How to Get a Job Operating Heavy Machinery
Are you obsessed with machines? Do you dream of building things on a massive scale, like civil and industrial projects, or large earthworks operations? A career as a heavy machinery operator could be just the thing for you.
Heavy machine conductors are responsible for the maintenance, repair and operation of a range of important tools. These include bulldozers, tractors, excavators, cranes, forklifts, tree fellers, pavers and much, much more. They ensure that large construction projects get completed quickly and efficiently.
This isn’t a job for sissies. These machines have the potential to be very dangerous when operated irresponsibly. Simply imagine being at the controls of a behemoth vehicle that has the power to demolish a whole building! It’s a hair-raising affair at best. That’s why you need to have nerves to steel to be a good heavy machinery operator. However, the job itself is seldom boring – and if you enjoy the thrill of a challenging work day, you’re in the right business. Here’s how to get started as a heavy machinery conductor.
Nothing will be able to prepare you for the actual job at hand. A good training course, however, will ensure that you know the ins and outs of the vehicles you will be operating. A Certificate II in Automotive Mechanical Engineering is will show you how to use – as well as how to fit, repair and maintain – a range of large machines. This full-time, six month course is the perfect way to get some elementary experience before braving the reality of the construction site.
If you want to skip the studying and get your hands dirty straight away, then consider an apprenticeship. These are offered by a range of Transport and Logistics companies. The apprenticeship usually lasts about four years. In your first year, you may be responsible for driving pick-up vehicles. As the years go by, you’ll gradually move onto larger, more complicated types of equipment. Take note that in order to qualify as an apprentice, you should be at least seventeen years of age and possess a valid driver’s licence. You will be required to upgrade your licence as the apprenticeship develops.
Speaking of licences – all experienced heavy machines operators possess HR or HC driver’s warrants. An HR licence is for Heavy Rigid vehicles, such as trucks and tippers. In order to qualify for an HC licence, you should have been in possession of a class C (light vehicle) licence for two years. In order to graduate to a class HC (Heavy Combination) vehicle warrant, you should have held an HR or Medium Rigid class licence for one year.
Can anyone be a Heavy Machines Operator?
Obviously, you need to enjoy driving large vehicles and working in rugged – and unpredictable – environments. It goes without saying that your hand-eye coordination, eyesight and hearing need to be perfect – as well as your sense of judging distances and reflexes. It also helps to be energetic and adaptable enough to take on shifts at different times of the day. You should also be able to stay alert for long periods of time at work, and of course, be capable of working within a team.
If you want the kind of job that offers you myriad challenges and surprises, as well as on-the-job satisfaction, then a career as a heavy machinery operator will be a worthwhile investment.