Job as a crane operator

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Jemma Hall drives to and from work in a 25 tonne Tadano TL250E truck-mounted crane. Her day consists of driving to a site rigging up the crane to lift a specific load before de-rigging and returning to the depot.

Where do you work?

I may be working on building sites or industrial areas where a heavy lift of equipment is required. Sometimes the road surfaces are poor and I have to ensure that the vehicle does not get into difficulty. I use outrigger pads to stabilise the vehicle and web slings and chains for lifting. Some sites may be a long way from the depot so I may have to travel quite a distance on main roads.

How did you get into this work?

I've grown up in this environment as my father operated cranes and I got quite proficient using them in his yard from an early age. He convinced me to go into crane driving and operation so it was a natural progression.

What hours do you work?

Early in the morning to when the job is done. It depends on where the job is and how long it takes to get to the site. For instance I can start at 5am and finish at 6pm.

What training did you receive for this job?

I did some work experience with the company initially before taking up crane driving full-time. I spent two weeks at a training centre to get my operator and slinging licence as well as health and safety issues. I have a crane operator's licence, a slinger signaller certificate and an LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) licence. I have also received training in operating and driving other types of crane.

What are the skills and qualities needed for this type of work?

I have to ensure that I operate the crane in a calm and controlled manner always being aware of the people working around me. Being a crane driver is a huge responsibility and I have to constantly bear that in mind – especially when I am on the road in traffic.

Jemma's route to her job as a crane operator

  • 10 GCSEs.
  • A Levels.
  • National Diploma in Motor Vehicle Studies.
  • Crane operator's licence.
  • Slinger signaller certificate.
  • HGV licence.

Jemma's crane operator tips

  • Whatever you do ensure that you get the best training available.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice.

Crane operator related jobs












  • Bus driver
  • Large goods vehicle driver
  • Railway train driver
  • Construction plant operator

Crane operator salaries

  • Specialist drivers needing specific training and certification can earn anything from £12,000 whilst training.
  • This can increase to £35,000 with experience or for lifting dangerous goods and handling large vehicles for instance.

Getting a job as a crane operator

  • Look for drivers' jobs initially.
  • Progress to LGV driving and apply to construction companies for training as plant operators. Modern Apprenticeships (Skillseekers in Scotland) may be available.
  • City & Guilds and NVQ/SVQs are available in Specialised Plant & Machinery Operations (Levels 1 and 2)

Modified: 16 June 2013

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