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Piling operative

Piling operatives drive columns of wood, steel or concrete into the ground to provide support for structures such as buildings, bridges and piers.

Average salary*




How to become a Piling operative

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 at 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).

What does a Piling operative do?

  • 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 A reinforcement cage is then installed and concrete is poured into the hole before the casing is withdrawn 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.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Check out the latest Piling Operative vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary. 

Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Piling operative Provide support for various structures during the construction process. Click he...
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  • Current role Rig driver As a Rig Driver, you'll work on different piling operations, using equipment to ...
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  • Current role Occupational supervisor/team leader Take the next step in your career as an Occupational Supervisor. Work with new m...
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  • Current role Site Engineer/Technician Acting as the main technical advisor on projects ranging from new houses to rail...
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  • Current role Contracts manager During a construction project, the contracts manager overseas the contracts proc...
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  • Current role Self-employed contractor/sub-contractor As a contractor or subcontractor, you'll be working directly with your clients t...
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  • Current role Geo-technical engineer Interested in analysing the risk of geological hazards to identify any risks to ...
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