If you're changing careers or coming back to construction after a break you may have more to offer employers.
Getting started in construction isn’t just for new graduates. If you’re changing careers or coming to the industry later, you’ll find lots of opportunities to make a good living while picking up new skills. If you’re coming back to construction after a break, there are more chances than ever to boost your qualifications.
Making the change
With demand for workers growing and wages rising, now is a great time to get into construction. If you’re coming from a different sector you might find that you already have plenty of the transferable skills that employers want.
Apprenticeships are a great way to earn qualifications while you work and can help to kick-start a career change. If you already have experience in construction, you might be able to get your skills recognised with On Site Assessment and Training.
There’s more than one way get into construction. From career changers to mature apprentices and industry returners – the people here show how far you can go.
Joanne O’Neill (43)Trainee Crane Operator
Joanne had worked in childcare for more than 20 years but felt like she needed a change. One day she looked out of an 11th floor window, saw a crane at work and thought, “I can do that”. Now she’s in the middle of clocking up the 1000 hours of the crane time she needs to get her operators card.
She “smashed the interview” with HTC Wolffkran (impressing them with her knowledge of the company’s cranes) to become one of their trainee crane operators. Since then, she’s been getting to grips with life on-site while enjoying the feeling of being 300ft in the air.
I love it and it is a great new challenge
Gavin Holbrook (45)Painter and Decorator
Gavin had done a painting and decorating apprenticeship after school but went on to work as a coal miner. He returned to construction after 14 years and picked up where he left off with the help of some refresher courses. After that, he was able to start his own painting and decorating business.
His current employer snapped him up when they saw his skills with floor laying and tiling as well as painting and decorating. He’s still building his skills with the company, where he’s now staff rep and a member of the health and safety committee.
I am better suited to a practical role and it’s where my strengths lie. It was also a familiar industry because of my apprenticeship.
John Evans (34)Apprentice Plant Mechanic
After spending years in a variety of jobs including car servicing, labouring, carpentry and machine operating, John felt it was time for “a proper job”. His experience meant he had a strong background in health and safety, as well as a good head for mechanical puzzles. This led him to a plant mechanic apprenticeship at the National Construction College.
I have learnt more in the last two years than in my whole life. The job and the training have been fantastic!
Stuart Kemp (29)Site Carpentry Apprentice
As a hands-on person, Stuart always wanted an active job. After school he took a foundation degree in IT and Business and went on to university but struggled to finish his degree. He took some time out and worked in warehousing and telecommunications. That’s when he decided on an apprenticeship.
He feels his experience in other industries helped him become more mature and build a good work ethic. Stuart sees his apprenticeship as an investment: “it is worth investing in the apprenticeship as the money will go up significantly upon completion”. His business experience will also come in handy if he starts his own company or moves up to a site manager role.
The construction industry has lots of different opportunities and careers with great progression routes.
Charlie Brown (30)Site Carpentry Apprentice
Charlie supported himself all through his Level 3 BTEC Diploma and HNC in Engineering but found it hard to get a job when he finished. His natural interest in construction, engineering plans and design made the leap to site carpentry an easy decision.
He feels that the construction industry offers him hundreds of ways to build on his interests. Charlie is currently working through his carpentry Level 3 and credits being older with having more transferable skills to offer.
I wish I knew more about apprenticeships at an earlier age