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Property & construction Career Pathways For School Leavers

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Overview

Property and construction help shape the world that we live in and how we live our lives. That might sound dramatic, but think about it for a second - every road you walk down, building you go into, or house you’ve lived in has been created by this industry.

The scope of work is huge, the property and construction industry encompasses the planning, building, selling and managing of property and land, so there is a myriad of roles available.

It’s essential that we make the most of the land that we’ve got in the UK and we rely heavily on planners and constructors to ensure that we get the best facilities built on time and to budget. With the population continuing to increase, the need for more houses, schools, hospitals and shops is not going to change. There’s a lot of demand in this industry and you could be having a visible impact on society and the local environment.

Here are a few examples of careers that you could pursue in this industry:

  • Construction plant operator

  • Demolition operative

  • Structural engineer

  • Building technician

  • Facilities manager

  • Estate agent

  • Building surveyor

  • Town planner

It doesn’t matter who you are - the property industry has many different career routes that could be perfect for you.

Skills

If you display any of these skills or traits (some of which you will have gained through school), property and construction could be the right industry for you:

- Attention to detail
- Commercial Awareness
- Communication
- Creativity
- Negotiation
- Networking
- Numeracy
- Organisation
- Teamwork
- Time Management
- Writing

Progression opportunities

You should be in a position to apply for assistant level roles in property and construction after you complete your apprenticeship, if this is the route you decide to go down.

Progression in this industry requires you to have experience and there’s not much that you can do to speed this up! However, when you do move up in this industry the pay increases can be significant.

If you are considering pursuing a career in surveying the ultimate aim is to become chartered, which takes a few years of studying and experience.

Architects and town planners typically progress through extending their portfolio of work and taking on more complex projects or taking on more responsibility within a project. However, to pursue a career as an architect or a town planner you will need to go to university.

Career development

If you’ve completed an apprenticeship in this area, you could consider going on to university afterwards in order to increase your professional standing. This is a route you should consider taking if you want to go into management, architecture, or get chartered later on.

Otherwise you can look for roles at a lower level with companies and work your way up over a few years.

Earning potential

As an apprentice, you’ll earn a minimum of £3.70 per hour if you’re under 19 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, or the National Minimum Wage if you’re over 19. This works out at around £150 - £240 per week.

Pay varies within property and construction, with those in management positions earning the highest salaries. Here are a few average UK salaries for the sector, according to Payscale:

Property manager - £23,275
Land surveyor - £24,887
Building surveyor - £29,506
Commercial property surveyor - £41,846
Quantity surveyor - £32,103
Estate agent - £21,000 (+ commission)
Sales negotiator - £15,192
Technical coordinator - £34,162
Property development manager - £46,948
Architect - £33,683
Project manager, construction - £30,723
Property administrator - £18,770
Marketing manager - £45,000
Executive assistant - £32,000
Town planner - £27,118

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

To get a job in this sector as a school leaver, it’s a good idea to undertake a vocational qualification. A diploma, certificate or short course can give you the practical skills you need to get a job in this sector.

Professional organisations such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), as well as colleges, can provide or advise you on these qualifications.

Alternatively, you could look at apprenticeships in property and construction. Apprenticeships will see you studying and working for a company at the same time. You will work alongside experienced staff and will have one day off per week to study, usually at a local technical college or equivalent. This can be a great route for those who know what they want to do early, and don’t want to burden themselves with the time and debt of university.

Further Reading

Construction Industry Council (CIC)
British Property Federation
National Association of Property Buyers
Association of International Property Professionals
ARLA Propertymark (the UK’s largest professional body for letting agents)
NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents)
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
British Institute of Facilities Management
Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management
Landscape Institute