What's involved - View General Construction Operative Marc's video

General construction operatives have an extraordinarily wide range of skills, so it's probably no surprise to hear they're well in demand.

With a basic knowledge of building methods and materials, they are involved in projects from start to finish and responsible for the building and reinforcing of excavations with concrete and metal materials.

There are a lot of safety procedures to get to grips with, so they need to follow strict health and safety regulations at all times.

Skills required

You will need a flexible approach to working, have good practical skills and be able to work as part of a team.

As you could be working indoors, outdoors or at great heights, you will need to be happy working anywhere and also physically fit.

Qualifications required

There are no formal requirements although it would help to have Maths and English Standard Grades.

Salary ranges

(This is a guide to the average salary a fully qualified and experienced person might expect to get.)

£15,000 - £24,000

Progression routes

There are opportunities to progress into Plant Operations related to construction operations.

If you decide to progress into supervisory, design or management roles there are opportunities to study for:

  • Technical, supervisory and  management SVQ qualifications (SCQF Levels 6 to11)
  • HNC Construction or a number of other built environment HNC/HND qualifications (SCQF Levels 7 or 8)
  • Degree level qualifications in a number of construction disciplines (SCQF Levels 9 to 12)

Find out what a real apprentice thinks:

Which company do you work for?

I started at McAlpine doing general construction work.

Why did you choose this career?

I got into it because my family and friends were in construction and I would see them on jobs and I always wondered what it was like to work on a building site.

What do you do day-to-day?

On a day-to-day basis I do a bit of grouting, a bit of concreting, sometimes a bit of steel-fixing and then just a general tidy up.

What's the coolest thing you've done so far?

My proudest achievement on a job would probably be when I was on a concrete pour that was a thousand cubic metres on a base for one of the bridge towers.

What are the good bits about your job?

What I like is that I get to meet new people, get to interact with them and learn different things from them. What I've achieved from this apprenticeship is the confidence to go and do jobs more efficiently. With the skills I've learned I hope to make a lot more money and achieve my goals in the future.

What would you say to anyone who wanted to try this?

I'd say go for it. You get to meet new people, you get to have a good laugh, you learn a lot along the way and you can only grow from it if you get into it. At college it's cracking, everybody in college is brilliant, you get along brilliantly with the lecturers; it's just a good buzz.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

This apprenticeship has given me the foundations in life to progress. I'm able to make things better for myself and my family and build on my skills. Hopefully one day I'll make something of myself and have a good life. I see myself in 10 years sitting in an office being a gaffer, hopefully making a lot of money.