If you're looking for an exciting career in the busy civil and infrastructure sector, TPP's Certificate in Civil Plant Operation will put you on the right path.

This digger and construction training programme is perfect for school-leavers or people with no prior experience in the industry.  Known locally as the “Digger School” you will be equipped with practical experience on machinery, along with the necessary theory and industry contacts you’ll need to make it in these exciting and varied sectors. Once you set out in the industry, it’s up to you which path you decide to follow, from hands-on operations to management and even further study. The programme is also relevant for people already working in the construction, forestry or mining industries who want to up-skill and push their career to the next level.

You’ll work on earthmoving machinery and other machinery and plant to learn the basics of operating safely. Our skilled and diverse tutors are dedicated to delivering expert training in Civil Plant Operations, with students having access to unrivalled technical expertise in project management capabilities and quality assurance skills needed to build better communities and a better New Zealand.

  • Level:
  • Credit Value:
  • Awards:
    New Zealand Certificate in Infrastructure Works (Level 3) with optional strand in Plant Operation
  • Location:
    Westport, Greymouth and Auckland
  • Method of Study:
    Full time
  • Holiday Duration:
    4 weeks
  • Teaching Duration:
    25 weeks
  • Total Duration:
    29 weeks
  • Start Date:
    October 2022 Auckland, 20 February 2023 Greymouth, Westport and Auckland
  • End Date:
    May 2023 Auckland, 8 September 2023 Greymouth, Westport and Auckland
  • $5,873

Core Elements

At Level 2:

  • Understand the civil infrastructure industry in New Zealand.

At Level 3:

  • Communicate appropriately with the public, colleagues, and site supervisors, including following and giving instructions.
  • Work effectively and safely, across a range of roles and on a range of infrastructure works sites including those under Temporary Traffic Management.
  • Carry out basic infrastructure works activities including safely and effectively using a range hand tools and small infrastructure works plant and equipment.
  • Understand and operate within quality and environmental requirements, quality assure their own work area and keep appropriate records for infrastructure works sites.
  • Describe the materials used and requirements for infrastructure work, as well as carry out excavation and compaction in this area.
  • Operate and maintain at least two types of large plant on infrastructure works sites.
  • Operate and maintain at least one type of specialist large plant (e.g. hydraulic excavator) on infrastructure works sites.
  • Legally operate at least one type of specialist plant on the road (hold the relevant licence endorsement).

Further Study Paths

Further Study Paths:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Civil Infrastructure Trades (Civil Works) with strands in Earthworks, Road Construction, Concrete Works (Non-structural), and Road Maintenance Level 4
  • New Zealand Certificate in Pipe Installations with strands in Trenched and Trenchless (Level 4) 
  • New Zealand Certificate in Bituminous Surfacing Construction with strands in Bituminous Mixes, Chipseal and Slurry (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Utilities Maintenance with strands in Water, and Wastewater and Stormwater (Level 4)

Career Opportunities

New Zealand's civil infrastructure industry is booming and there are plenty of job options for people with the right training and skills. Once you have completed the Certificate in Plant Operation (Specialist Large Plant), career opportunities exist across a huge range of sectors, including: infrastructure works companies, drain installation, water reticulation, machine operator, construction foreman, traffic management, truck driving, sealing crews, bridge building, maintenance crews, trenchless technology operator, road building, sub-division development, health and safety, and training.

Entry Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be at least 17 years of age.

  • Hold a Class 1 restricted driver licence or better.
  • Be able to demonstrate sufficient capability in English and maths to have a high likelihood of success in the programme. (Preferably have NCEA Level 1 L&N).
  • Be physically fit and healthy.
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet IELTS (or equivalent) Level 5.5 with no band lower than 5.0.

Special Notes:

  • Application outside the above requirements may be considered by the department Manager of Teaching and Learning.
  • Minimum of restricted Class 1 (car) licence for applicants wanting to be assessed for W, T or R endorsement (wheels, trucks and rollers).


This is a Safety Sensitive Programme