What's involved - View scaffolder apprentice Michael's video

Scaffold is usually made of metal tubes, fittings, and metal or timber platforms. It is put together by scaffolders so that workers can reach the different parts of a structure.

Safety is paramount, for those erecting the scaffold, the people working on the scaffold and those below. Scaffolders work outside in all weather conditions and are required to work at height.

Skills required

Not surprisingly, you'll need to have a good head for heights for this role. You'll also need to be responsible as the safety of many others will depend on your work. A good understanding of maths is also beneficial.

Qualifications required

There are no formal requirements although it would help to have GCSE's in English or Welsh and Maths at A*-C (Applications from students with the Foundation or Intermediate Welsh Baccalaureate are also welcomed).

Salary ranges

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

£17,000 - £26,000

Progression routes

There are opportunities for scaffolders to progress to an NVQ Level 3 in Scaffolding, which is recognised by the Construction Scaffolding Records Scheme (CSRC).

Find out what a real apprentice thinks: 


Which company do you work for?

I work for Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering.

What do you do day-to-day?

We work on various projects such as the Edinburgh Waverley train station and I'm currently working on the Forth Rail Bridge. We're erecting the scaffolding for the painters to come and paint the bridge. They're giving it a new coat of paint which will last 25 years.

Do you feel supported by ConstructionSkills?

In this apprenticeship it makes it clear what courses I need to do and what road I need to follow. The instructors here help me day by day and help me to achieve my goal of becoming a fully qualified scaffolder.

Why did you choose this career?

When I left school, scaffolding was the first thing I applied for and luckily I got the job. That was just me getting into it and I've never regretted it. I enjoy it.

What's the biggest challenge you've faced?

The biggest challenge for me is probably dealing with the heights, sometimes in excess of 75 metres. My mates ask me all the time what it's like working at height, especially where I work on the Forth Rail Bridge! They ask me if I'm scared and I tell them I've just got used to it. I was a bit scared at first but you just get on with it.

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

I would say to people when they come here, if you ask for help you just get it, nobody criticises you. It's there for you if you need it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years time I see myself with the company I'm with now, hopefully progressing eventually to become a supervisor of some sort. That's my aspiration anyway.