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Working as a labourer can be an interesting and rewarding job. Labourers are found in the construction industry, a sector that continues to grow in the UK. The role involves many different duties, including bricklaying, carpentry and plastering. The role can be physically demanding, and you will likely be working both indoors and outdoors. The role and sector continue to be male dominated. However, there are growing opportunities for females.
Salaries can be good, especially if you gain a specific trade. Furthermore, there are often many opportunities for overtime, which can make a significant difference to your wages. Keep reading to learn more about working as a labourer, including expected salaries and career development.
Labourer jobs often involve various duties, making it an interesting role and meaning you need to be flexible in what you do. Working hours will likely involve early starts, but when you work will also depend largely on the weather. Tight deadlines are a normal part of this industry, and therefore overtime and weekend work are common.
Construction sites can include everything from private homes to large inner-city apartment buildings.
Common duties involved in working as a labourer include:
- Erecting and taking down scaffolding
- Laying pipes, drilling and bricklaying
- General carpentry, plastering and electrics work
- Operating equipment, such as fork-lift trucks
Most labourer jobs do not require any specific qualifications. There are many apprenticeships available in this industry, meaning you will have many opportunities to learn on the job whilst also being paid. Basic English and math skills are desired to help with the measurements and calculations you will be taking. Furthermore, a good level of fitness is beneficial, in order to deal with the physical aspect of the role.
There are numerous industry-specific qualifications that will help you chances in the construction sector. These include a City & Guilds Basic Skills in Construction and BTEC in Construction and Built Environment. In terms of personality traits, labourer employers look for candidates who are hard-working, team players and with a positive ‘can do’ attitude.
There are many good career opportunities for people working as a labourer. Once you have gained experience as a labourer, you may have the opportunity to move towards foreman and site manager roles. Furthermore, construction sites come in many different shapes and sizes, meaning you could move towards managing larger sites. You could also work towards specialising in a specific area, such as plastering, with many roles having their own specific qualifications.
In terms of starting salaries for labourer jobs, average wages begin around £16,000 – £21,000. Once you gain some experience, this can rise to around £29,000. From this, management-level positions can pay significantly more. Salaries will also vary significantly depending on various factors, including location, construction sector and your own specialist area of trade.
There are various pros and cons to working as a labourer. The role can be well paid, and there remains strong demand for experienced and skilled individuals. Work can often be found across the entire country, and you will also have the opportunity to gain professional qualifications which will help further your career.
However, labourer jobs can also be demanding. You will often have to work outside in cold, wet weather conditions, as well as work weekends and Bank Holidays if required. The role can be very physically demanding, and construction sites are often full of hazards.