Many kids get so excited when they pass a construction site. Watching the digger buckets scoop the earth and therapeutically drop it down onto a huge mound. The kids rush home and get out their construction toys hoping that one day their play rooms will come to life.
For most that dream comes true when they visit Diggerland. Enjoying all of the rides and drives that Diggerland has to offer, the children get a real hands-on experience. Fully immersing themselves in their own construction site, faces beam and at the end of the day the children tell their parents those special words. When I grow up I want to be a digger driver!
For some that dream fades, interests form in a wide range of areas and the child who wanted to be a digger driver goes off to college or university to study a completely different subject.
For others the passion fuelled inside from a young age sparks a strong interest in construction and a desire to follow their ambition.
Here we delve into how a career in construction can be incredibly rewarding, as well as super fun!
When you think of a career in construction, you probably think of building sites and diggers. Yes that does form a large part of it, however there are many other careers you can go into. For example, project planning is all a part of construction. Yet it’s mostly working behind a desk in an office.
Prior to any building project going ahead, some planning must take place first and foremost. That planning will include ensuring the project runs on time and within the budget.
It defines the scope of the building project, looks at resources required such as building materials. As well as staffing of the project, looking at which people are required for the job and how many people are required at each stage of the project.
Financing the project is also important in planning. Where is the money going to come from? Is a loan required? What about investors?
If you are someone who is very organised and enjoys planning, then perhaps project planning within the construction industry is the right career choice for you.
Now a plan is in place, the project can get underway. However, a project must be properly managed and that’s where a Project Manager is required.
Depending on the scale of the project there may be one Project Manager to oversee the smooth running of the project. For a much larger building project though, such as a housing estate there may be several Project Managers, each working together or focusing on one aspect of the project.
The role of the Project Manager is to ensure the overall smooth running of the project. Making sure that deadlines are set and met. Ensuring the right management and staff are in place from builders to digger drivers. From electricians to plasterers.
The Project Manager will also manage the budget and ensure the project does not go over budget. Liaising with various stakeholders such as the local council and suppliers also takes up a large part of a Project Manager’s role. As well as keeping any investors informed of the project’s success.
This is a great role for someone who is people focused. In this type of role you will need to ensure you have excellent communication skills in order to ensure the project runs as smoothly as possible.
You also need to be able to problem solve as with any project there is always something that presents itself as a challenge.
Overcoming those challenges and seeing a project through to completion is a fantastic achievement though.
To start a career in construction as a Project Manager you will most definitely need qualifications in Maths and English, so if you are at school still, be sure to work on these subjects.
English language will be required in order to communicate effectively especially when it comes to talking to people on all levels. You will also need to have good written skills for when it comes to emailing suppliers and directors.
Maths will be required when it comes to ensuring the project stays within budget. As well as working out how much building materials are required.
There are many routes you can take to become a Project Manager. One way is to go to university and get a degree in a subject such as Business, Construction or Engineering. You would likely need to graduate with an upper second honours degree (2.1) as a minimum.
Another route you can take it to get some meaningful level 3 qualifications such as A-level or BTEC and then start your career in a junior position. There are lots of apprenticeship opportunities that many construction companies offer, so if you are lucky enough to get onto one of these on the job learning programs you will set yourself up for success.
Experience and qualifications are key to climbing the career ladder and working your way up to becoming a successful Project Manager.
The Site Manager usually works alongside the Project Manager and focuses on the day to day running of the site. Whereas the Project Manager will be looking after the project overall, the Site Manager will assist by ensuring that materials are purchased and ready for the next stage of development.
The Site Manager will also closely monitor the workforce and deal with any issues on a local level. If there are any major concerns with the project the Site Manager will relay these to the Project Manager.
If you aren’t quite ready to be a Project Manager, a Site Manager position will provide an excellent opportunity to learn all aspects of site management. As well as give an overview and insight into project management under the supervision of the Project Manager.
You will definitely need maths and English GCSEs grade 5 / C or above to get into site management. A qualification related to ‘Business’, such as Business Administration or Business Management is also preferred to reflect an understanding of finance, human resources and customer service.
Health & Safety
When it comes to any building project, Health and Safety is of the greatest importance. A career in Health and Safety comes with much responsibility, especially if your goal is to reach management level.
A Health & Safety Manager working within construction will be responsible for ensuring all safety, health environment and quality assurance tasks are met.
One of the biggest things for a Health & Safety Manager to focus on is personal protective equipment (PPE). Making sure all staff working on a construction site are wearing high-visibility clothing, hard hats, safety glasses and safety boots to name only a few. It’s very important for workers on a building site to be seen, especially when heavy machinery is being used.
The Health & Safety Manager will need to carry out risk assessments for each job carried out within each phase of a project. They will also be required to carry out health and safety training for all workers on site.
If you’re at school still and are interested in a career in health and safety, a great starting point would be to focus on gaining meaningful GCSE and A-level qualifications. Alternatively look at more vocational equivalent qualifications such as BTECs or GNVQs.
Subjects to focus on would include Maths, English, Science and Business.
