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Home Tradesman Insights Train to be a builder with this starter guide

Train to be a builder with this starter guide

The industry has remained steady in recent years, but as labour shortages continue new blood is needed to keep it afloat.


Training to be a builder can lead to a successful career that will see you work in a varied role, and face challenges on a daily basis.

But, where do you start, if you want to step into the industry? Read on to learn what option is right for you.

Apprenticeship

Taking the apprenticeship route is a fantastic way to specialise in an area of construction, and get some hands on experience alongside professionals. The skills you learn will be relevant to the trade you’re training in, and you’ll be earning a wage throughout the process.

Once you pass training, and any exams and observations, you will be awarded an NVQ level 2 qualification.

At this stage you can look for a job, or continue to work towards a higher-level qualification. An advanced (level 3), or higher (level 4 or 5) NVQ may give you a competitive edge among the competition.

Training can take between 1-5 years to complete, depending on the level of education.

Typical construction apprenticeships are:

  • Trades such as Bricklaying, Plastering, Electricians
  • Building Services
  • Civil Engineering
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Project Management
  • Design Engineering

To apply for an apprenticeship you must be at least 16 years old, live in the UK, and not already be in full-time education.

If you’re qualified and have some skills and knowledge to share, offer a helping hand by hiring an apprentice.

There are also options for adults to get a diploma. These courses can be taken over a couple of days or weeks, and will give you a foundation level qualification.

A builder also has a defined role, however this can be more varied and include a number of areas of expertise.

Some duties a builder, who is starting out in their career, will be expected to perform, include:

  • Prepping and cleaning the construction areas
  • Delivering and distributing supplies (expect some heavy lifting)
  • Assisting workers with equipment
  • Helping on small tasks
  • Assembling and disassembling scaffolding
  • Learning new skills from experienced builders

However, with additional training, you can take your building career to the next level.

Degree

Studying for a degree in construction is an excellent way to give your career a boost, and could see you filling supervisor and leadership roles, after graduation.

A degree will develop your people and number skills, as well as other core areas you will rely on to get the job done.

For example, calculating costs and quotes will be crucial and can make or break a project. You will also pick up negotiation skills that will help reduce costs with contractors and suppliers.

And if you’re hiring subcontractors, you will need to perform quality checks to make sure the job is up to spec.

Other areas a degree will cover, include:

  • Principles of Construction Project Management
  • Mathematics for Engineers
  • Science and Materials
  • Building Design, Drawings and Measurement
  • Building Regulations and Legal Context
  • Building Construction Technology
  • Construction Surveying
  • Professional Skills in the Built Environment

It’s also important to walk before you can run, and taking the degree route may mean spending less time on site. To gain the upper hand, consider working on construction sites during the summer break.

By putting yourself in the construction environment you will understand how a site is run, the processes involved, and the lingo of the trade.

Hands on experience is also an excellent way to become familiar with building regulations, and earn some cash to help with living costs and tuition fees.

Earning potential

We’ve said it many times before, but the same still holds true. The construction industry is under a lot of pressure and is in desperate need for new talent.

The only way to fill the labour gap in the market is to train, and this takes time.

On the other hand, if you’re considering a career as a builder, there are many opportunities out there. With growth in new builds and green initiatives, the sector continues to weather the current climate.

Pay rates for builders vary across the country, and are calculated based on your qualifications and years of experience.

On average, a builder, new to the industry, can expect to earn:

Construction managers earn, on average, £45,174 a year, with salaries reaching £70k at the higher end of the market.

If you decide to set up your own business, and work as a sole trader, you will have more freedom over the rates you charge your clients. Over time you will build a reputation that leads to more earning potential.

Whatever route you take, a career in the construction industry can be lucrative, with the sector offering a range of opportunities. Being a builder keeps you active, offers a number of rewards, and can develop into a fulfilling career.

Tradesman Talk

What’s the best route into the construction industry? Apprenticeship, degree, or another option?

What’s something you know now, but wish you knew at the start of your career?

Leave your comments below, and click the social links to share this article with your audience.

Until next time, if you’re looking for specialist public liability insurance, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

Mark McPherson

Mark McPherson has an MA in Creative Writing and has been crafting content for over a decade. He writes for a range of niches, including the construction industry and insurance sector. Mark has worked internationally as a content writer and teacher.

All articles by Mark McPherson

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2 Comments

I think you need to revise your rates, those rates are from the 80s
You ca earn more than that working in Aldi

Reply to John

Hi John,

Thank you for your comment. We have taken the rates from current data (follow the links), so it’s accurate at the time of publication. Some builders will make more, some might make less. Thanks again.

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