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Quarry worker Quarry operative, opencast mine worker, opencast miner

Quarry operatives dig out and process rock, slate, gravel and sand from quarries or mines.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. Experience in construction, mining, or operating heavy machinery like cranes or mechanical diggers could help you get a job. You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You may need a large goods vehicle (LGV) driving licence or plant operators certificate.

You may need your own transport to get to work, as quarries are usually in the countryside.

Careers in Quarrying has more details about working in this industry.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills for using heavy machinery
  • maths skills to work out quantities of materials

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • using mechanical diggers to excavate rock, clay, sand, gravel and slate
  • operating equipment like rock crushers and stone graders
  • using drilling equipment
  • maintaining vehicles and machinery
  • setting and detonating explosives
  • transporting materials in large trucks

You'll need to follow strict safety guidelines.

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £19,000 to £22,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £25,000

Your pay can be higher with overtime, bonuses or shift allowances.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work 37 to 40 hours a week, usually on shifts.

The job is physically demanding and some tasks can be dangerous. You'll wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With training and experience, you could become a site supervisor or manager. You could also move into:

  • quality control
  • explosives work (shotfiring)
  • health and safety inspection
  • machine and plant maintenance
  • laboratory work (testing samples)

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Last updated: 11 April 2017