Prefer a hands on, physical job? Want to spend your days outdoors and not in an office? If you fancy creating new buildings and landmarks, then a career with in the building sector could be for you.
The construction and building industry is a major source of employment in the UK, providing a wide range of career opportunities. This is something you can get into straight out of school and earn a respectable wage through, or can come into after a degree at a more senior level.
Builders construct everything from spare rooms in your parents’ house to record breaking skyscrapers. This is an industry that requires you to learn technical skills on the job. You can work gain a trade in a particular specialist area – bricklaying, pointing – or as a general building contractor involved in moving heavy goods.
Labourers will typically load and carry materials, dig trenches, erect scaffolding, construct buildings and remove rubbish and rubble.
You can get work through a particular employer or as shift work through an agency. However, whatever way you choose to get in, remember that hours are often long and the work extremely physical – you’ll need to be strong and have good stamina.
Apprentices in the building sector will earn around £200 per week.
A labourer will earn an average of around £15,000 starting out, but salaries can increase rapidly depending on experience and if you learn a specific skill or trade.
School leavers can go straight into the building industry from school, without qualifications - to progress and gain higher wages, though, you will need to get professional qualifications.
Some entry level building jobs include:
There are a variety of apprenticeships available in the building industry, which will give you both the practical skills and qualifications needed to progress in your career. Many employers will also be happy to take you on straight from school and train you up.
You should also be able to find shift work through recruitment agencies. You will often be employed on a job by job basis. You should also be aware that building work is easier to find during the summer months.
Construction and building jobs are extremely physical roles and you will need to be able to work long hours too. Teamwork and communication are also important as you will often be working in potentially dangerous situations with heavy materials. If you specialise in a particular trade within building, you will also need good technical skills and possibly professional qualifications.
Working in the building industry is often customer facing, which means that a variety of skills are essential. They include:
As an apprentice in the building industry, your work experience will be covered by the time you spend with the company that you’re working for – if this is not the case, contact companies directly and ask if you can shadow a member of staff or come in for work experience during your school holidays.