How To Become A Crane Driver

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So you want to be a crane driver

You want to drive cranes for a living, eh? You’ll not be in the least surprised to learn that you can’t just turn up at a building site with a yellow helmet and a pack of sandwiches and ask for a go. The path to becoming a fully-skilled crane operator is a long and complex one, young learner (actually, it’s not – read on and find out how to qualify).

The crane driving and lifting industry is governed by a tight code of conduct that is designed to maximise skills and avoid accidents. That means only experienced men and women are allowed behind the control once they’ve proved they have the right qualifications and certification.

how to become a crane driver

To become a crane operator, the approved route is through the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), which is an industry-wide qualification which gives you an operator’s card that is accepted in most construction sites in the UK. Holding a CPCS card means you have a proven record of working to acceptable standards on construction plant. Sites have a simple rule: No card, no job.

There are two stages in the CPCS scheme. The first is the red card, which says you are trained to scheme standards. This means you’re up to speed on health and safety regulations, both in theory and in practice. The red card also tells site supervisors that you’ve passed the CPCS tests on the kind of plant you’re operating. To ensure a continuity of training, and to make sure only properly skilled operators are employed, the red card is only valid for two years, during which you must progress to the blue card.

The CPCS blue card means you’ve passed the correct vocational qualifications at NVQ level, and you have to be approved by an assessor who is following your training. The CPCS blue card says you’re a competent person to operate that class of machinery, and is valid for five years.

Most of the major operating companies run training courses at all levels of the CPCS scheme, allowing you to become an appointed person, crane supervisor or a banksman, all vital roles in the lifting industry. Unless you are being sponsored through a course by a particularly generous employer, you might find yourself having to pay your own way through your qualifications. It can get expensive, but the end result is a highly-skilled job in an important profession.

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