This article is part of our Industry Spotlight series - based on our popular emails - where we focus on a different Career Zone in each article. To help students learning from home during the coronavirus lockdown, each article comes with a worksheet which you can download here.
In this article, we're shining the spotlight on careers in Construction - and hoping to bust a few myths too. Construction isn't just about building new homes, offices and structures. A whole load of work has to go on before anyone lays a single toe on site - and afterwards as well.
Today's article contains the info you need to navigate your way through this Career Zone. Click the links to learn more.
What's Construction & Property all about?
Put simply, Construction & Property is the industry responsible for the design, building and management of the built environment. This includes buildings used for business (eg offices and warehouses), leisure (eg leisure centres, cinemas), and living in (houses, flats), as well as things such as roads, railways and tunnels (known as "infastructure"). View Career Zone.
What jobs are out there?
There are dozens of career paths within Construction & Property, spanning the multiple fields that this Career Zone encompasses. There's pretty much a job for everyone:
- Architects and engineers design buildings and structures.
- Surveyors check the likely impact of the landscape, climate and weather conditions and find the right materials at the best price.
- Planners work for the local council, granting permission for projects on particular sites and picking out and organising sites for development.
- Building control make sure construction sites are safe and legal.
- Different kinds of workers carry out skilled assembly work on site, as well as off site in workshops. Service installers put in things like wiring, phone lines and plumbing once buildings are complete.
- Drivers, operators and mechanics are responsible for vehicles and machinery such as plant vehicles, boring machines, and cranes.
- Management coordinate things, making sure everyone’s working efficiently towards the same goal.
- Estate agents and letting agents are responsible for selling or renting out properties for residential or business use. Managing agents take care of properties that are leased or rented.
Am I cut out for it?
With so many career paths available in the Construction & Property world, there is almost certainly something that will appeal to you:
- Enjoy problem solving? If you are creative, logical and like solving problems, a career in architecture, engineering or planning might be a good fit.
- See the bigger picture? If you like to imagine how things work at a grand scale, planning gives you the chance to influence and shape community-wide and often county-wide projects.
- Like working with your hands? Maybe arts and crafts is your thing, perhaps you like to understand how things really work, or maybe you just enjoy the satisfaction of creating something. If so, a trade such as joinery, plumbing, electrics or on-site assembly work could be for you.
- Want to make a positive difference? Engineers, architects, planners and others within Construction & Property shape our lives by creating the built environment we all live in. There are also eco-friendly construction careers within the renewable energy sector.
How do I get there?
Some roles don't require any particular qualifications so you can apply straight from school or college. For example, estate agents carry out most of their training on the job.
Apprenticeships are a great way into Construction & Property careers if you want to go straight into work from school/college, as they are a way to gain training and qualifications within a paid job.
- Kitchen and bathroom fitter
- Quarry worker
- Boat builder
- Plant operator
Higher and degree apprenticeships are available to students with A-levels/equivalent, and they offer training in a high-skilled job, and give you the chance to study for a qualification equivalent to a foundation degree or even a full bachelor's degree.
They offer routes into careers in the following fields and more:
What can I study?
- Planning: You can do a postgraduate qualification after completing a degree. The most relevant subjects include architecture, geography, economics, law and social studies. Alternatively, you could also study a planning course accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
- Architects: To become an architect, you must study towards an architecture degree, which includes several years in industry before you become a fully qualified architect.
- Engineers: Do an civil engineering degree, or a generalist engineering degree and specialise in civil engineering later.
- Surveying: Surveyors often have a degree in surveying, although analytical disciplines such as maths and physics and other STEM subjects also offer a good grounding.
How do I find a job?
Use the internet to find vacancies in the Construction & Property Career Zone, searching for graduate programmes, graduate vacancies outside formal schemes and other opportunities.
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