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.
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
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 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.