Construction operative

site labourer
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You’d work as part of a team on a building site to construct a building or structure safely and efficiently.

You’d use different building methods and work with a variety of materials. You’d use hand, power and machine tools, following health and safety rules, to successfully complete the different processes involved in a construction project.

At the start of a project you’d help to prepare the site. For example, you would:

  • Put up site huts
  • Unload and store building materials
  • Set up ladders and scaffolding

Once work starts, you could do a variety of tasks including:

  • Groundworking – mark out and dig shallow trenches for foundations and drains
  • Formworking – put up or dismantle the shuttering that holds concrete in place while it’s setting
  • Steel fixing– bend and fix the bars used to reinforce concrete structures
  • Steel piling – fix steel sheets together to form temporary retaining walls for excavation work
  • Concreting – layer and smooth concrete for foundations, floors and beams
  • Road working –pour concrete and lay kerbs, paving and re-surfacing

With further training, you could operate construction plant equipment, such as dumper trucks or excavators.

Working conditions

Hours

You would work a basic 39-hour week, often starting early in the morning. Overtime at weekends and evenings may be required to meet deadlines. Seasonal work is common and overnight stays away from home may be necessary.

Environment

You would work outdoors in all weather conditions and sometimes at heights. The work is physically demanding and often involves carrying heavy or awkward loads. You would be expected to wear protective clothing, such as a safety helmet and boots.

Travel

Overnight stays away from home may be necessary.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Following instructions
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required for entry to this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Practical technologies subjects

You will also need

You usually need to pass an aptitude test.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent and pass a health and safety test to work and train on construction sites.

There is no age restriction for entry to the role but if you have to operate machinery you must be over 18 years old.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate an understanding of construction and practical skills such as

  • Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCQF level 3)
  • Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5)

A Modern Apprenticeship leading to relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Construction: Building (SVQ level 2/3).

A driving licence can be useful.