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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing a hard hat, is crouching on the ground.  He is applying cement to a brick, using a trowel.

    Using a trowel to spread mortar.

  • A man in a high-visibility jacket and white hard hat is using a spirit level to check that some breezeblocks are even.

    Bricklayers continually use the spirit level to check that their work is even.

  • A man, wearing a protective suit and mouth mask, is using an electric sander, in order to sand a large piece of wood.

    Sanding wood using an electric sander.

  • A man in a blue jacket is using an electric saw to cut through some wood.

    Good hand skills are very important in this type of work.

  • Two men in high visibility clothing, wearing hard hats are looking at some plans.

    Looking over some plans with the site manager.

  • A man in a high visibility vest and white hard hat is fixing a radiator to the wall.

    Fixing the radiator to the wall.

  • A man is crouching next to a wall.  He is fitting black tiles to the wall.

    When all the tiles are in place and the adhesive is dry, the gaps between the tiles are filled with grout.

  • Builder

Builder

Introduction

Builders are the ultimate jack-of-all-trades! If you want something building, fixing or improving, then bring in a Builder. As a Builder you must be skilled in many different building trades, including painting, decorating, tiling, plastering, brickwork, and carpentry.

Video: - Nathan: Joiner

Video: - Dane: Plasterer

Work Activities

As a Builder you must be skilled in many different building trades, including:

  • painting
  • joinery
  • blockwork
  • decorating
  • tiling
  • plastering
  • brickwork
  • carpentry

The exact type of role you perform will depend upon who your employers are. Employers include:

  • construction companies (building sites)
  • property services, who are responsible for maintaining the good condition of certain buildings e.g. hospitals, universities
  • recruitment firms, who will find you short-term employment contracts in many different areas

Or you could choose to become self-employed, and manage your work-load yourself. You may choose to specialise in one or two areas of the building trade, such as brickwork, or carpentry. People will contact you, via the phone or maybe your website, and you will respond to their requests for help.

You might employ people on short-term contracts to do the tasks for you. These people are called contractors. You will need to make sure they are doing the job correctly and that they are getting paid.

As a Builder you might find work on a long-term construction project, perhaps building a new house or extension. Or you may respond to day-to-day enquiries when problems crop up. This could include fixing taps, water pipes, cracked paving slabs - or maybe painting a room or tiling a bathroom. All these tasks require great skills and knowledge.

People may be worried or upset, particularly if a serious problem has arisen, such as a burst pipe, or blocked drain. You will need to put them at ease and explain to them clearly, and simply how you intend to help them.

A driving licence might be required as you may need to drive to different jobs. Certainly if you are self-employed you will need a van and your own tools. If you work for an employer, they may provide you with a van and tools.

Personal Qualities and Skills

As a Builder, you'll need:

  • To be good with your hands.
  • Good teamworking skills as well as the ability to work well on your own.
  • To be physically fit, as the work involves bending, stretching and lifting.
  • To understand the importance of health and safety in the construction industry.
  • The ability to follow written plans and instructions.
  • Some number skills.
  • To have good customer service skills.

Many companies will provide transport, but having a driving licence can be useful in this type of work.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

Builders earn in the range of £350 - £400 per week, rising to £450 - £550 per week, with experience.

Hourly rates range from £9 - £15 per hour.

Hours of work

Builders work a 39-hour week. Overtime, including Saturday working, may be available.

Where could I work?

Employers are:

  • construction companies (building sites)
  • property services, who are responsible for maintaining the good condition of certain buildings e.g. hospitals, universities
  • recruitment firms, who will find you short-term employment contracts in many different areas

Self-employment

Builders are often self-employed.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Universal Jobmatch (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/construction/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

So, how do you become a Builder?

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

For most building companies, you'll need a CSCS card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for. Go to the CSCS website for more details www.cscs.uk.com/

GCSEs

You can get straight into this career as a school leaver with GCSEs. You will train on-the-job, and might be able to work towards gaining a work-based qualification, such as a:

  • Vocational Competency Qualification (VCQ)
  • Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ)
  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)
  • Traineeship.

These can form part of an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship

You will learn the skills and get the experience you need to become a skilled Builder.

See the subjects section, for a list of relevant GCSE subjects, that could help you to get in.

A levels

You do not need A levels to get into this job.

Degree/HND/HNC

You do not need an HND, HNC or degree in order to get into this career.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and Maths.

The usual entry requirements for the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Advanced Level Apprenticeship are GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, in Maths, English and Science or a technical subject.

However, the selection process may include aptitude tests, and more emphasis may be placed on the results of these than on your academic achievement.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Related skills, for example, gained as a building operative, are useful.

Courses

Many people go into this career via an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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