Apprenticeships for Plant Operators


What is a Plant Operator Apprenticeship

If you’re looking into the possibility of employing or training plant operators for your business then a Level 2 Plant Operations Apprenticeship could be right for you. This course is designed to teach existing or new employees to be competent plant operators on several categories of plant machinery without any prior experience necessary.

What plant operator apprentices will learn

The Level 2 Plant Operations Apprenticeship aims to teach apprentices 6 different plant machinery categories. This will teach apprentices how to operate on a live construction site environment. Fundamental skills will be taught such as working in a team, effective communication on-site, health and safety, etc. Further to this, apprentices can also learn more specialised skills to suit the employer’s site such as tailoring the individual apprentice’s training to suit a ground working site or a rail company.

The apprentice will learn to operate plant machinery to the same standard that you would expect from any of the training courses that we offer throughout the year. Using highly trained and highly experienced tutors and assessors, we are able to ensure the excellent standard of training you expect, is delivered.

Benefits for Employers

You can benefit greatly from the apprenticeship scheme, especially in the current COVID-19 situation as the Government are offering up to £2000 to employers per apprentice taken on. This means that if you don’t pay into the apprenticeship levy fund (Employers with a wage bill over £3m per year) you’ll be able to pay off the cost of the training and have most of the grant left over to spend on anything at all!

You can also assure yourself that your plant operators understand the proper methods and health and safety regulations for working on a construction site with plant machinery. This is because, at SB Skills, we train our plant apprentices in a live construction site environment to prepare them for their future careers.

Employers can also benefit from a ‘home-grown’ trained employee if you recruit a new apprentice. Apprentices are more likely to stay with the employer who employed them and trained them as they will feel loyalty towards the employer. In the case of already employed staff becoming apprentices, this can lead to an increase in staff morale which often leads to increases in efficiency and reduces staff turnover.

For more benefits of apprenticeships, we have a guide to everything you need to know about apprentices.

Who needs a plant operator apprentice?

Any company that makes use of heavy plant machinery, such as a 360 Tracked Excavator or a Telescopic Handler, can benefit greatly from the plant operator apprenticeship. Upskilling existing employees can be a very rewarding experience for your staff as they will receive qualifications and be able to take on increased responsibilities.

Benefits for Apprentices

Apprentices can benefit from a Level 2 Plant Operations Apprenticeship in many ways. As an apprenticeship is essentially a comprehensive training program with work experience involved, apprentices can get out, what they put into their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships have many different pathways that can allow us to tailor the training program to the employer’s needs, however, apprentices can often speak to their employer about their desired pathway if it suits the employer’s needs. This can allow you as an apprentice to follow a pathway that will benefit the career direction you are aiming for.

You can benefit from undertaking a plant operations apprenticeship rather than traditional training methods if you are not in employment as it is a great entry into the industry. Not only will an apprenticeship get you the experience you need to stand out from newly trained plant operators, but you will also have a higher level of competency than most new entrants into the industry, shown by your competent operator card.

How the plant operations apprenticeship works

Our apprenticeships work on a block-release system. Your apprentices will come to our centre in Burscough for practical plant training every few weeks as well as visiting our brand-new apprenticeship training facility for theory, classroom-based lessons. The times when we are not training your apprentices, they will be at your site. This will allow you to get the most out of your apprentices as we will not have to schedule a site visit every week, potentially slowing down site efficiency and affecting schedules.

The apprentices will need to complete 20% off the job training, this does not mean that apprentices must undertake ‘homework’, it means that 20% of their time working should be spent learning. Theory and practical training can be used as OTJ hours so your apprentices can make most of their hours out of the training they’ll receive.

Once your apprentice has completed the apprenticeship training program, there will be an end-point-assessment. This will involve an assessment of the apprentices’ competency and knowledge gained throughout their time on the apprenticeship. Once they pass the end-point-assessment the apprentice will be fully qualified for the role.

Qualifications from the Plant Operator Apprenticeship

Once your apprentice has completed the plant operations apprenticeship, they will receive a few different qualifications. The qualifications that your apprentices will gain range from plant machinery tickets to a level 2 apprenticeship qualification.

Plant Categories

360 Degree Tracked Excavator

excavator training

Telehandler including Suspended Loads

Telescopic Handler Suspended Loads

Forward Tipping Dumper

Forward Tipping Dumper

Ride-on Roller


Vehicle Marshaller

Vehicle Marshaller

Loader Securer


Our experience with operating plant machinery

SB Skills Solutions Ltd have several years of training candidates to operate plant machinery to the highest standard possible. Providing high-quality, health and safety-focused training has been a priority of ours on every course we deliver. Our accredited CPCS centre is home to a range of plant machines with highly experienced instructors overseeing our training courses.

If you want to up skill your business, contact our team on 01695 558 420 or email us on


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    SB Skills are fully accredited to provide training and testing courses to the construction, engineering, warehousing and petrochemical industries.