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General Construction Operative

General construction operatives do a range of jobs on a building site.

The Role

  • One of the best jobs for a start to a career in construction, and anyone who enjoys working outdoors
  • Work alongside skilled tradespeople, helping with every aspect of the building process.
  • Involved in projects from start to finish and follow all the safety procedures in place to prevent anyone being hurt or injured. 
  • Mixing and pouring concrete to make foundations, beams or floors
  • Mark out the area for the site using string lines strung between stakes, and put up huts, ladders, barriers and safety signs
  • Laying drainage pipes, pavements and manhole covers
  • Operating hand machinery such as drills, pumps and compressors


  • Newly trained general construction operatives can earn in the region of £17,000 - £20,000
  • Trained with experience general construction operatives can earn in the region of £20,000 - £30,000

Salaries depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. Self-employed general construction operatives set their own pay rates.

Qualifications and Training

Although there are no set entry requirements to become a general construction operative/labourer, some employers ask for GCSEs or equivalents such as Standard Grades in Maths and English. It’s also an advantage to have some experience on a building site.

You can to do an apprenticeship with a building company, with on-the-job training for part of the time and going to college for the rest. You could also consider trainee construction jobs.

Apprentices usually work towards the NVQ in Construction and Civil Engineering Services (Construction Operations)  


General Construction Operative Case Study

Michael Owen

Michael Owen is a General Construction Operative with BAM Construction. 

Read moreabout Michael Owen
Sean - Groundworker
Duration: 2:31

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

Next Steps


Check out the latest  vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary. 

Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!

Find out more

For information on the ‘job role title’ role in Scotland please visit the Skills Development Scotland website My World of Work.

Take our Ultimate Quiz to find out which role is right for you.

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