Top tips for building a career in the construction industry
In our latest South Wales Echo column, Lawrence Beach, Construction, Mechanical and Electrical Manager, offers his tips on how to apply for a role in the construction industry and how you can thrive in this booming sector.
As the construction sector in Wales continues to grow, there are plenty of opportunities out there for jobseekers who are willing to train on-the-job and work hard. Construction sites can be challenging places to work at first, but with the right mind-set, you can play your part in the development of some exciting projects across South Wales.
Many employers provide on-the-job training to help you get your CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card if you don’t have it already. However, there are certain skills and assets that you will need for a successful career in the construction industry, including:
- Endurance – it goes without saying that to work in the construction industry, you need to be patient. Working on a construction site can be labour intensive so make sure as an individual you are committed.
- Positive attitude – your attitude is a direct expression of yourself, so be positive. An upbeat mentality makes it much easier for prospective employers to communicate instructions. If you display a positive attitude, this can determine just how well you can get projects completed.
- Identify your skill set – both recruiters and employers will want to know exactly what your niche abilities are; whether you are an aspiring plumber or trainee electrician. If you have NVQ or City Guild qualifications, make sure you raise them at the outset.
- Flexibility – hours on constructions sites vary from job to job but it is vital that you are prepared to adjust a shift pattern and show flexibility. When projects near completion, employees may be expected to work longer hours and weekends – if you’re prepared to be flexible, it won’t go unnoticed.
- Co-ordination - balance, perception and resilient hand-eye co-ordination are all critical assets and will help you to keep on your feet whilst on site, whether on high beams or near saws.
- Durable ‘soft skills’ – as well as being physically competent, you will need to make sure and demonstrate that you have strong ‘soft skills’ such as being able to communicate, make decisions and working as part of a team. These skills are vital for demonstrating you could be a real asset to a crew.
- Be realistic - don’t be disheartened about starting at the bottom. Everyone has to start somewhere and there will be plenty of opportunities for progression. Find a job as an entry-level construction worker and learn the skills you need on the job.
- An up-to-date CV – this may seem like I’m stating the obvious but it’s key to getting your foot in the door. Your CV should be accurate, concise and above all else, to the point.
- Be health & safety aware – to succeed in the construction sector, you will need to have a basic understanding of health and safety policies to safeguard the welfare of yourself and others.