Job type

Crane driver

£20k - £37k

Typical salary

37 – 42

Hours per week

Crane drivers operate machinery used to lift and move heavy materials and equipment on construction, quarrying and mining sites, and in warehouses and ports.

More info

  • Operate lifting machinery on construction, quarrying and mining sites, at ports and in warehouses.
  • With experience and a Level 3 or 4 NVQ Diploma in Lifting Operations, become a crane supervisor, directing operations
  • Much time will be spent alone working in the crane cab, which on a tower crane could be very high up

As a crane driver, you could work on mobile, overhead or tower cranes. On a building site, you may lift and move construction materials and equipment safely by operating the controls in the crane cab. You'll be in constant radio contact with workers on the ground, who'll be giving you instructions on what to move and where.


  • Setting up cranes and carrying out safety checks
  • Loading and unloading lorries
  • Shifting loads around the site
  • Monitoring sensors that measure wind speed, crane stability and load weights
  • Carrying out minor repairs to machinery
  • Reporting any problems to the crane supervisor
  • Keeping records of the materials you've moved
  • You could also work in open-cast mining and quarrying, moving earth and rock out of the way to get to the raw materials underneath


Overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines. Your working environment may be noisy, at height and you'll spend much of your time working alone. You may travel from site to site when working on a mobile crane. Safety equipment, including ear protectors, is essential.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone who enjoys hands-on work and who is thorough and pays attention to detail.

You could apply directly and learn on the job under the supervision of an experienced crane driver. Some employers may ask for a few GCSEs in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications. You may find it useful if you've got experience as an operative in construction, mechanical engineering or plant operations. You could do a college qualification like a Level 2 Certificate in Plant Operations which is usually done as part of on-the-job training with a company.

You could also start as a construction site labourer. Once you've got experience of using heavy plant machinery like excavators, you could do training on the job to move into crane operation.

Alternatively, you could get into this job through a lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship.

You'll need a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card to operate some machinery and have a category C1 or C LGV licence if driving mobile cranes on public roads.


With experience and a Level 3 or 4 NVQ Diploma in Lifting Operations, you could become a crane supervisor, directing operations. After further training you may be able to work as a site manager, with responsibility for the day-to-day running of a construction or quarrying site.