what is a 360 driver?

A 360 excavator is a construction machine with a dipper, bucket, cab and boom on a rotating platform. The machine is typical in construction sites with limited movement space, and the digger heads rotate in a full circle. A 360 driver or a 360 excavator driver can shift materials or dig foundations and trenches in construction sites with its manoeuvrability. As a 360 driver, your job is to operate the 360 excavators for various functions on the construction site.

what does a 360 driver do?

Your primary role as a 360 driver is to control the excavator and use it to clear work sites for new development projects. Apart from housing projects, you also use the excavator for road construction and other infrastructure projects. Some companies use 360 excavators to dredge rivers and ditches, do general landscaping and prepare work sites for large scale pipework because the diggers can dig deep.

As a 360 driver, you need high experience operating an excavator, and some employers may require a licence or specialised training. A 360-degree excavator has multiple heavy parts that can cause severe injuries and accidents. Hence safety during operation is crucial to keep the construction site safe. As a driver, you are also involved in the maintenance of the 360 excavators. You have to be detail-oriented to discover problems and technical issues in the machinery.

Would working as a 360 driver suit your interest in operating machinery and detail-oriented skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a 360 driver role.

360 driver jobs

average salary of a 360 driver

The median salary of a 360 driver according to ONS is between £17,000 and £40,000 per year. Your starting income is £17,000 per year, but your compensation package increases as you build your experience. 360 drivers with transferable skills earn over £40,000 annually. You can boost your take-home salary with overtime pay and bonuses. A 360 driver also receive various allowances and benefits like medical insurance and paid vacation days.

what factors affect your salary as a 360 driver?

As a 360 driver, your experience, skills and education impact your basic salary and benefits. If you have extensive experience, you can earn more than 360 drivers starting their careers. Having post-secondary education boosts your pay since you have additional skills and expertise.

The employer also influences your salary. For instance, working for a multinational construction company improves your salary prospects, unlike working for a start-up with limited resources. The private sector has higher pay rates than public sector projects like roads and bridges. The project complexity also determines your pay structure. If you work on complex construction projects that require a lot of digging to prepare the foundation, your earnings should reflect the job's complexity.

driver behind at work
driver behind at work

types of 360 drivers

360 drivers differ based on the types of excavators they operate. Some types of 360 drivers include:

  • standard 360 excavator driver: a standard excavator has a bucket arm that extends to dig soil or scoop materials from the construction site. You can use the excavator to dig, move or dump materials within its radius without moving since the excavator cab rotates 360 degrees. The excavators run on parallel tracks instead of wheels and provide traction in sloped landscapes.
  • wheeled excavator operator: as this type of 360 driver, you operate a wheeled excavator instead of one with tracks. While they accomplish similar tasks, it is only suited for challenging terrains. Transporting wheeled excavators is straightforward since you don't have to haul them on a trailer like tracked excavators.

working as a 360 driver

Working as a 360 driver involves controlling large digging machines sitting on a rotating base. You will use the machines to scoop soil or other materials and move them to facilitate construction work. Let's explore some of the responsibilities involved in the profession.


education and skills

The following academic qualifications are necessary for becoming a 360 driver:

  • college training: you can become a 360 driver through college qualifications like diploma and certificate courses. Pursue a Level 3 Diploma in Construction and Built Environment if you have 4-5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4. You can also do a Level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations if you have 2 GCSEs with grades 9 to 3. After completing the courses, you have to undergo further training in 360 excavation.
  • apprenticeship: while you won't find apprenticeship opportunities for 360 drivers, you can start with an apprenticeship in plant operator. You can specialise as a 360 driver or excavator operator later.

skills and competencies

You need the following skills in a 360 driver role:

  • technical expertise in operating equipment: as a 360 driver, driving isn't the only technical aspect of your role. You have to learn how to use excavators and manoeuvre them to achieve the desired results. Technical expertise in 360 excavators helps you navigate rugged terrains and dig holes and trenches according to the technical drawings. Your technical expertise also comes in handy when assembling the parts to carry out maintenance functions.
  • attention to detail: you have to understand technical drawings and designs to avoid making mistakes. Attentiveness to details helps you identify site markings when you are digging. It is also helpful during maintenance and enables you to discover issues that need repairs and maintenance.
  • mechanical skills: as a 360 driver, you need mechanical skills to assemble excavator parts. Mechanical knowledge also helps you resolve simple mechanical problems when operating the machines.
  • safety skills: you need to be conscious of safety issues on the worksite. A little knowledge of the soil type helps you understand the terrain and its dangers. Being safety conscious also helps you avoid causing accidents or damaging other properties when manoeuvring the 360 excavators.
smiling male looking on his mobile phone
smiling male looking on his mobile phone


FAQs about working as a 360 driver

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