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          Helping you find a career in the construction industry

          Any building we live in or use is constructed by the construction industry. Construction builds all the physical structures that shape our society. If you work in construction, you get to decide how people relate to the space around them: is it a place to relax or work? Is it meant to comfort or impress? Is it large and spacious, or small and cosy?

          The construction industry doesn't just build buildings though, they also make bridges, walls, sewers, tunnels and anything else that requires planning and construction. You'll be working closely with the property sector and engineers to plan and carry out building projects for a diverse range of clients. One project may require the building of a hospital, another a house, and yet another an office building. Consequently, the construction industry offers exciting challenges that will develop your skills.

          Most construction work involves small or medium sized teams, so you'll get to know your team members well. You and your team will often carry out a project from start to finish, so there's a tangible sense of progress and achievement as you work.

          Construction offers a diverse range of roles. Some roles will draw upon organisational skills. For example, a construction manager will make timetables, calculate costs and hire contractors. Other jobs may demand more physical labour. A shopfitter will craft the interior of shops, offices and other commercial or public buildings, meaning there will be more practical work involved.

          If you think about your own skills and interests, you're sure to find a job within construction that will suit you.

          Find out more
          • FAQs
          Skills & interests you'll need

          An interest in how people move through and use spaces will be essential for construction. You'll be designing or building spaces that will need to meet the needs of the building's occupants, so you'll have to consider the kinds of activities that will be carried out in the finished building. An interest in spatial planning is therefore required.

          You may also need practical engineering skills. Whether you are planning or building a building, you're going to need to make sure the planned construction is actually possible. A basic knowledge of physics and electrics is integral to this aspect of construction work.

          An ability to tackle problems in one particular area will be useful, but you'll also be able to consider that problem in relation to everything else happening during the construction process. Therefore, an ability to see the big picture is a key skill.

          Construction is team-based work, so you'll need to be comfortable communicating with your fellow constructors in different roles. A construction manager will need to be comfortable talking to architects and vice versa. Listening is just as important to communicating in construction as talking.

          How to get Construction internships, work experience or placements

          While there are entry-level positions in construction (such as shopfitting) which only require practical experience, most higher level positions will require a degree of some kind.

          A degree in civil or mechanical engineering will be highly useful for construction work. You'll also need on-site experience, so some entry-level positions will be useful for familiarising yourself with the industry as a whole. This can be used when applying for higher level roles later on to prove your knowledge of how the entire industry fits together.

          Other useful degrees may include property, mathematics, economics, design, physics or architecture. Postgraduate degrees in a relevant field can also be useful.

          Many larger construction businesses will offer a range of different work placement schemes aimed at either university students or school leavers. These can range from a year-long, paid placement during your degree (a ‘sandwich year' or industrial placement), to a summer internship (usually 2-3 months), to a short 2-3 weeks of work shadowing.

          A ‘sandwich' year is usually taken between the penultimate and final years of your degree course, and many people who undertake placements during their degrees report that the experience they received was highly beneficial for their career search after graduating (many employers will also give hiring preference in their graduate schemes to people who have completed placements with them and made a good impression!) Industrial placements can also be a great way to earn a year's salary and ease students' financial worries ahead of their final years. Most work placements are recruited during the first term of your penultimate year.

          Many degree courses in engineering-related subjects will have a ‘sandwich year' as part of the degree's structure, so you might be able to find out details about placements in buying from your department. If you are particularly interested in the construction industry, it might also be worthwhile speaking to your university's careers department to see whether they have links to particular businesses. Even if your degree does not have a ‘sandwich' year in its structure, many universities will allow you to take a year out for a placement, so if you are interested in undertaking a placement, speak to your department.

          Most summer internships and work experience programmes will be advertised on employers' websites, so you should identify a range of businesses which interest you and look for details of various programmes. Most employers will expect summer intern to be going into their final year of a degree, while work experience programmes are aimed at college students. Work experience can be a great way to secure an apprenticeship with a construction business.

          Read more about the Construction industry

          Construction News
          UK Construction Week
          Construction Industry Council
          Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA)
          Scottish Building Federation
          Build UK
          Confederation of Construction Specialists
          Construction Industry Research & Information Association (CIRIA)
          Engineering Construction Industry Association
          Chartered Institute of Building