The construction industry is all about the entire built environment. Careers cover a wide range of specialist activities, from architectural design and the planning of building projects to the active construction of properties and the restoration, regeneration and maintenance of existing buildings.
Jobs in construction planning
Before construction materials can be bought and building work can begin, the structure itself needs to be designed. This is where architects come in, designing both new structures and extensions to existing properties. Sometimes they even provide an advisory service to clients who wish to renovate older properties. It’s all about understanding a client’s needs, doing the appropriate calculations and producing detailed drawings and specifications from which surveyors and construction teams can start to do their bit.
Construction projects need to be meticulously planned and managed throughout the project lifecycle. Consequently, technical consultants, such as surveyors and civil engineers, are needed to provide expert advice from the beginning to the end of all construction projects. They also provide guidance from a project management perspective, making sure that everything is done on time and within budget.
Jobs in building
At the heart of construction are the teams who do the manual labour on projects, from building service engineers, roofers and carpenters to stonemasons, bricklayers and scaffolding teams. When it comes to the interior and other bits and pieces need to be sorted too. Otherwise, every building would just be a glorified shed. This is where plumbers, electricians, painters, plasterers and decorators earn their stripes. These workers make buildings comfortable and functional.
They also help to keep buildings maintained throughout their entire life. All buildings have nagging little problems and suffer some wear and tear. Therefore, painters are needed to paint walls; facilities managers are needed to manage facilities such as toilets, office equipment, heating systems etc.; steeplejacks are needed to maintain steeples and church spires; and landscapers are needed to maintain outdoor areas.
School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after taking their GCSEs, and train in roles like bricklayer, industrial painter and craft mason.
They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in a similar relevant role. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.
School leavers interested in architecture could do an Advanced Apprenticeship as an architectural technician, or go to university if they want to be full architect.
Those interested in the project management side of the industry could do a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) after A-levels, in roles like project manager, project co-ordinator, project executive and project support officer.