How Hard Is It to Learn How to Operate Machinery?

By: RAWSO Constructors

Every once in awhile in the construction industry, we’ll have a guy walk in on his first day on the job and ask when he’s going to get to try operating equipment. It seems like some people think we hand out seat time like candy, and that you don’t have to earn the opportunity. Apparently, it’s a more common misconception than we thought!

Here at RAWSO Constructors, we think that anyone who wants to end up in an operator’s seat has to put in the time on the ground first. If you’ve never worked in construction, you need to understand that you can’t just go straight to operating. The first step is to work on the ground as a laborer to get an understanding for what we’re doing. You need to develop those instincts, because putting inexperienced people in a machine raises all kinds of safety issues.

By the first time you sit in an operator’s seat, we want you to have enough experience on the ground to be able to know where to look. If you just went straight into the seat without being a laborer first, you’re not going to have the insight to know where people stand, or to know what it’s like to be in the ditch when an operator is a little bit erratic on the machine. In a way, it’s similar to gaining the respect of an animal. You need to be cautious, you need to keep your eyes open, and you need to pay attention to every move it makes.

It’s not that learning how to operate machinery is particularly difficult, but it is time-consuming. A good first step once you’re comfortable working as a laborer is to simply ask experienced operators to help you learn about the machines. Keep in mind that even the best operator in the world used to have no clue how to run a machine, and they all remember back when they were in your shoes. More often than not, they’ll be willing to lend a helping hand.

Another important thing to remember is that every company is always looking for quality operators, RAWSO included. There’s always a shortage of smart, experienced equipment operators in our industry, so if you show the initiative and the willingness to learn, we want you in that seat just as badly as you want to be there.

Honestly, for us at RAWSO, the number one thing we look for with a potential new operator is the right attitude. If you show us a willingness to learn, a humble mindset, and an aptitude for developing your skills in our industry, we will find a spot for you. Just remember that there are no handouts in the world of construction — if you don’t put in the work to earn an opportunity, you’ll probably never get a chance to sit in that seat.

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