How to get the most out of your scaffolding apprenticeship

Scaffoldersplay a vital role in the construction industry, erecting and dismantling temporary metal scaffolding on building sites, so that construction work can proceed safely at high levels.  

Working in scaffolding is physically demanding and requires a strong head for heights. You can become a scaffolder through a number of routes, and an apprenticeship is one of the most popular ways.   

Here we explore what scaffolding apprenticeships offer, the different kinds of apprenticeships there are, and the skills and experience they allow you to develop.

How do you become a qualified scaffolder?

To become a qualified scaffolder, you could take a college course. The Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills and Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations provides an introduction to essential skills needed for the construction industry. For entry, you will need GCSE qualifications in Maths and English. 

A scaffolding apprenticeship is an academic qualification in scaffolding which gives apprentices on-the-job experience with an employer. There is an Intermediate and a Level 2 qualification.  

Entrants could also apply to become a labourer and gain experience on a construction site with qualified scaffolders. Your employer could provide training opportunities to help you develop your skills.  

What age can you become a scaffolder?

You will need to be 16 years old before applying for a scaffolding apprenticeship or taking a college course.  

What is a scaffolding apprenticeship? 

A scaffolding apprenticeship covers practical principles in erecting and dismantling different types of scaffolding, including independent, birdcage, tower, cantilever, pavement and roof scaffolds. You will also receive training in general workplace safety, efficient work practices, manual handling and learn skills, knowledge and awareness of basic building methods, interpreting drawings and estimating resourcing.  

How long is a scaffolding apprenticeship? 

It takes up to two years to complete a scaffolding apprenticeship programme. You could take the Intermediate Scaffolder apprenticeship which takes 18 months, or the Level 2 Construction Diploma in Scaffolding. The Level 2 qualification takes two years and involves 11 weeks of training over this period, combined with working for an employer for a minimum of 30 hours a week.  

At the end of your apprenticeship, you will not only gain your qualification but also your Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme card. This signifies that you are a fully qualified scaffolder.  

Find a scaffolding apprenticeship near you 

Making the most of your apprenticeship

It is important to make the most of your apprenticeship.  

Choose the right training provider 

There are lots of training centres providing scaffolding apprenticeships, but make sure you make the right choice for yourself. Is it close enough to where you live? Read reviews to find out what apprentices think of the training provider. Does the course cover what you need?  

Work hard 

Work as hard as you can during your time with your employer. You want to make the best impression you can and give yourself the best chance of securing a permanent job at the end of your apprenticeship.  

Challenge yourself 

Test yourself - both during your training time and while working on site. Apprenticeships challenge young people to develop their skills and personality, and to see how they can meet the requirements and demands of their chosen career.  

Gain real work experience 

Apprenticeships give you the chance to gain work experience with an employer, while also being paid. Sometimes there is no better way to learn than on the job. Scaffolding apprentices will learn how to work confidently at heights, understand technical drawings and plans and develop excellent hand-eye coordination.

Learn more about apprenticeships in construction

Go Construct can provide a wide range of information and advice about apprenticeships in the construction industry. Find out about the different types of apprenticeships, how they compare with going to university and how to find an employer.  

Find out more about a career as a scaffolder 

If scaffolding is the career for you, find out more about how much you could earn, what a scaffolder does and what skills you need, and read our complete guide to scaffolding