By in Plant News

New Plant Operator Trailblazer Apprenticeship under Development

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has granted approval for a new Construction Plant Operator Trailblazer Apprenticeship to be developed.

A submission was devised by an employer-led Trailblazer working group supported by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA). Following a number of revisions to the submission plan, approval was received from the IfA and the working group is now preparing to develop the standards and assessment plan for the new Plant Operator Apprenticeship.

The employer-led working group was first formed in July 2016 to develop a new apprenticeship for those that operate plant and equipment. A number of employers are represented in the group including construction equipment owners and hirers, as well as representatives from other sectors such as demolition and rail. P Flannery Plant Hire and the Hawk Group are acting as the co-chairs and CPA colleagues are project-managing the apprenticeship process on behalf of the group.

The working group will be developing a Level 2 multi-role occupation similar to the current ‘framework’ apprenticeship where learning will take place with four machines over a 12-month period to act as the stepping stones into the sector and occupation. The proposed content includes learning on servicing and basic maintenance techniques, as well as marshalling of plant, providing apprentices with an overall understanding of plant operations and supporting activities. Although there is a requirement to have at least 20% of the learning of the job, the majority of learning will be undertaken within the workplace.

The working group further intends to apply to develop a Level 3 Specialist Plant Operator occupation to allow the transfer from Level 2 to Level 3 and provide the skills needed for specialist activities such as rail plant, demolition and tunnelling.

Patrick Flannery, Co-Chair of the working group said: “We are very pleased to have finally received approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships after several meetings with them over the last year to come up with an acceptable format. We are now eager to start the development process and design an apprenticeship that meets our industry’s needs and entices new people into the industry.”

The working group is seeking additional employers to help develop the Construction Plant Operator Apprenticeship. Those interested should contact Peter Brown from the CPA on 0207 796 3366 or e-mail

Editor’s Note: The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) is the leading trade association for the plant hire sector in the UK. The CPA has 1,600 members, who supply 85% of hired plant to the construction industry. The organisation is the UK’s principal point of contact for all issues relating to the use of construction plant.

The CPA works with government departments and agencies, local authorities, construction clients, private companies, other trade associations, and third sector organisations, on issues including employee health and safety, machinery standards and emissions control, public safety and road transport, skills and employment. The CPA publishes a wide range of guidance documents which are distributed widely throughout the construction industry and many are available for immediate free download from the CPA website at The CPA supports a number of Special Interest Groups, which tackle issues within specialist sectors.

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