A heavy equipment operator can be many things, and their workday very different, depending on…
Finish graders apply the finicky final touches to a surface to get it perfect. That smooth runway and carefully cambered road is due to the skill of an experienced finish grader. The bulldozer started the job, but the grader will finish it and get it ready for asphalt or whatever comes next. It’s an important step in the construction process and you aren’t going to be able to do that job right out of training school because it takes more than a few weeks to get the skill to do it to the precise angles on the engineer’s plan.
It used to be harder for a finish grader to get it perfect but now there’s additional tools like GPS and laser leveling to help them do their job. It still takes that seat-of-the-pants skill, though, that no amount of tech tools can replace. Graders are in demand for roadwork, leveling ground at construction sites, and even snow removal, so the paycheck can go into the winter months.
If a grader operator has been poorly trained, the foundation is pretty shaky for their skill building. It isn’t that perfect, level surface that you need to do the next step. You could think of it this way; getting your heavy equipment training at ATS is like the final leveling of a finish grader clearing the way for the next process to be done on the project. You get the training and the certifications that prove you know your stuff, then an entry level job will allow you to build up those skills to become the grader operator the boss looks for when perfection is required.