The Road to Becoming a Crane Operator

Crane operator jobs are found in a number of industries with professionals rendering services in everything from construction and manufacturing, to railway, shipbuilding and cargo-handling services. Today the Job Mail team takes a closer look at what a Crane Operator is, what his or her job entails and the type of training needed to fill positions in this industry.


What do Crane Operator jobs entail?

Operating cranes in order to move large, heavy objects from one place to another (like building material or cargo containers for example). Both stationary and mobile crane operator jobs involves the lifting, hoisting and winching of material and equipment in a number of environments that include, but is not limited to, construction sites, wharfs, mines and factories.

Core duties of Crane Operators

Crane Operator jobs involve the operation and monitoring of both mobile and stationary cranes. This entails lowering and raising lifts, booms and jibs to not only move material and equipment, but place these objects correctly.

Professionals in this industry is charged with guiding the machine (or crane) in performing the various functions involved in lifting material and equipment.

You will also be responsible for the operation and monitoring the ski-lifts as well as the crane equipment used in order to perform the ‘moving’ functions, performing routine maintenance and maintenance checks. Crane Operators are also required to monitor and operate cranes that are fitted with dredging equipment.

An operator active within this field of work will also be required to monitor and operate cranes that are mounted on barges and boats, as well as clean and lubricate the equipment used in the daily operations of his or her job.


What other names do Crane Operators go by?

According to the Department of Higher Education and Training, a Crane Operator also boasts a range of alternative names used within the profession to describe or name Crane Operator jobs in South Africa. Some of these names range to include Pile Driver, Crane Driver, Elevated Work Platform Operator and Banksman.

Crane Operators are also able to fill Tower Crane Operator jobs and can also be known as an Onsetter, Winding Engine Driver (either for Materials or Human and Materials), Winch Operator and a Portainer Operator, to name but a few examples.

Crane Operator training in South Africa

If you would like to become a Crane Operator in South Africa, you will need at least a Grade 9 qualification. Once you meet this requirement, you can follow one of two Crane Operator training paths.

The first way to become a professional in this industry entails a learner ship. In order to be able to follow this pathway, you will need at least 40% in Maths (which does not include Math Literacy) at a Grade 9 level or a NQF Level 2 Vocational National Certificate.

If you would like to go into an electrical, mechanical or civil category, you will need a minimum of 40% in a N2 Trade Theory that is relevant to the category you are interested in. An alternative to this N2 Trade Theory is having the relevant vocational subjects at a Level 2 Vocation National Certificate.

In order to achieve the second step in this career pathway, which entails a learnership and a Crane Operator NQF Level 2 qualification, you will need to be employed. This is also true for the third step of this career pathway, which entails completing your Advanced Crane Operator NQF Level 3 qualification.

The second way to become a qualified Crane Operator is following the career steps above, with the difference in the third step of the education and Crane Operator training journey, which entails completing an NQF Level 3 National Certificate in Lifting Machine Operations.


Training Providers in South Africa

There are a number of institutions where you can complete your training.

Xylonite Training carries accreditation from a number of Skills Education Training Authorities (SETAs) including the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), the Department of Labour, the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) and the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). Xylonite Training offers a number of training courses to choose from, including Crane Operator training.

The Eastcape Training Centre (ETC) also offers a Lifting Equipment Programme that includes training for Crane Operators as well as heavy equipment training that includes everything from Dumpers to Frontend Loaders.

Another option is Accredited Training which offers training in Truck Mounted Cranes as well as Wharf Cranes (of up to 4.9 tonnes). This training programme also involves a test that will entail both a practical operation test as well as a machine check, helping the trainee to gain invaluable knowledge. Rigging also forms part of the training offered, as a knowledge and recognition of the rigging and the ‘rigging needs’ of the goods and materials being moved, is a valuable skill within the industry.

Remember, before choosing the training institutions that is right for you, make sure that the institution not only offers training that is relevant, but training that is accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training or other relevant bodies.


Crane Operator jobs in South Africa listed on Job Mail

Already completed your Crane Operator training and hold all the relevant qualifications? Why not take a closer look at some of the amazing Crane Operator jobs in South Africa currently on Job Mail?

  • Crane Operator in Gauteng

A company within the Logistics, Trucking and Transport industry is looking for a professional that has a Code 14 license and a Certificate in Rigging. This position is available in Johannesburg and offers a remuneration of between R 8 000 and R 10 000 per month.


  • Crane Truck Driver

Offering a market related salary, a company in the Construction, Building and Mining industry is looking for a Crane Truck Driver with at least one year’s experience in crane operations and holding an EC License as well as a Certificate in Rigging. This temporary position is in Midrand, Johannesburg, with the possibility of becoming a permanent position.


  • Hydraulic Mobile Crane

If you are on the lookout for Mobile Crane Operator jobs, this position might be for you. Candidates are required to have at least two years’ experience as well the relevant qualifications (Code C35/C33) licenses and certifications. This position is based in Johannesburg and in the Automotive and Motoring Industry.


  • Mobile Crane Operator

Based in Gauteng, this position is within the construction industry and requires a mobile crane operator with relevant experience.


Register your CV on Job Mail and apply for exciting Crane Operator jobs in your field of expertise. With hydraulic and mobile Crane Operator jobs, you are sure to find a vacancy that matches your qualifications and skills on

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