​A new year is one of the best times for making changes, both personally and in your career. And if you’re in the process of trying to make up your mind about what you might do in life, or you’re looking to change jobs, a role in Britain’s construction industry might well be an excellent choice for 2024.

Why construction? Well, for a start, construction companies are crying out for new recruits. There is said to be upwards of 45,000 vacancies in the UK’s building industry, everything from general labouring, skilled trades (bricklayer, joiner, electrician, etc) to site and estate management, project development and office-based roles.

And, significantly, construction isn’t just for ‘the boys’. Almost 350,000 women now work in the industry (compared to 1.8 million men), and 2023 saw females occupy a higher proportion of the construction workforce than at any time since official records began.

So the job opportunities in construction are great, and the future is bright too, as the UK invests in wind and solar technology, as well as new housing and major commercial developments. With this in mind, let’s look at five ways you can build a successful career in this flourishing sector.

1. Do your homework.

You know you’d like a job in construction, but where do you begin? How about some research? Do you have aspirations to work in a particular trade or professional field? If so, you’ll need to know how and where to start, and what your career goals might be. You could contact your college or university careers office, and if neither of these apply, it’s worth looking at the Construction and Trades section of the National Careers Service website, which gives a comprehensive overview of many different construction sector roles and how to break into them. You could also try the old-fashioned approach – asking someone who works in construction! Many people have relatives, friends or friends of friends in this line of work, and they’d be more than happy to talk over the realities. They might even put you in touch with a company looking for full-time employees, or at least the opportunity of work experience. Networking this way is very useful because if you don’t ask, you don’t get…

2. Train, train, train!

The days when a new starter on a building site was handed a spade by the foreman and told to go and dig a hole are long gone. Today, training is everything and it’s worth having a good look at what various training bodies have to offer – the Construction Industry Training Board is a good place to start – in terms of job-specific courses, health and safety training, leadership and management qualifications and much more. If you’re going to work in construction, in whatever role, you will need to undertake some ba

sic training and understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Training is often a lifelong process, so don’t be afraid to take a deep dive and learn as much as you can while you work.

3. Be resilient.

As with many things in life, your dream job in construction might not happen straight away. If, for example, you’d like to be a site manager, or have your sights set on owning your own building company, you must remember that you need to start somewhere – and that’s most likely at the bottom. While general labouring might not be everyone’s idea of fun, it will provide an invaluable overview of how a building site works and the various roles within it. Similarly, a junior office role will give you the same insight into what goes on at a company’s HQ, and from both these viewpoints you can figure out where to plot your next career move. Dedication and persistence are key skills.

4. Be people-focused.

Unlike many sectors now, the construction industry is one where it’s necessary to get along with your fellow human beings, in a face-to-face way. It’s been said that the current recruitment crisis is caused, in part, by young people wishing to be involved in the tech revolution, as opposed to working outdoors. That’s great, but it does mean a LOT of time behind a screen. Those who understand what makes humans tick are worth their weight in gold on building sites because they approach the job with humour, a listening ear and a way with people that helps build relationships and may one day make them successful managers or business owners.

5. Dare to dream.

Remember that you’re not ‘just’ a brickie, a sparky or a chippie. You’re a skilled construction professional, doing work that the average person wouldn’t dare attempt. So when you’re planning your career in construction, make sure you take it seriously, remembering that it has excellent progression opportunities and that you don’t need to stick at the same role forever. As you get to understand the various roles, you can adapt your skill set to take on new roles or progress up the career ladder of your current job. The UK construction industry is a vibrant, go-ahead and innovative place to be right now, and it is crying out for new recruits with equivalent enthusiasm, a capacity to learn and ambitions both for their future and that of the sector. PPR specialises in the supply of staff to the construction industry, covering all areas of construction, house building, and infrastructure nationwide. We have supplied skilled people to almost every major infrastructure project that has taken place in London and the South East. We provide a unique and unrivalled service to both clients and candidates, focusing on working collaboratively for the benefit of everyone involved in meeting their recruitment needs. For more information contact us here or give us a call on 01895 808188.