A first of its kind program - Crane Operator Qualifications Development Program

Posted on 21/09/2023
Crane Operator Qualification Development Program

Do you employ skilled and experienced mobile crane operators? Want to convert their current skills into formal qualifications, extending beyond basic licenses? Keen on upskilling your crane operators to a Certificate III level, with minimal time off the tools? 

The Crane Operator Qualification Development Program is a joint initiative of the NSW Government and Apprenticeship Careers Australia (ACA), developed in partnership with and endorsed by the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA). The goal of the program is to recognise the existing skills of crane operators and provide free upskilling to bridge any skills gaps, with minimal time off the tools, to maximise the skill and safety levels of the industry.


*Eligibility criteria apply

About the program

Introducing the Crane Operator Qualification Development Program – a joint innovation of ACA and the NSW Government Trade Pathways Innovation Fund, developed in partnership with and endorsed by the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA). 

Why does this program exist?

The NSW construction sector has more than 10,000 Crane Operators, who are crucial for construction across the state. Despite the years of experience, skills and expertise demonstrated by operators on site, only 1-2% of operators hold recognised Certificate III qualifications, most having only experience and mandatory licenses. The crane industry is facing a major skills shortage coupled with an ageing workforce with approximately 50% of operators being over 50 years of age. 

What will this program do?

Our mission is clear: this program aims to acknowledge the existing proficiencies of crane operators while seamlessly equipping them with advanced skills through a tailored upskilling journey. And the best part? We understand the demands of your industry, ensuring minimal downtime from the vital roles that operators play, while maximising skill levels and ensuring maximum safety.

Partner with the Crane Operator Qualification Development program to elevate your team, elevate your business, and join us in shaping a safer and more skilled crane industry.

What is the process?

STEP 1: Evidence Gathering – This is where your team will work with our team to compile evidence of their existing skills in crane operation.

STEP 2: Skills Recognition – One of our partner Registered Training Organisations will assess the evidence gathered using a Recognition of Prior Learning Tool (RPL Tool) to determine which units of competency your team have successfully demonstrated.

STEP 3: Skills Gap Mapping – Our expert team will map any skills gaps your team has and identify the best combination of FREE micro-credentials to bridge this gap.

STEP 4: Get Upskilled – Your team will complete micro-credentials and achieve Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations outside the traditional traineeship pathway!

How long does it take?

The Crane Operator Qualification Development Program funding grant commenced in June 2023 and runs for 12 months. The initial assessment (evidence gathering and RPL) and subsequent upskilling will take 12-18 months to complete.

What does it cost?

Nothing, the program is FREE!

What is in it for you?

  • Free recognition of your team’s existing skills, experience, and expertise.
  • Free skills gap mapping to see the journey that your team will undertake to receive their recognised Cert III qualification.
  • Free training for your team to bridge the skills gap, completed mostly on-the-job.
  • Certificate III Construction Crane Operation for your team members, upon successful completion of the RPL and micro-credentials. 


*Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for COQDP, participants must meet the following eligibility criteria at the time of commencement:  

  • Needs to be 21 years of age or older. 
  • Currently working in the crane industry.
  • Working as a crane operator for the last 5 years. 
  • Not be a registered apprentice or trainee, or had been for the last 6 months. 
  • Must have Australian working rights in NSW.
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen. 

Found something interesting?

Fill out the enquiry form and a member of our ACA team will be in touch!


  NSW Government and CICA