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Plant operation: civil engineering plant and construction plant apprenticeship course

Duration: 2 years
Structure: 12 weeks training plus on-the-job experience 
Location: NCC Norfolk and your workplace
: See How to apply below
Funding: See Funding below

This apprenticeship course is for people who want to gain an academic qualification in plant operating, while gaining professional experience.

You'll learn to operate various items of plant safely and efficiently, and to carry out basic maintenance and checks.

Course content

The course includes practical training on the following items of plant:

Civil Engineering Plant

  • Crawler tractor
  • 360° Excavator
  • Dump truck
  • Wheeled Loading Shovel.

Construction Plant

  • 360° Excavator below 10T
  • 180° Digger Loader
  • Forward tipping dumper
  • Telescopic Handler.

You’ll also gain competence in:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Communication
  • Employment responsibilities and rights
  • Health and safety
  • Drug and alcohol awareness
  • Appointed person lifting operations.

Teaching and assessment

Year 1:

  • 12 weeks training: you'll learn through a mix of classroom-based theory and practical training
  • Theory and practical assessments.

Year 2:

  • Work-based experience with your employer
  • A site visit to assess you for the NVQ level 2 in Plant Operations. 

Our assessment team will track you on-site for the first category of plant selected by your employer for conversion to the NVQ and the full Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) competent operator card (blue card).

Qualifications you gain

  • NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Plant Operations (Construction)
  • Level 2 Certificate in Plant Operations
  • Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) trained operator card (red card)
  • Level 1 functional skills
  • Employment responsibilities and rights
  • Personal learning and thinking skills.

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.


  • Good communication skills
  • Physical fitness
  • A head for heights
  • Technical competence.


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

Call 0300 456 5037 for course dates and how to apply. 

After this course

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