Samuel Okoronkwo

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Beyond the Hard Hat: A Spectrum of Construction Careers

In a recent survey by YouGov, it was discovered that 69% of UK adults wouldn’t consider a career in construction. It also revealed that 77% of full-time students aged between 18 and 24 would not do so either. The poll was carried out for Deconstruction – a campaign aimed at improving perceptions of the construction industry. But, what has prompted these shocking results? The majority of adults (52%) said they perceive the sector as dirty, whilst 70% view it as strenuous and a quarter believe it to be unsafe. Deconstruction founder Ryan Jones, who is also managing director of construction marketing firm SLG Agency, said the survey findings were alarming and that if we want to encourage new, young people to enter the sector, we need to “move past the hi-vis and hard hats image that is the prevailing perception of the industry”.


Currently, the construction and built environment sector draws in over 170,000 individuals annually. However, according to the Construction Industry Training Board’s Construction Skills Network, an additional 225,000 workers will be required by 2027 to fulfil the anticipated demand. The question is, is this number attainable?


The construction industry offers a myriad of pathways for those in pursuit of practical and dynamic careers. So, let’s explore the diverse spectrum of professions within the construction sector.


Before we delve into the various career opportunities within the construction industry, it’s crucial to understand the industry’s overarching role and its significance in the economy. Construction stands as a pivotal driver of economic development and growth, encompassing a wide array of activities, from erecting buildings to advancing critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and airports.


Construction projects, regardless of their scale, hold a pivotal position in moulding the physical fabric of urban and rural areas. They lay the groundwork for economic advancement by establishing essential infrastructure to bolster enterprises, industries, and local communities. Executing construction initiatives demands a diverse array of proficient experts, encompassing architects, engineers, project managers, and construction labourers. These professionals collaborate harmoniously to breathe life into projects, subsequently generating employment prospects and fostering economic expansion.


Types of construction-related careers


Building construction encompasses the development of residential, commercial, and industrial. Within this domain, career opportunities span from architects and engineers, responsible for designing structures, to skilled construction labourers, who undertake the physical construction process. Building construction presents a unique fusion of imaginative flair and technical proficiency, rendering it a perfect avenue for individuals who relish hands-on work intertwined with creative problem-solving.


Careers in heavy and civil engineering construction


The realm of heavy and civil engineering construction is dedicated to monumental infrastructure endeavours, such as the construction of highways, bridges, and dams. Flourishing in this sector mandates individuals with robust technical expertise in engineering and project management. Occupations within heavy and civil engineering construction typically entail close collaboration with architects, designers, and construction teams to translate these grand projects into reality.


Careers in specialty trade contractors


Speciality trade contractors are experts in a range of specific trades, including plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and painting. They hold a pivotal position in the construction process, ensuring that the unique requirements of each project are fulfilled. Occupations within speciality trade contracting demand individuals with finely honed, specialised skills and the capacity to work harmoniously alongside other construction experts.


Required skills and training for construction careers


In construction careers, the right skill set is essential. This includes a blend of soft and technical skills. Soft skills like communication and problem-solving are crucial for teamwork and adapting to changing project needs. Effective communication with colleagues and clients is vital in the dynamic construction site environment. Problem-solving skills are also key for addressing unexpected challenges during construction.


In construction, technical skills are vital. This includes blueprint reading, equipment operation, and construction techniques. Reading blueprints is crucial for understanding the project’s design and ensuring precision in tasks. Efficient and safe equipment operation is essential for timely work. A solid grasp of construction techniques is required for effective execution.


It is clear that the construction industry faces a significant challenge in attracting new talent. But, in a world where construction plays a pivotal role in shaping our environment and driving economic growth, can the industry change its image to make it more appealing to a new generation of workers?


Remember, if you are faced with a construction dispute, Mercantile Barristers will be happy to assist. Do use the enquiry form below to contact us to discuss your matter further.

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