Dumper courses – Get to grips with a dumper truck

dumper courses

Dumper trucks are one of the main types of construction machinery used on most sites. Apart from excavators and telehandlers, dumper trucks can play a pivotal role in most projects. This week we take a look at the most important features you should be aware of as an operator, as well as dumper courses available at our plant training school in Kent. 


Thwaites is a British based company, located in Warwickshire, England. Originally founded in 1937, they are one of the main manufacturers of dumper trucks. Unlike most manufacturers, Thwaites stick to what they know, and specialise in the creation of only dumpers. Due to being a well-known and respected brand within the UK they are the go-to manufacturer if you’re looking to expand your dumper fleet.

Thwaites manufacture a variety of site dumpers in various sizes from one tonne up to 9 tonne. 


Terex is another popular brand that produces dumper trucks. They were founded in 1970 in America, and can offer a range of plant equipment. Not only can you get a range of dumper trucks, customers can also expect to buy the following:

  • Telehandlers
  • MEWPs (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms)
  • Cranes
  • Wood Chippers
  • Concrete Mixer Trucks
  • Material Handlers

If you’re in the quarrying, mining, shipping or recycling industry, then Terex could be a great company to source machines.


Dumper trucks are a type of machine that are often used to transport materials. Anything such as dirt, sand or even crushed materials from a demolition site can be easily moved from one location to another. 

A typical dumper truck is designed with a hydraulically operated skip at either the front or back. Allowing operators to easily off load materials. 

Currently on the market are:

  • Articulated dumper trucks
  • Site dumpers – rear and front tipping
  • Tracked dumper trucks
  • Mini dumper trucks  

So what sort of dumper trucks are available at the Diggerland Plant Training School?


Let’s focus on a Thwaites front tipping dumper truck in this instance, as it is one of the main brands we would use to train operators.

Steering wheel

Like most types of construction machinery, the steering wheel is ironically placed in front of the operator’s seat. Most of the controls are also located around this area for ease. A small lever is attached to the steering wheel allowing the operator to safely use one hand when moving. Having a free hand to use the driving mode lever on the left, or switching the lights on is ideal when on site. 

Just below the steering wheel is a selection of controls that are worth knowing about before you set off. The operator has access to the following:

  • The horn
  • Water temperature warning light
  • Engine oil pressure warning light
  • Battery charging warning light
  • Emergency stop button


Operating a dumper truck safely will be covered in depth during any of our dumper courses. However, it’s always great to go into a course knowing the basics. It may also decrease the amount of time it takes to train.

The seat on a Thwaites dumper truck has been designed to ensure maximum comfort is reached, along with a seatbelt for safety reasons. 

Once the ignition has been switched on in the centre, below the steering wheel, it’s time to get started. After learning about the safety pre-checks, operators can now begin moving the dumper around. 

To the right of the seat, operators will have use of two small joysticks which will control the tip skip. The lever furthest away from the operator will control raising the skip up and down. The closest lever will rotate and move the skip to another direction. 

Once you know your way around one dumper they are pretty much the same. The layout can differ slightly depending on the age of the model and the type of dumper truck used. 

Engine and maintenance points

It’s not all about the controls and key components. Ensuring that the machine is frequently checked and maintained is vital. Would you know how to access the engine and other key maintenance points?

An operator will be able to access the engine by lifting up the seat. From here, the key maintenance points can also be checked including fuel and oil tanks. Additionally the coolant, hydraulic filter and fan belt can also be checked.


Here at the Diggerland Plant Training School we have a variety of dumper courses available for operators. Choose from:

Forward tipping dumper courses (NPORS N204) 

Our NPORS N204 Forward Tipping Dumper course will ensure you know everything you need to know about operating a forward tipping dumper truck safely. Operators can expect to learn:

  • What PPE is important and needs to be used
  • About the key controls, and where they can be found
  • Knowledge of the manufacturer’s handbook and the particular dumper truck being used
  • Attach and set trailers
  • What safety checks need to be carried out
  • Preparing the dumper for use

The full course details can be viewed here

Forward Tipping Mini dumper courses (NPORS N139) 

Mini dumper trucks are smaller versions of the above. As they carry out the same tasks, the course content will be incredibly similar. Our mini dumper course will also run for 1 – 3 days depending on any existing experience. 

This qualification will be valid for 5 years until it will then need to be renewed. Find out more here

Rear tipping dumper courses (NPORS N205)

Similar to the forward tipping dumper courses, operators will cover all of the contents listed above. Additionally, they will also prepare the rear tipping dumper for use and off loading materials safely and efficiently. Operators looking to book onto this course should expect to learn using a Hydrema 921E.

Full course details can be found here.


Are you ready to learn how to safely operate a dumper truck?

Now we’ve covered the NPORS dumper truck courses we have available, it’s time to book. 

The Diggerland Plant Training School is in the prime location for any aspiring operators, especially if you’re looking to drive a dumper truck. As we are based at Diggerland, we have a large range of construction equipment available to use for training purposes. 

Our main training site is based in Kent, local for anyone in the South East and surrounding areas. We also operate in Devon, Durham and Yorkshire as well. If you’re not local to any of these areas we can also arrange for our instructors to teach on an external site, at a time and date to suit the company or operators.

If you’re looking to book onto any of our dumper courses, we have instructors on hand to train operators up.

We are happy to train individuals or groups safely, in line with government guidelines. 

Get in touch with a member of the team today by emailing us today if you have any questions, or want to book. Alternatively, you can give us a call on: 01634 295355 to discuss our excavator courses in detail.