The construction industry is notoriously cyclic, experiencing growth when the economy is booming times, but experiencing extreme decline during recession. In recent times, job growth has been good with opportunities in every sector from house building and project management to engineering, surveying and architecture, but Brexit has hit the industry in recent months. However, it is an extremely diverse employment sector. As a construction worker, there are a huge range of jobs available, so if you are planning on entering the sector, you should do your research to ensure the role you choose is one that can weather the downturns.
A career guide to construction
Since construction jobs come in many flavours, there is no hard and set rules for starting a career in construction. Many workers start out as labourers or as an assistant to a trades person, but whatever niche you choose within the sector, there are essentially two main routes if you want to become a professional: an apprenticeship, or further education.
School leavers looking to learn a trade can do so by securing an apprenticeship lasting one to four years. There are over 100 different types of apprenticeships in construction from bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, plumbing and more technical roles. There are also opportunities for those looking to learn how to operate heavy plant equipment. The end qualification of these apprenticeship is the equivalent of five GCSE’s or NVQ Level 2.
There are also advanced apprenticeships for those wishing to train as maintenance engineers, instrument fitters and other technical roles. To be accepted on to these you’ll need passes in at least five GCSE’s. The final qualification here is the equivalent of two A-levels or NVQ Level 3. These too last one to four years.
Obviously, health and safety is vitally important in the construction industry and another career niche that many professionals choose. But, if you want to work on any building project, you’ll need CSCS Card Certification which demonstrates you have a good knowledge of the health and safety regulations and are equipped to handle certain equipment.
Laying the foundations of a great career
For those seeking to enter the construction via further education, you can pursue a vocational qualification such as an NVQ or take A-levels, before going on to do a third level qualification. Many graduates will be looking for opportunities in construction management, but those with specialist degrees will be targeting engineering, surveying and architecture positions.
Of course, support staff are also needed throughout the industry in jobs such as property management, admin, legal services and financial roles. There are alternatives to apprenticeships for those that have completed their A-levels, customised to the needs of certain employers, but, again, these are normally associated with a degree.
Getting a job in the construction industry is about much more than just having the right qualifications. As with so many industry sectors, for most construction jobs you’ll need to demonstrate relevant soft skills. And since construction is all about the creation of the built environment, you’ll be passion about delivering quality and uncompromising craftsmanship.
For jobs and apprenticeships in construction companies throughout the UK, start your career with a search on Zoek.
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