If you’re considering a career in construction, you need the relevant skills and expertise to carry out jobs correctly.
You can get into the construction industry and progress in a variety of ways through many different entry-level qualifications. For some construction roles, you will be able to start work and gain qualifications while already working in the industry.
Depending on the role you choose to specialise in (bricklaying, plumbing, electrician etc.) will determine the exact qualifications you need for the job. Given that the competition for tradesmen can be high, the more qualified you are, the better.
Here are some different construction qualifications to consider if you’re thinking of a future in the industry…
Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the construction industry as they offer workers the ability to combine off-site learning with on-site experience. Apprentices can learn all of the vital skills they need for their chosen trade by working with an already qualified tradesman while working towards becoming qualified. Apprenticeships are highly valued by employers.
To complete an apprenticeship, workers must be in full-time employment with a construction company – meaning you earn a living while learning. Apprenticeships are offered at craft, technical and higher levels – meaning there are opportunities to progress in your career if you wish.
NVQ’s (National Vocational Qualifications) and SVQ’s (Scottish Vocational Qualifications)
These qualifications demonstrate that workers have the ability and skills to carry out the job in line with National Occupational Standards. NVQ’s and SVQ’s often form part of an apprenticeship and can be achieved in different levels which range from basic work skills, all the way up to senior management roles.
Each level is assessed differently, and candidates may have to show a portfolio of their work or be observed at work by an assessor.
For workers without NVQ’s and SVQ’s that have a wealth of experience, should they decide to come back to the industry after an extended period of time can be re-assessed to demonstrate their abilities. This is done either by on-site assessment workshop or the experienced worker practical assessment.
HNC’s (Higher National Certificates), HND’s (Higher National Diplomas) and Degrees
For those looking to take their studies to the next level, HNC’s and HND’s offer full-time and part-time university courses. You can also study these qualifications while working part-time in a construction-related role to build up on-site knowledge and experience. They can also form part of a Higher Degree Apprenticeship in England, Wales and Scotland.
Construction Conversion Courses
Construction conversion courses are ideal for people who have already gained a university degree that is not directly related to the construction industry. The courses allow workers to gain additional work experience to qualify for a construction job with their existing degree.
Industry Skill Certification (competency cards)
These cards prove that workers possess the skills and adequate training needed to carry out a specific construction job.
Although there are a few schemes available, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is the most well known amongst employers and can, therefore, improve the workers chance of getting a job with them.
There are many different types of CSCS cards and workers should apply for the one regarding the NVQs or SVQs that they hold. For workers that have additional qualifications other than NVQs or SVQs but can’t get a CSCS card, the SKILLcard or SCORE card should be considered as an alternative.
Health, Safety and Environment Test
A health, safety and environment test must be carried out before applying for a CSCS card, SKILLcard or SCORE card. The purpose of the test is to ensure that workers know how to stay safe on site and take the correct measure to keep others safe too. There are four types of test: operative, labourer, specialist, and managers and professionals. The one you take depends on the kind of job you’ll be doing and the CSCS card you’re applying for.