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Become groundworker

How to become a groundworker

by Kim Latham - 11 June 2019


Before construction work begins on a site, groundworkers play a crucial role in the initial stages of the construction process by preparing and clearing the ground.

Before work begins, groundworkers prepare the land, dig trenches for foundations, and remove any necessary drainage and pipework.

Groundworkers also create roads, driveways, and paths using tarmac or concrete slabs on a range of different projects from housing and hotels to government buildings, power stations, and railway lines, according to Morson Group.

What does a groundworker do?

  • Clears a construction site
  • Digs trenches for foundations
  • Removes drainage and pipework systems
  • Prepares the ground/foundations to allow construction to begin

What skills does a ground worker need?

You’ll need to be very physically fit to do this job as this is a demanding role. As well as being a good communicator with team members, decent maths and arithmetic skills will also be needed to work out measurements, angles, and quantities to minimise wasted materials.

You’ll need to be aware of the potential dangers on a construction site and be confident and decisive in your work.

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What qualifications do I need?

There are a number of different routes one can take if you’re interested in a career as a groundworker. Some people choose to gain experience by working with contractors and construction companies, or by completing an apprenticeship, says Integra People.

Alternatively, you can complete a college course in groundwork, such as an NVQ (level 1 or 2) or City and Guilds 6709.

You’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card if you’re going to be working on a building site.

In addition to this, you may need a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card if you’re going to be involved in plant operations. Operator cards document recognised skills, competence and qualifications, with different codes covering different classes of machinery. Some of the most common classifications according are listed below:

  • Crawler crane CPCS Code A02
  • Tower crane CPCS Code A04
  • Ride on Road Roller CPCS Code A36
  • Excavator 360 degree tracked CPCS Code A59
  • Crane supervisor CPCS Code A62
  • Ride on Road Roller CPCS Code A31
  • Plant and Vehicle Marshaller CPCS Code A73


Groundworkers are usually employed on a contractual basis for full-time projects that can range up to 40 hours a week and will usually see wages between £10 and £12 per hour, according to Randstad.

 As with most on-site work, your day will often start at dawn. You’ll sometimes be required to work overtime during the evenings and weekends to meet deadlines, as and when the project requires it. These additional hours and overtime pay give you the opportunity to boost your salary.

Groundworkers often operate in hot, noisy and dusty conditions, with some exposure to hazardous fumes. The majority of work will take place outdoors, so be prepared to face all types of weather conditions.

The work can be potentially hazardous, so strict adherence to safety procedures and regulations is essential. You’ll also require safety equipment such as overalls, safety goggles, hard hats, ear protection, safety boots and hi-vis clothing.

                               Insurance for groundworkers

Entry routes and training

According to Careers Wales, you’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on site. These cards demonstrate that you are qualified to do the work you’ve been employed to do.

CSCS cards cost £36 and you’ll need to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environment test. This costs £21. You then need to complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

BTEC offer a level 1 course in construction. This course boasts a range of units that include:

  • Preparing for an interview
  • Interview skills
  • Producing a product
  • Working towards a goal
  • Working as part of a group
  • Starting work in construction
  • Health and safety and welfare in construction
  • Working as a team to move and handle resources
  • Developing building maintenance skills

Useful contacts for groundsmen

Apprenticeships: Get in. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk


Skills for the construction sector

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org


Norther Ireland enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6HR

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Careers Wales – Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com

What insurance do I need to become a groundworker?

Groundwork can be a dangerous job and if something goes wrong you’ll need insurance to protect your business as well as damage to third party buildings and property that you could be liable for.

If a member of the public has an accident on your site or where you are working, they can make a claim against you as you have failed to meet your duty of care which could result in you having to pay a substantial sum in compensation to the injured party.

The type of insurance you’ll need can depend on the elements of your business you want covered. Here at constructaquote.com, we provide public liability insurance starting with cover of £1 million raising to £10 million depending on your business needs. We can also offer insurance that covers you to work to a depth of 5 meters. This can protect your business from claim of injury and property damage from third parties.

We offer contractor’s all risk insurance which covers theft, loss or damage to tools, machinery and plant and also makes provision for the cost of hiring replacement tools and equipment so that you may continue working normally until repairs are made or replacements purchased.

If you have a fixed workforce then we can also offer cover based on the number of employees, this means we can cover you with a flexible policy or it can be more rigid based on your company needs.

We also offer van insurance as well as plant cover and hire plant cover, allowing you to get all the cover you may need for your business as a groundworker all in one simple and easy place.

Disclaimer: The advice provided here are our own interpretations and opinions. We have tried to simplify the main points to create this article and the information provided is for general informational purposes only. While we try to keep the information up-to-date and correct, there are no representations or warranties, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in this blog for any purpose. Any use of this information is at your own risk.