The College is passionate about careers in construction and seeks to raise awareness of the very wide range of opportunities within the construction industry, not only on muddy building sites, but also in fitting out the interiors of buildings once the main structural work is complete; the work of architects and engineers to design and specify the buildings; and the army of smaller companies specialising in repair and maintenance of existing buildings which, perhaps surprisingly, is almost 50% of all construction industry activity.
There are a huge number of employment opportunities within the trade skills arena of building trades including carpentry and joinery, Stone Masonry, Lead Sheet, Wet and Dry trades, block paving, dry lining, Building Maintenance including Plumbing and Electrical.
If you are good with your hands, the above trades may well be for you. With many different roles to consider, you have a number of routes from which to choose. It could be working in the ever-growing construction industry, helping to build thousands of new housing estates and fitting out the rooms inside; or working in the commercial sector, shop-fitting and constructing display material. Perhaps self-employment within the commercial or domestic sectors, where variety and flexibility are key and you will have to provide solutions for diverse requirements, or taking your time to create fine works of art in the form of furniture and decorative pieces.
There are many training courses to start you on your way, but you must understand that one of the main elements you will need to progress within the industry, or any service industry for that matter, are people skills: the ability to get on with people. These include being polite, friendly, understandable and easy to communicate with – skills that the majority of Service leavers will already have, thanks to their time and training in the military.
Obviously, training and qualifications are the main factors involved in actually getting you a job and allowing you to get your foot in an employer’s door, or providing you with the confidence and ability needed to start your own business.
City & Guilds and CITB-Construction Skills (the old Construction Industry Training Board) are the main awarding bodies providing the qualifications that count – namely C&G 6135 and construction industry awards. But other qualifications, such as the BTEC range, are helpful to prove your skills and commitment to a potential employer.
NVQs are also a must if you wish to become a fully and professionally qualified trade's person. However, as these can only be achieved when in employment, it is highly recommended that you first gain City & Guilds and construction industry awards to make you employable. These qualifications, and a proactive approach, will make you far more attractive than someone with no evidence of skills and/or commitment.
Some short courses give an overview of the required skills, but may not provide sufficient practical experience to allow you to get to grips with these highly important competences. They are also unlikely to offer industry-recognised qualifications. However, if you are a fast learner who is not just aiming for qualifications, they may provide a good start.
Longer courses, which are of course more expensive, delve deep into both theory and practice, allowing you to really get to grips with and understand your subject. Being longer and more comprehensive you not only have the chance to build your own confidence, you will also gain vital, industry-recognised qualifications that will help you start your new career.
It is also wise to research local job opportunities; information on larger contracts can be obtained from the Internet, local papers, Jobcentre Plus and through training providers, many of whom have facts and figures available on their websites. With regard to smaller contracts, it is worth researching and contacting local companies directly for an informal chat about opportunities. This will also allow you to gain information about their employment status and possible opportunities.
Follow these links for further information:
Construction Skills Training