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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 (Norfolk) and your workplace
Continuous start dates available 
Funding: See Grants and funding below

Download the course Framework Delivery Model

This apprenticeship course is for individuals who wish to gain the relevant Knowledge, skills and behaviours required to carry out the role of a plant operator in the construction industry, this apprenticeship includes undertaking the role of a plant and vehicle marshal.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to check, prepare and safely operate a variety of plant machines that are used on-site in the construction sector. On this apprenticeship, the individual will further undertake a range of non-operational activities such as the checking, maintaining and cleaning of the machine. They will also learn to direct and guide other plant and vehicles, carry out checks on the work they do and finally help to load their plant onto or off a transporter when being delivered to another site.

This gives the individual the potential opportunity to progress to become a lead operator, supervisor, manager, or even set up their own contracting company.

Course content

The course covers practical principles in:

  • 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

Apprentices will be regularly assessed via a range of different methods and will be required to complete college and site-based activity journals.  Apprentices will be given clear, direct and constructive feedback to enable them to progress to a successful completion.

Mandatory entry requirements


No formal requirements, but it’s useful to have Maths and English GCSE Grades 3-9 or D-A.

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.

Apply here - online application form

Need more information?

Contact one of our account managers

Jason Haslam

Or phone Course booking line: 0344 994 4433

After this course

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