Construction labourer

Construction operative, groundworker

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Construction labourers prepare building and civil engineering sites and carry out manual jobs once work starts.

Salary Range: £15,000 to £29,000

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How to become a construction labourer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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College

You could start by taking a college course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations

Entry requirements

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

More information

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Apprenticeship

You can do a groundworker or construction operations intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

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Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. There are no set requirements, though it will be helpful if you’ve got on-site experience.

More information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about working in construction from Go Construct and House Building Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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.

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

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.

Working environment

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.

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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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