Do you want to enjoy a rewarding career in construction? Well, your timing is perfect. Before the end of next year, the UK building industry is going to need up to 250,000 new workers and trades people. In fact, it accounts for around 10% of total employment in the UK. Moreover, wages in the industry have soared.
And you don’t have to be a steel assembly worker to enjoy a riveting career. From site managers to electricians, plumbers to plasterers and carpenters to quantity surveyors, the opportunities to experience exciting and engaging professions are wide and varied.
With so many choices, the most difficult thing is deciding which specialist area interests you the most.
Which trade do you think might give you the most satisfaction every day? No matter where you finally choose to work, you’ll need core skills and knowledge to get you started. These will be the foundation stones to get your career off the ground.
Firstly, construction workers are typically mechanically minded with a hard-wired desire to find practical solutions to puzzling problems.
You’ll also be a natural team player because even seemingly simple projects can require input from people working in very different specialisms.
For front line construction work a degree of physical strength is important. Tasks such as carpentry work, bricklaying and roofing can be demanding on the body. While you don’t need man-mountain muscles like Arnie, being fit will certainly help.
Days and sometimes nights spent on construction sites can be challenging, especially in the winter months, so stamina is a must too.
There are also safety considerations. The canniest construction staff and most trusted trades people stay up to speed with workplace regulations and are mentally alert for potential hazards and hiccups.
Although there are numerous ways to forge a new career in construction, one of the most rewarding is through on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship. There are more than 100 apprenticeships in the UK to choose from and you’ll gain an industry-recognised qualification at the end of your training.
Work, learn and earn? That’s a winning combination!
Studying towards a qualification at college or university is another popular route. Courses such as Construction Management and Architectural Technology lead to a Bachelor of Science degree and can include a one-year work placement so you gain invaluable on-site experience.
At college level there are practical courses that require little or no formal entry requirements: a great option if you’ve faltered in your school exams but want to prove you can be a star in the workplace.
From roof slating and tiling to bricklaying and carpentry, you’ll enjoy a mix of practical and academic learning that will have you on the path to your construction career in no time. Typically, this route will lead to certifications that are gold stars with prospective employers.
If you’re keen to be hands-on right from the off, the Construction Industry Training Board has launched a Brickwork Academy to fast-track the next generation of bricklayers from college to building site.
But, whether it’s basic bricklaying or complex engineering, when you’re ready to put yourself forward to prospective employers, a top-notch CV is needed to attract their interest. No matter if you’re applying for an apprenticeship, entry-level or management-level position, this resume is your calling card.
Before refreshing your CV for each vacancy, research the company and the details of the position being offered. This is especially important in the construction sector where many candidates may be vying for jobs – using your research to match your skills and experience to the vacant role will help make you a winner.
Finally, remember that construction is for everyone! As a truly inclusive and diverse industry, it has done away with the stereotype of being a ‘man’s world’.
Today more than 320,000 females work in the UK in roles as diverse as plumbers, architects, HGV drivers, quantity surveyors, civil engineers…the list is almost endless and neither gender nor age are barriers.