Construction operative, groundworker
Construction labourers prepare building and civil engineering sites and carry out manual jobs once work starts.
Salary Range: £15,000 to £29,000
How to become a construction labourer
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could start by taking a college course like:
- Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
- Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can do a groundworker or construction operations intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply directly for jobs. There are no set requirements, though it will be helpful if you’ve got on-site experience.
- you’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- knowledge of maths
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a good level of fitness
To work with plant machinery like excavators or dumper trucks, you’ll need to be 18 or over and have a driving licence.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- groundworking – marking out and digging trenches for foundations and drains
- formworking – putting up panels that hold setting concrete in place
- steel fixing – bending and fixing bars used to reinforce concrete structures
- steel piling – joining steel sheets to form temporary retaining walls for excavations
- concreting – laying concrete for foundations, floors and beams
- road working – laying kerbs, paving and resurfacing
You’ll also help tradespeople on site, like bricklayers, by keeping them supplied with materials and mortar.
You could work on a construction site.
Your working environment may be at height, outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
You could train on the job to become a qualified tradesperson or with experience, become a site supervisor, estimator or construction manager.
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