Working on any construction site at any level will require a level of health and safety. You can get a good understanding of courses required by visiting the Diggerland Plant Training School website here – https://www.digger.school/health-safety-courses/
If you’re the type of person who enjoys getting stuck in, having a balance between working with others but also on your own at times. Plus if you love being outside and working outdoors, then a career in construction as a machine operator could be just the right thing for you.
There are many different types of plant machinery and you can operate them all providing you have the necessary tickets.
Tickets or cards are the qualifications that apply specifically to the construction industry. Once you have completed your training for operating each piece of equipment you will receive a card or ticket. It’s easier to carry these tickets and cards around with you when you move from site to site. There are many inspections carried out by governing bodies such as the local council and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) who will regularly attend sites to ensure everything is running correctly.
You can get tickets or cards for operating a wide range of machinery. From rollers to site dumpers. From telehandlers to excavators. The more tickets or cards you have the more universal you are. You essentially open yourself up to opportunities for gaining more work.
University Technical Colleges
If you’re approaching 14 years old you can move school and go to a University Technical College. They focus on helping young people to achieve industry standard qualifications.
You would still need to learn English, Maths and Science however the other subjects you focus on will be specific. Many UTCs focus on construction and engineering and help young people to gain skills, knowledge and experience in these areas. Preparing young people for the real world, work experience will be carried out in organisations invested in fabrication and welding, plant hire, plant sales, mechanical engineering and many more.
It proves an excellent opportunity and introduction into the world of construction and engineering. Perfect groundwork for starting your career in construction.
Before anyone can work on a construction site at any capacity they must have a CSCS card. CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme. There are many different types of CSCS card such as a Labourers Green Card, which is what a labourer will require in order to step foot on any construction site. An experienced technical, supevisor or manager will have a red CSCS card and a skilled worker will have a blue CSCS card.
CSCS issue a number of cards which reflect the different occupations and qualifications in construction. You can check out the different types of CSCS card here: https://www.cscs.uk.com/applying-for-cards/types-of-cards/
Start Off Your Career In Construction at Diggerland
A great way to start a construction career is to get a part-time or seasonal job at Diggerland UK Theme Parks. There are four in the UK, located in Devon, Durham, Yorkshire and Kent. If you’re close to a park, get your job application in today.
You will learn incredible skills such as customer service. Every aspect of the role involves working with the general public. Welcoming customers into the park on arrival. Helping children onto the rides. Serving customers in the gift shop. Ensuring customers are having a great day. This is all part of learning how to deal with people on all levels, a great skill when out working on a construction site.
Don’t forget when working on site, you may be digging up roads in a busy town. You might be working in demolition and knocking down buildings. Having customer service skills will help when directing the general public to ensure they remain safe.[row_inner_3] [col_inner_3 span__sm=”12″]
Another great skill you will learn when working at Diggerland is team building. Being a great team player is essential at Diggerland. Working together is what gets a job done at a faster speed. Being part of a team boosts productivity, forms better problem solving skills and creates a happier workforce.
On almost every construction project you work on you will need to work as part of a team, with everyone sharing their skills and experience to ensure the best possible outcome.[row_inner_4] [col_inner_4 span__sm=”12″]
Using Construction Machinery
The most exciting part of working at Diggerland is that you get to use real life construction machinery. Yes most of the machinery is restricted in terms of speed and full ability. However, you will get to drive and operate construction machinery in a safe environment.
If you’re really competent you can work your way up to learn about machine mechanics and join the machine fitters / mechanics team.
How To Apply For A Job At Diggerland
Send your CV together with a covering letter to the relevant park’s General Manager. You can view job vacancies here – https://www.diggerland.com/job-vacancies/
Gain A Construction Qualification / Card / Ticket
At the Diggerland Plant Training School, we teach a wide range of courses focused on getting you started with your career in construction.
Current NPORS Training Courses include:[row_inner_6] [col_inner_6 span=”4″ span__sm=”12″]
- N107 – LORRY LOADER COURSE
- N403 – VEHICLE MARSHAL
- N133 – PLANT MACHINERY MARSHAL
- N405 – CRANE / LIFT SUPERVISOR
- N401 – APPOINTED PERSON
- N206 – LOADER COMPRESSOR
- N120 – PLANT LOADER SECURER
- N301A – ABRASIVE WHEELS AWARENESS
- N402 – SLINGER SIGNALLER
- N215 – DOZER
- N017 – PETROL DRIVEN CUT OFF SAW
- N301B – ABRASIVE WHEELS WITH CUTTING/GRINDING
- N109 – MEWP SCISSOR LIFT COURSE
- N108 – MEWP BOOM LIFT COURSE
So there you have it. Our top tips for starting off your career in construction.
To sum things up!
- Focus on Maths and English at school. Aim for at least a grade 4 / C in each subject.
- Think about joining a University Technical College to gain first hand knowledge, qualifications and experience at entry level.
- Get a part time job working in construction either as a Builders Mate or get yourself a job at Diggerland.
*All information correct as of 18/10/2022.[/col_inner_5] [/row_inner_5] [/col_inner_4] [/row_inner_4] [/col_inner_3] [/row_inner_3]