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.
Crane operators use cranes to move large, heavy objects. This can include materials on construction sites, containers on wharves, and heavy parts in factories.
There’s lots of coordination and communication on the job – you’re not the only one involved! Whether you’re operating the crane itself or you’re on the ground directing the crane, it’s all about the team working together effectively.
On any given day, you could be:
Once you find a crane company who will employ you, you’ll likely start off as a ‘dogman’. This role involves attaching loads to cranes and directing crane operators from the ground. It’s a great way to learn the ropes and how it all works.
After about a year of training on the job, you could gain the New Zealand Certificate in Cranes (Dogman Operations) (Level 3). The New Zealand Certificate in Crane Operation (Level 3 and 4) is next – achieving this certificate means you are a fully qualified crane operator.
From there, you can build on your career by training in a crane specialisation. You can choose from options such as piling & foundation, tower crane erection, crane supervision, and mobile crane dispatch.
As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to progress to higher-level roles, such as foreperson or supervisor.
Crane operators need a special set of skills. You'll learn all the technical bits in your apprenticeship, but for starters, you'll need to be:
As a crane trainee, you’ll be working, learning, and earning money at the same time. You’ll work closely with experienced people at your company to learn everything you need to become a qualified crane operator.
During your training, you'll learn the skills you need to become a crane operator in two ways:
A supervisor at your company will support you to check you are working correctly and safely.
The nationwide construction boom means there is a high demand for skilled crane professionals.
Tradies are busy people! Your employer will appreciate having another tradie on board to help out with their list of jobs.
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.
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.
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.
Like any job, there are some basic skills that are very handy to have before you start as a crane operator. These include:
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
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:
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:
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: