Crane Driver

Job Description:

Crane drivers operate lifting machinery at construction sites, quarries, mining sites, ports and warehouses.

Job Category:
Metals & Mining

What you will do:

As a crane operator, you’ll:

  • set up cranes and carry out safety checks
  • load and unload lorries
  • shift loads around the site
  • monitor sensors that measure wind speed, crane stability and load weights
  • carry out minor repairs to machinery
  • report problems to the crane supervisor
  • keep in close contact with workers on the ground to operate safely


You’ll need:

  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • concentration skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a Crane Driver typically does not require specific subjects. However, a good educational foundation and certain skills are important for pursuing this career. Crane Drivers operate heavy machinery, including cranes, to lift and move heavy objects in various industries such as construction, shipping, and manufacturing. Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): Basic math skills are essential for calculating loads, weights, and distances, which are crucial for safe crane operation.
  2. Physics: a basic understanding of physics principles, especially those related to forces, motion, and mechanics, can be beneficial.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

You could do a college qualification like a Certificate in Construction Plant Operations (a Level 2 in the UK)

This would teach you how to operate different types of construction plant machinery. You could then apply to construction companies for a trainee position.

You could get into this job through a lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship.

You could 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.

Direct Application
You could apply directly and learn on the job under the supervision of an experienced crane driver.

In the UK, you may need a plant card to operate some machinery.

Career tips
You may find it useful if you’ve got experience in construction, mechanical engineering or plant operations.

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to:

  • have a category C1 or C LGV licence if driving mobile cranes on public roads

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work on a construction site.

Your working environment may be at height and noisy.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and further training you could:

  • become a crane supervisor, signaller or slinger
  • specialise in operating heavy cranes
  • work on construction projects all over the world
  • get a manager job with responsibility for the day-to-day running of a site