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Formworkers make temporary structures out of wood or metal for use in moulding concrete.

Average salaries are in the region of £16,000.00 to £24,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Formworkers make temporary structures out of wood or metal for use in moulding concrete. These casts have wet concrete poured into them to set, then are removed to reveal perfectly-shaped pieces.

What they do

Formworkers (also known as shutter joiners) are needed whenever anything is built out of concrete, including bridges, foundations, beams and staircases.

They build a structure on site using wood or put together a metal frame that was made elsewhere. An important part of the job is dismantling the casts without damaging them, so that they can be used again.

A formworker is skilled in the precise measuring, cutting and shaping of wood or metal and also works closely with people pouring the concrete. Once the formwork is built it must be checked for accuracy.

It is the formworker’s responsibility to produce concrete blocks of exactly the right shape and size for whatever they are helping to build.

Hours & Salary

  • Newly trained formworkers can earn in the region of £9,000 - £15,000
  • Trained with experience formworkers can earn in the region of £15,000 - £23,000
  • Salaries typically range depending on location and overtime
  • Self-employed formworker’s set their own pay rates

Salaries depend on location, employer and any overtime you may have done. Self-employed formworkers set their own pay rents.


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Case Study

Watch this video to hear from Kit Lippitt about life as an apprentice formworker.


Patrick Diggin is a formworker with JP Dunn Construction, a specialist groundworks and concrete frame contractor.

How did you get started?

I left school wanting to learn a trade and was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship as a formworker. I went to the National Construction College at Bircham Newton in Norfolk. I lived at the college from Monday to Friday and made some good friends there. I was always quite good at maths at school and that really helped with my course. Unfortunately, my first company had to make me redundant after a year. Thankfully I was taken on by JP Dunn and have been with them ever since.

What do you like best about your job?

I love the fact that I’m doing different things every day because I work with lots of different people. I also enjoy learning new systems and new ways of doing things.

And least?

The only thing I really don’t like about my job is the rain! Honestly, I love everything else about my role but I hate working in the rain! I like to keep active and this role means I’m always busy and then time goes quickly.

What’s a typical working day like?

My role can change each day. One day I could be making the mould for a lift shaft, another day I could be working on stairs or small walls. The concrete moulds that we use help to shape the building. It’s great to see that my work helps to create buildings where there once was nothing.

Do you need particular skills?

The skills needed in this role are maths, good communication and teamwork. I use maths every day and am always adding, subtracting and working out measurements. You need to be quick at maths and geometry and you also learn how to use the tools to do the job that is required. The job always involves working with other people. So it’s important that you can get on with other team members and communicate clearly with them.

Your proudest career moment?

I won the Construct Apprentice of the Year Award in October 2012, which I am really proud of. It was nice to get that recognition after all my hard work. I also won a trophy for Frame Worker of the Year, which I’m very pleased about too.

What would you like to be doing 10 years from now?

I’d like to have my own company one day. However, I know I have to gain lots more experience and work my way up through roles such as supervisor, foreman and project manager.

Any advice about joining the construction industry?

I would say go for it! It’s the best thing I have ever done. I really enjoy my work and have met lots of great people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I’ve made lots of friends at college and at work. It’s a great feeling when you are really busy and rushed off your feet but still enjoying lots of banter and humour on site.

Qualifications & Training

There are no set qualifications to become a formworker but it helps to have Standard Grades/National 4 or 5s, GCSEs or or in Wales, the Welsh Baccalaureate. A good understanding of maths and technology is important because you have to work to precise measurements using wood and metal.

Employers often look for people with on-site experience.  If you have not worked in construction before, you could start out as a labourer. Then your employer may train you as a formworker. 

You can do an apprenticeship in Wood Occupations SVQ/NVQ Level 1, 2 and 3.  Other qualifications available include Basic Construction Skills (carpentry options) and the CSkills Level 2 Diploma in Site Carpentry.

For further information see the Institute of Carpenters website or the British Woodworking Federatoon's site Wow I made That!

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Career trends and forecasts

262,920 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 262,920 wood trades and interior fit- out occupations (which includes form workers) to meet demand between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in North West, West Midlands, closely followed by Wales.

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