Piling operatives drive columns of wood, steel or concrete into the ground to provide support for structures such as buildings, bridges and piers.
The Role
  • Driven piling - where a heavy steel tube is driven to the right depth, filled with concrete and then removed
  • Another method is where a fully reinforced, pre-cast concrete pile driven into the ground
  • Rotary bore piling - using a temporary casing and auger to drill to the necessary depth. A reinforcement cage is then installed and concrete is poured into the hole before the casing is withdrawn
  • Minipiles - installed using similar methods and can be made up of small-diameter piles or located where there space is limited
  • Checking over equipment before it’s used, analysing information and using hoisting equipment to position piling leads and hammers
  • Operates machinery (either directly or via control mechanisms) and keeping a close eye on all equipment to identify problems and keep them maintained or repaired
  • Keeping colleagues and supervisors up to date on the work
  • Trained with experience piling operatives can earn in the region of £20,000 - £30,000
  • Senior piling operatives can earn in the region of £30,000 - £40,000
Salaries depend on location, employer, level of responsibility and the amount of overtime worked.  Self-employed piling operatives set their own pay rates.
Qualifications & Training
There are no set qualifications to be a piling operative but you must be at least 18 years old. It is useful to have Standard Grades/National 4 or 5s, GCSE grades 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent) in maths and English because this helps with calculations on the job. You can do a SVQ/NVQ Level 2 in piling, which is a two-year training programme to learn skills such as driven or bored piling. A Specialist Apprenticeship Programme (Piling Operative) is also available. If you have at least five years’ experience and don’t need more training, you can take the Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA). This involves a practical assessment, work-based evidence and employer endorsement – all completed within a specified time. Alternatively you can do On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT).