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Quarry worker

Also known as -

Quarry operative, opencast miner, opencast mine worker, aggregates operative

Quarry workers use powerful machinery to dig and drill rock, sand, slate, gravel, and minerals from quarries and mines. They crush, transport, and process these aggregates for use, often on construction sites.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week


How to become a quarry worker

There are different routes to becoming a quarry worker. You could complete an apprenticeship or, depending on your previous experience, you could apply directly to an employer for work. 

You should explore these routes to becoming a quarry worker to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options will require certain qualifications, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.  

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site. 

College/training provider 

You could complete a Level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations or a Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment to help you gain the experience needed to become a quarry worker. 

You’ll need: 


You could become a quarry worker through an intermediate apprenticeship as a mineral processing mobile and static plant operator, or by completing a plant operator or lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship, or an NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Plant Operations. 

You'll need some GCSEs, including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.  


If you have experience in construction, mining, or operating heavy plant machinery, you could apply directly to a company to gain onsite experience as a quarry worker. Your employer may be able to support you through any additional training required. 

Work experience 

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a quarry worker. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV. 


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a quarry worker include:  

  • Patience and ability to remain calm in stressful situations 
  • Good attention to detail 
  • Ability to use, repair, and maintain machines and tools 
  • Ability to work well with others 
  • Good spatial awareness 
  • Team working skills 
  • Ability to operate and control equipment. 

What does a quarry worker do?

As a quarry worker, you’ll use heavy machinery and equipment to excavate aggregates from quarries and mines, often for use in the construction industry. You may be required to use deep drilling machines or explosives to extract or break up rock.  

The job role of a quarry worker involves the following duties:  

  • Operating mechanical equipment to excavate rock, clay, sand, gravel, and slate aggregates 
  • Using equipment like rock crushers and stone graders 
  • Handling drilling equipment 
  • Conducting health and safety checks and maintaining vehicles and machinery 
  • Setting and detonating explosives 
  • Moving materials in large trucks. 

How much could you earn as a quarry worker?

The expected salary for a quarry worker varies as you become more experienced. 

  • Newly trained quarry workers can earn in the region of £16,000 
  • Experienced quarry workers can earn up to £30,000* 
  • Self-employed quarry workers set their own pay rates. 

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. 

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest quarry worker vacancies:   

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up. 

Career path and progression

As a quarry worker, you could progress to become a team leader or plant manager and oversee logistics onsite. 

Alternatively, you could train to become a quarry engineer, or set yourself up as self-employed. 

You could undergo further training to specialise in site health and safety. 

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