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Work experience

Having the right work experience can make a big difference when applying for a construction job. It helps you get a feel for jobs you're interested in, looks good on your CV and gives you a chance to make contacts.

This page talks about some of the ways you can get experience and how it can help build your construction career.

What is work experience?

Work experience lets you find out the various construction jobs. You could be helping out with office work or shadowing experienced tradespeople like carpenters or plumbers, depending on what you're interested in. 

A quality work experience host will ensure certain things are in place to keep you safe. You can usually expect them to have a risk assessment, provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and give you an induction that includes health and safety.  

No matter what kind of construction work experience you do, you'll be learning skills that employers want. Academic and vocational qualifications like NVQs or SVQs are still important because they show that you have the knowledge for the job, but when you add hands-on work experience it shows that you can put that knowledge into practice.

What are the benefits?

Almost two thirds of employers prefer people with solid work experience when hiring, so this gives you a real advantage when applying for construction jobs. Here are just a few of the other benefits:

  • You fit into teams more quickly
  • You have skills that others don't
  • You need less training
  • Although work experience is usually unpaid, some companies might give you a small amount for your costs
  • Many employers like to use work experience as an unofficial interview and you might be hired by the company if they like you – like Elijah Hill.

Finding work experience

Some construction companies will get in touch with schools, colleges and universities about work experience opportunities, but most of the time you'll have to hunt them down yourself.

It's a good idea to apply to more than one construction company at a time. This will improve your chances and you might even be able to arrange experience with different companies at different times.

You can also try the GOV.uk and Careers Wales for help on finding work experience.

Elijah Hill

Bricklaying Apprentice

RJ Byrne Construction hired Elijah when he finished a work experience programme there last year. He got to try out bricklaying and was taken on after making a great impression on his colleagues. Now he's well on the way to finishing his Level 2 Apprenticeship Framework.

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