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If you are interested in pursuing a career using science, technology, engineering or mathematics, known as the ‘STEM’ subjects, the construction industry has plenty of opportunities for you.  

You could work as a civil engineer, mechanical engineer, geotechnical engineer, cost estimator or IT analyst, to name but a few careers.  

Find out more below. 

What is STEM? 

STEM is an acronym relating to practical, technical-based subjects and the careers that studying these subjects can lead to.  

What are STEM subjects?

The core STEM subjects are science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Within these broad categories, you could study subjects like biology, physics and chemistry, computer science and electrical engineering.  

Why are STEM subjects important?

STEM subjects are important because in many respects they lay the foundation for jobs in fields that can have the most beneficial impact on society. People with highly developed STEM skills are technically minded and good at problem-solving. You could be building bridges or developing vaccines. There is a shortage of skilled workers in technical, scientific research and engineering jobs in the UK, and filling that gap has become a major economic priority. The UK government sees STEM careers as key to promoting innovation and economic growth.  

STEM careers in construction

Environmental engineer 

Environmental engineers focus on protecting the environment by reducing waste and pollution. In the construction industry environmental engineers report and advise on the environmental impact of building work. They carry out site assessments, take readings, conduct technical audits and make recommendations to construction companies. Environmental engineers optimise the use of natural resources and existing materials. They design technologies and processes that control pollution and clean up contamination. 

Civil engineer 

Civil engineers are responsible for the planning, design and management of significant construction projects, including transportation links, buildings and other structures. They use computer modelling software and data from surveys, tests and maps to develop project blueprints. These blueprints provide guidance to contractors and aim to minimise risk and environmental impact. Some civil engineers focus on specific areas, such as transportation, environmental, geotechnical, maritime or structural projects.   

Geotechnical engineer 

Geo-technical engineers have an important role in analysing soil, rock, groundwater, and other earth materials before construction gets underway on a project. This analysis can help determine what materials must be used in the structure’s foundation or overall design, or whether the project needs additional measures to ensure it is safe. Geotechnical engineers are passionate about the environment, as well as having an advanced understanding of maths, science and geology.  

Materials engineer 

Materials engineers source, test and assess the materials used in construction. They ensure that building foundations and materials are suitable and offer guidance on the best materials to use for a project, based on their individual properties, project costs and timeframes. Materials engineers also investigate structural issues, advise on material maintenance and repair, develop building prototypes and analyse material test data. 

Cost estimator 

Construction cost estimators use their mathematical skills to calculate the costs of a project. They gather data, consult with clients, vendors and site managers, and estimate the cost of labour, materials and machinery. Cost estimators will factor in lead times and the potential for delays in transport and bad weather. Throughout the duration of a project, they will keep track of costs and have regular meetings with clients, engineers, architects and contractors.  

The importance of diversity in STEM

STEM careers are open to all, whatever your background, racial or sexual identity. Diversity is important in STEM because the more voices and backgrounds that are represented, the richer the experience will be for society and the possibility of greater achievements and discoveries.  

Go Construct STEM Ambassadors

If you are pursuing a career in construction you have the opportunity to become a Go Construct STEM Ambassador. As a STEM Ambassador, you will act as the face of the construction industry for young people, engaging with schools and workplaces to promote STEM careers within construction. You don’t need to have studied STEM subjects at school or university, just be passionate about working in construction and want to share your experience with others! 

Find out more about becoming a Go Construct STEM Ambassador  

Inspired by what you’ve read? Discover over 170 construction careers

A STEM career can be one of the most rewarding ways to work in construction. You don’t need to have taken a STEM degree – there are plenty of STEM careers available through apprenticeships and starting at an entry-level.  

If you want to get into construction, Go Construct has information on over 170 job profiles available in the construction industry.