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A Day on Site - National Careers Week 2020

It’s National Careers Week in the UK so we thought that we’d give you a realistic insight into what it’s like to work within one of our main sectors – Construction.

Engineer Working

We know that a career in construction can be highly rewarding albeit challenging at times, but overall you can build a strong foundation for success and developing skills, allowing workers from all different trades to move up the ladder. The prospects for promotion, enhancing skillset and higher earnings are often obtainable in a construction job role. Many employers will even provide opportunities for further training and professional development.

When you want to obtain a genuine insight to what it’s like to work in construction then where better to go than a building site? We spoke to a scaffolder to get a clear snapshot of what life is like on site.  

Callum is 27 and started scaffolding 5 years ago, with no construction background whatsoever. Since then he hasn’t looked back and has even had additional training provided for by his firm - meaning that now he is a fully-qualified (part 2) scaffolder and holds a Class 2 lorry driving license. He gave us a breakdown of his typical working day and told us all about the graft!

 

What I love most about being a scaffolder is being with the people I work with and having a laugh all day. Obviously it’s a serious and challenging job, but our moods aren’t too serious. The summer is amazing where we’re working outside and just taking it all in.

My day usually starts at around 7am when I get to the yard. I always start with a coffee (with a few biscuits obviously) and a chat with some of the guys, which helps us all to wake up a bit! I check the board that has the all the schedules and sites on, to see what I’m up to for the day.

We put our kit on straight away – our steel toe boots, hi-vis and all that. After this, we head down and start loading or unloading the lorries – depending on what the plan is and who’s going where. This can usually take up to an hour and once it’s done, we drive to site.

We can work all over the place, and most of the time it’s somewhere new. The site can be from 5 minutes away to a good 90 minutes’ drive, and usually I’ll be driving the lorry. I quite like this part of the day and my local geography is much better for it – I know where I’m going (most of the time) and I rarely use a sat-nav or anything in my day-to-day! If we have an especially busy day or a long drive, then we sometimes take an early break and stop for breakfast somewhere. Can never go wrong with some extra fuel for the day, as the job is really physical.

We can work on all different sites, whether that just means somebody’s house or a massive development with thousands of houses. It’s nice to mix it up a bit. Throughout the day we have two separate breaks, and I usually cram in as much food and tea as I can – priorities!

What I love most about being a scaffolder is being with the people I work with and having a laugh all day. Obviously it’s a serious and challenging job, but our moods aren’t too serious. The summer is amazing where we’re working outside and just taking it all in.

It’s rewarding seeing what you put up in a day and all the effort you’ve put in. I like getting home and knowing that I’ve physically pushed myself – it’s definitely not a job for lazy people!

Engineer Working

Working on site means we can be doing all different things – doing a base lift, putting a lift up or striking a house. What we do varies quite a bit and there is always plenty of work going on. There’s always a great atmosphere on site, and everyone is always up for a good conversation and a laugh. You meet so many different people.

I leave the site I’m working on to get back to the yard for about 4pm – or a little bit earlier if we completely smashed the day and finished sooner than planned. This always ends up being earlier on a Friday too, as the boss loves an early Friday finish just as much as us!

Leaving work at 4 is definitely a pro to working in construction. Some trades finish even earlier than this. You still feel like you have some of the day left when you get home – especially in the summer – and we usually miss most of the traffic.

I started at my current company with no experience whatsoever in construction, as I eventually decided that’s what I wanted to do. Since 2015 I have developed into a Part 2 scaffolder, meaning I am fully qualified. I also recently got my lorry license, which is a good bonus. It’s definitely rewarding to see how far my knowledge and skillset has come, and even my confidence too. The money isn’t too bad either – can’t forget that! Each milestone has come with a pay rise and thanks to my job I am definitely in a good financial situation. It does feel really good to see how far I have come and I’m excited for what’s next!

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