Lifting technician apprenticeship now ready


January 24, 2018 – A new apprenticeship scheme for lifting technicians is now available and ready for delivery, following final approval from the Institute of Apprenticeships.

The new apprenticeship framework has been devised by an employer-led Trailblazer working group and is supported by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA).

It is designed for those who will operate a tower crane or mobile crane (wheeled or on tracks) or undertake slinging and signalling duties.

The new lifting technician Trailblazer apprenticeship replaces the existing construction civil engineering plant operator (cranes lifting) framework apprenticeship, which will be phased out.

The employer-led Trailblazer working group was headed up by Laing O’Rourke and also consisted of representatives from crane hire companies Ainscough, Baldwins, Bronzeshield, Emerson, Sarens and Select Plant Hire. Contractors involved also included BAM Nuttall, Balfour Beatty and Skanska, along with the Construction Industry Training Board and crane manufacturer Liebherr, which has a training operation in the UK.

The working group was formed in early 2014 to devise the standards and assessment plan for the apprenticeship, with the aim of integrating crane operating skills with slinging/signalling skills, preparing a pathway for the apprentice to become a crane supervisor and ultimately an appointed person.

The Trailblazer Apprenticeship Programme was launched in England in 2013 following the Richards Review of Apprenticeships for the government, which made the case for reform. The existing apprenticeship framework in England is intended to be phased out by 2020 and replaced by new standards-led apprenticeships. There are no such changes planned in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The new Level 2 lifting technician apprenticeship has a total training period of up to 24 months, including work experience, of which 20% of the learning time needs to be delivered ‘off the job’. The core training period has been derived as a minimum of 300 hours and – as with all Trailblazer apprenticeships – a formal training qualification does not form part of the apprenticeship. An end point assessment (EPA) determines competency at the end of the apprenticeship period but relevant national vocational qualifications (NVQs) need to be achieved before the end assessment can be undertaken. This satisfies the construction industry’s agenda of an NVQ qualified workforce holding a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.

The EPA consists of a practical test on the relevant type of crane, a set of written questions and an interview for which the content of the EPA Portfolio is used as the basis of the discussion.

Chair of the Trailblazer working group, Elizabeth Astill of Laing O’Rourke, said: “We’re very pleased and relieved to have received the final approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships after some three years of hard work by the working group. Being one of the first Trailblazer Apprenticeships to be developed meant that we had to endure constant changes to the rules whilst the custodianship for apprenticeships transferred from one government department to another during that time, but we have managed to maintain our original criteria to ensure that the apprenticeship is fit-for-purpose for the construction and allied sectors. We look forward to industry supporting this apprenticeship and making the construction and lifting sectors an attractive place for new recruits to develop a long-lasting career.”


Further information

The apprenticeship is in the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s funding band 11, which allows apprenticeship levy paying employers to spend up to a maximum of £15,000 for the training and assessment of the apprentice. Non-levy payers can currently receive up to 90% of the maximum. Potential employers can approach an approved training provider of their choice and discuss a training delivery model that suits their needs.

There are a number of conditions that relate to apprenticeship funding, for which further information can be found at

The standard and assessment plan for the Lifting Technician Apprenticeship can be downloaded from

The Construction Plant-hire Association is hosting the training and assessment documentation and a training syllabus, training record portfolio and the EPA Portfolio can be downloaded free of charge from the CPA website at



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