Construction Industry: Why Work in it?

Written by Steven Marwick
Author

The construction industry is a huge employer in the UK, providing jobs for around 9% of the workforce in 2019 according to the UK Government. The actual number of jobs is thought to be around 3.3 Million and the number of new starts that are needed every year is around 400,000. 

Since the pandemic, the construction industry has been especially keen to recruit young people and believes more needs to be done to persuade them of the benefits of joining the industry.  

Benefits of Working in the Construction Industry

There are many reasons why pursuing a career in the construction industry is a good idea and we have broken down some of these below. 

Low Barriers to Entry

Unlike many other industries, there is a low academic threshold to join the construction industry, which goes some way to explaining its enduring popularity amongst school leavers who were not very academically minded. 

You don’t have to have been a super brain at school to become a success in the construction industry and educational attainment is not the be-all and end-all in life. There is more than one route to success in life and the construction industry has proven this repeatedly and often over many years.

Many Job Openings

There are a great many job openings in construction, which means that if the people you are currently working with aren’t the best, it is possible to get another job within the industry pretty easily. There is no point staying somewhere with a bad atmosphere or perhaps a bullying culture that could cause you depression at work when there are so many better opportunities out there for you. 

Having many different jobs within the construction industry will also help you to gain good contacts. Someone you worked with in one job may end up referring you to the gaffer for another. This is where it is important to make good work friends who will look out for opportunities to work with you again.

Because there are many job opportunities, there is also more room for career advancement than before the pandemic, and it is possible to gain traction toward a higher-level job in a much shorter space of time than might have been possible a few years previously.   

Transferable Skills

The construction industry is a great place to learn transferable skills that you can use throughout your working career. These skills can include softer skills like how to get the best from your colleagues and how to interact well with your bosses in order to do things like ask for a pay rise in the future.

The transferable skills you learn will form the basis of your success going forward ad you will take them with you as you transition from job to job. Having skills that are not just useful in one specific job but over the course of many can help to pad out your CV and give you a more well-rounded skillset. 

You Can Earn Good Money in the Construction Industry

Many people assume that because work in the construction sector can be hard, physical work and doesn’t require a huge amount of academic success to join, it must be poorly paid, but this is not necessarily the case. More experienced people in the industry can do very well for themselves and there are many specialised roles that can command very decent pay for the work undertaken.

Some people in the construction industry can earn upwards of £60,000 per year plus the provision of perks such as company transport. While it may take a while to reach this level, it is a possibility and is something to aspire toward. 

Opportunities for Self-Employment in the Construction Industry

Construction is one of the sectors most ripe for people to decide that they are going to be their own boss and start their own firm as subcontractors. As long as you can actually provide the services that you advertise to a high standard, it is something that is worth looking into. 

Many people start small, tendering for some of the smaller projects and then maybe take on an apprentice or two and before they know it, they have a fully-fledged, successful business in the construction sector. Being the boss of your own construction firm can be incredibly lucrative, though, in common with all businesses, it will also carry an increased element of risk.   

Construction Industry Apprenticeships

An excellent way to enter the construction industry is through a construction apprenticeship scheme and there are many of these available all over the UK at the moment, specialising in a number of different areas and offering the chance to learn many different skills and disciplines that can help you to get ahead.

The main benefit of construction apprenticeships vs non-apprenticeship routes is that you have the opportunity to “earn while you learn”. This allows you to gain valuable experience in order to enter the industry a few rungs up on the career ladder from where you would otherwise start out.

In addition to the valuable experience accrued, you will also have earned a qualification by the end of the apprenticeship ad this can help you to access better quality jobs within the industry in the future. Most apprenticeships will specialise in a particular aspect of work in the construction industry, whether that is bricklaying, military engineering, construction rigging, pipe fitting, site supervisor or any number of other specialisms within the construction apprenticeship standards

Apprenticeships are set at different levels of educational attainment so there will be something to suit everyone. Some of the apprenticeships for positions like site supervisor require a higher level of study to be undertaken during the apprenticeship than others. In all cases, 80% of the apprenticeship will be “on-the-job training” where you learn while working alongside colleagues, and another 20% which will be classroom based. You will be paid the same during the entirety of your apprenticeship whether you are doing on-the-job or off-the-job training.

If you would like to take part in a construction apprenticeship, you can look for suitable opportunities using the apprenticeship job search board on our sister site Employing an Apprentice. 

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