall, Elvington Plant, TXM Plant, L Lynch, O’Brien Group, Active Plant, Thistle Earth, VHE, R Bullivant, Stokey Plant, MGL Group

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 End-point assessment plan revised 15/01/2024 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised 09/05/2023 14/01/2024 Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 10/07/2020 08/05/2023 Not set

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