A career in

Cranes play a massive role in New Zealand’s construction sector. Without cranes, it would simply be impossible to build some of our most important structures!

By becoming a crane operator, you can play a direct role in building up New Zealand’s infrastructure. Whether it’s lifting structures into place, moving heavy loads, or unloading containers from ships – wherever there is development, there is a need for skilled crane operators.

You’ll get the training you need on the job, and in a couple of years you can become a fully qualified crane operator. From there, you can get further training to enter more specialised crane roles.

The crane industry is one that can take you to new heights – literally – and is always presenting new, exciting challenges.

2 years icon blue 150x150
Length of training

1-2 years

  • Trainee crane operators usually earn around $20 or more an hour
  • Very experienced crane operators in specialised roles can earn $60 to $70 an hour

Source: Careers.govt.nz

job outlook crane 150x150
Job outlook

The nationwide construction boom means there is a high demand for skilled crane professionals.

  • Around 330 new people are needed in the cranes & elevated platforms sector by 2020
  • This equates to 70 people needing to fill crane, hoist, or lift operator jobs each year

Source: Skills/Infometrics

How you'll be helping your employer
As a trainee, you’ll be learning heaps while earning a wage at the same time. But did you know that you’re not the only one who benefits?

Trainees play an important role in New Zealand’s economy and in businesses both large and small. By becoming a trainee, you’ll be bringing value to your employer by:
  • Providing extra hands on deck
    Providing extra hands on deck

    Tradies are busy people! Your employer will appreciate having another tradie on board to help out with their list of jobs.

  • Introducing fresh ideas and energy
    Introducing fresh ideas and energy

    A fresh pair of eyes can really help any business. Your unique attitudes and skills will help expand your employer’s ways of thinking and working.

  • Keeping them up to date with the latest industry standards
    Keeping them up to date with the latest industry standards


    As your employer trains you up, they’ll stay on top of the latest standards, keeping their business up-to-date with a changing industry.

  • Helping them train up tomorrow’s tradies
    Helping them train up tomorrow’s tradies

    You’re part of the “next generation” of tradies, making sure New Zealand continues to have a highly skilled trades workforce, well into the future.

Tips to get a job
Keen to become a crane operator?
The first step is to find an employer who will take you on as a trainee and offer you a job. Here are some key tips to think about as you look for an employer.
  • Have you got the basic skills covered?

    Like any job, there are some basic skills that are very handy to have before you start as a crane operator. These include:

    • Having a manual drivers licence
    • Reading plans and instructions
    • Operating computerised controls
    • Having good hand-eye coordination
    • Being good with numbers and calculations

    Showing you already have these skills can make a good first impression on potential employers and help you get the job.

    But don’t worry if you haven’t mastered all of these yet – most employers will be happy to train you up on any gaps you have

  • Writing a winning CV

    Your CV is probably the most important document in your search for an employer and a job. Make sure you write a CV that showcases your best skills and grabs the employer’s attention. Here are some tips for a winning CV:

    • Keep it short. Try to stick to one page, up to a maximum of two.
    • Put the employer first. Step into their shoes and think: what does the perfect apprentice look like? How will they help my business? Make sure you match your CV’s content with the skills the employer is looking for – job ads will give you a big clue here.
    • Personalise it. Don’t take the same CV to every employer. Take the time to tailor your CV to each different employer, reflecting the specific skills and attributes they’re looking for.
    • Triple-check it for errors! Even the smallest typo or grammar mistake can put off an employer. Read through your CV several times before printing it off, and have friends or family check it too.
  • Searching for employers

    Right, you’ve got your CV sorted – now it’s time to find an employer who will offer you a job.

    If you think about it, there are heaps of places you can look. Here are some suggestions:

    • Go on job websites such as Seek and TradeMe jobs
    • If you’re still at school, visit your careers advisor to see if they know of any openings
    • Use your network! Ask friends, family, community groups you’re part of, your sports club, and other connections. You might be able to find a tradie who is looking to take on an apprentice
    • Go the old-fashioned way and door-knock. Whip out the Yellow Pages, look for crane companies in your area, and go visit them – they’ll appreciate your proactive attitude
  • Meeting employers: Putting your best foot forward

    If an employer has said they’re interested in talking to you – well done! Now’s your real chance to impress.

    Remember that even the most casual, laid-back trades company is still a business. That means you have to act professional and make a strong first impression if you want the job.

    If you have limited experience talking to business owners and managers, here are some quick tips to impress them:

    • Show up on time. If you’ve made an appointment to meet with a company, arrive a few minutes early, or at least on time.
    • Body language matters. Employers don’t just listen to the words you say – they also look for “cues” in your body language. Sit and stand up straight and look confident. Make good eye contact when addressing them. Offer a firm handshake when you first meet them. The little things do count!
    • Dress for success. We don’t expect you to rock up wearing a suit and tie, but you should still make an effort to look tidy. A smart shirt, pants, and pair of shoes with well-groomed hair is enough for employers to take you seriously.
    • Be polite and professional. Remember, you could potentially be talking to someone who could be your boss for the next few years. No matter what you talk about, stay polite and act professional at all times.
Need more information?