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Construction Plant Operative Apprenticeship

Duration: Minimum of 15 months
Structure: 13 weeks of training at the college, with further training where required, plus on-the-job experience
Location: Bircham Newton (Norfolk) and your workplace
Available on request
Funding: See 'Funding' below


Download the course Framework Delivery Model

This apprenticeship course is for individuals who want to gain the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours required to carry out the role of a plant operator in the construction industry.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to check, prepare and safely operate a variety of plant machines that are used onsite in the construction sector. On this apprenticeship, the individual will undertake a range of non-operational activities, such as checking, maintaining and cleaning machines. They will also learn to direct and guide other plant and vehicles, carrying out the role of a plant and vehicle marshaller, and help to load plant onto or off a transporter when it is delivered to another site.

This apprenticeship may give the individual the opportunity to progress to become a lead operator, supervisor or manager, or even set up their own contracting company in the future.

Course content

The course covers the following roles and categories of construction plant machinery:

  • plant operator
  • plant and vehicle marshal
  • forward-tipping dumper or articulated dump truck
  • ride-on roller
  • telescopic handler (including suspended loads)
  • 360o excavator.

You’ll learn knowledge, skills and behaviours in:

  • safe operation of plant machinery
  • maintenance of plant machinery
  • health, safety and welfare
  • risk assessments and method statements
  • interpreting information
  • effective communication
  • customer relationships.

You’ll also focus on personal skills in:

  • mathematics
  • English
  • drug and alcohol awareness
  • time management
  • teamwork and independent working
  • attitude and discipline
  • personal organisation.

Teaching and assessment

13 weeks of training and assessment delivered over a minimum of 15 months, with further training if required.

Block 1: 3–4 weeks

Block 2: 3–4 weeks

Block 3: 6–7 weeks

Block 4: 2 days

Qualifications you gain

  • Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) trained operator card (red card)
  • Level 1 Functional Skills

Methods of assessment

You’ll be regularly assessed via a range of different methods, and will be required to complete college-based and site-based activity journals. You’ll be given clear, direct and constructive feedback to enable you to make progress and successfully complete the course.

Entry requirements


No formal requirements, but it’s useful to have GCSE grades A*-C in English, maths and technology.

To help us assess your suitability for the course, you'll need to:

  • complete a skills learning exercise and possibly attend the college for further tests
  • complete a questionnaire and take part in an informal discussion.

Other information

You’ll need to have:

  • good communication skills
  • a good level of physical fitness.


You will be paid while you learn.


The following CITB grants are available for employers to fund their apprentices on this course:

If you applied for your apprenticeship through the Education and Skills Funding Agency, only applicants aged between 16 and 18 who have not been placed on a training scheme before are guaranteed full funding.

How to apply

Email customerengagement@citb.co.uk 

After this course

You can be assessed for higher NVQs at the National Construction College. We provide details to all trainees.