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Diamond drilling operative

Diamond drilling and sawing operative

Diamond drilling operatives use specialist equipment to cut through the toughest materials on a building site, such as reinforced concrete. They could be called in to remove sections of roads or pavements, assist with demolitions or dismantle towers and bridges, whilst following strict health and safety guidelines.

Average salary*




How to become a diamond drilling operative

There are several routes to becoming a diamond drilling operative. You could complete a college course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a diamond drilling operative, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

College/training provider

While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a diamond drilling operative, having GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and English at grade 4 or above would be beneficial for anyone considering this as a career.

You could also undertake a Level 2 course in Drilling and Sawing to prepare you for becoming a diamond drilling operative.

You’ll need:


You could become a diamond drilling operative by completing a drilling and sawing apprenticeship.

You’ll need up to 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent to become an apprentice.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.


If you have five years of industry experience and are looking to become a diamond drilling operative, you could take the Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) which combines the key parts of the Level 2 course in Drilling and Sawing into one practical assessment, along with work-based evidence and employer endorsement. 

Alternatively you can do On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) in order to get a job as a diamond drilling operative. 

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a diamond drilling operative. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience


Desirable skills for a diamond drilling operative include:

  • A good level of physical fitness 
  • Practical skills 
  • Ability to follow written and spoken instructions
  • An awareness of health and safety on-site
  • Ability to problem solve 
  • Good levels of teamwork.

What does a diamond drilling operative do?

A diamond drilling operative is primarily responsible for cutting through concrete and steel reinforced concrete on various construction projects. The role also involves conducting a health and safety assessment, and estimating how much time the work will take before communicating this with the site manager. 

Other duties of a diamond drilling operative include: 

  • Drilling through various materials using specialist tools and machinery
  • Planning and carrying out work to the highest levels of safety
  • Floor, hand or wire sawing
  • Following detailed plans and instructions
  • Working to strict health and safety guidelines
  • Inspecting equipment to ensure it’s working properly
  • Working on a construction site.

How much could you earn as a diamond drilling operative?

The expected salary for a diamond drilling operative varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained diamond drilling operatives can earn £17,000 - £20,000
  • Trained and experienced diamond drilling operatives can earn £20,000 - £25,000
  • Senior, chartered or master diamond drilling operatives can earn £25,000 - £30,000.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest diamond drilling operative vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a diamond drilling operative, there are many opportunities for career progression and a variety of different routes you could take. 

As you become more experienced and your skills increase, you could become a self-employed contractor or subcontractor specialising in diamond drilling. 

Alternatively, you might decide to pursue more managerial roles such as a contract manager or site engineer.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Diamond drilling operative One of the most highly-skilled construction jobs, diamond drillers are in charge...
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  • Current role Contracts manager During a construction project, the contracts manager overseas the contracts proc...
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  • Current role Self employed contractor As a contractor or subcontractor, you'll be working directly with your clients t...
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  • Current role Setting out engineer Be the main technical advisor on site, overseeing quality control & offering gui...
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