Everything to know for building a career in scaffolding

Here is everything you need to know before starting in the scaffolding industry:


Why scaffolding is a good trade to enter:

Scaffolding provides builders and workers a safe and secure platform to carry out their duties meaning most construction projects see it as a necessity. Due to this, the demand for qualified workers is increasing. The UKs scaffolding and access industry is worth £2.86bn to the economy, with more than 6,000 businesses employing 34,000 scaffolding operatives. The scaffolding industry offers a hugely diverse range of well-paid jobs and careers. Although scaffolding is a very hard and physical job the rewards outweigh the hard work. Keep reading to find out how you can start your career in the scaffolding industry.

What education do I need?

There are three main ways to start learning scaffolding which include a college course, an apprenticeship or work. To study scaffolding at college many decide to take a level 1 or 2 certificate in construction operations. Doing this will teach you some of the key skills needed for a career in scaffolding. This course will also teach you what is needed to get a trainee position with a company.

Alternatively, you could train through scaffolder intermediate apprenticeship. This usually takes 18 months to complete and will allow you to do to on-the-job training whilst also spending time at a college or training provider. Although not as common, some people decide to join a company as a trainee scaffolder or scaffolding labourer and get their qualifications on the job.

Skills and knowledge needed:

Before you start scaffolding, it is important that you have the right skills and knowledge needed for the trade. These include:

  • Knowledge of building and construction.
  • Able to pay attention to detail.
  • Patience and the ability to remail calm in stressful situations.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • The ability to work well with your hands.
  • Knowledge of public safety and security.
  • The ability to operate and control equipment.
  • Physical fitness and endurance.
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.


Scaffolding involves working at great heights, meaning it is important that you are comfortable with this. Having a good level of fitness is also necessary to ensure that you can carry out daily tasks efficiently.

Daily tasks:

Every project a scaffolder works on could be different however, here are some of the tasks you could be completing:

  • unloading scaffolding from a lorry
  • putting up scaffolding poles and attach horizontal tubes to them
  • creating stable bases on the ground
  • fixing scaffolding to a building
  • taking down scaffolding at the end of a job
  • laying planks across scaffolding for workers to walk on
  • fixing guard rails and safety nets
  • ensuring the scaffolding is secure before handing over

Working environment:

As a scaffolder you may have to travel for work, how far will depend on the company you work for. You could be working on a demolition site, at a client’s business or on a construction site. Scaffolders work outdoors and, in all weathers, whilst being at a great height. You will be a part of a team so it is important that you can communicate and work well with other people.

Potential progression:

Potential promotions in the scaffolding industry could include:

  • scaffolding gang supervisor
  • scaffolding designer
  • a site safety inspector
  • construction manager

Alternatively, further in your career you could decide to start your own scaffolding business.


Although scaffolding is hard and can come with its challenges, it is a very rewarding trade to start building your career.