Who employs people for scaffolding jobs in the UK?
There are a whole range of private sector companies involved in the construction industry and a good chance that you could end up working for any number of them — either directly or indirectly. Obviously, specialist scaffolding firms and individual building contractors are a large source of employment.
As a construction industry UK subcontractor, you will also find that labour or recruitment agencies can provide you with much scaffolding work. Often, such agencies may act as your direct employer.
What qualifications do you need for scaffolding jobs in the UK?
You do not strictly require any formal qualifications to work as a scaffolder in the UK, however you will find having them advantageous.
The UK has an extensive set of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) which provide the theoretical background to many trades and vocations. In Scotland, these are known as Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). S/NVQs are completed in line with apprenticeships and contain 5 levels:
- Level 1: equivalent to a site operative or labourer
- Level 2: craftsperson
- Level 3: advanced craftsperson
- Level 4: manager / professional
- Level 5: senior manager
Being able to prove that you meet a certain level of certification is becoming increasingly important in the UK and is now a prerequisite to working on many construction sites. Also, construction industry occupational, health and safety training is becoming much more common. To this end, a number of certification schemes have been developed to provide all construction site workers with an official photo ID card which provides proof of their level of qualification.
While it is not currently a legal requirement to belong to a certification scheme, it may certainly be seen as advantageous to your employment prospects. There are a number of different certification schemes for different occupations.
Scaffolders can apply to become a member of the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS), which is administered by ConstructionSkills.
The CISRS Card is valid for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The cost of the application is £25. As part of the application for this card you will need to have your overseas qualifications verified and you will need to pass a UK Health and Safety assessment (at an additional cost of £17.50).
For more information on having your overseas qualifications recognised, call ConstructionSkills on +44 (0)870 417 8777. The standard method of having certifications verified is through the independent company UK NARIC. The cost of a letter of comparability (online) is £39.95. For more information, UK NARIC may be contacted on (t) +44 (0)871 330 7033, (f) +44 (0)871330 7005, or (e) email@example.com
What other experience is advantageous?
Work is available for scaffolders of all experience levels though, essentially, the more experience you have the better. As a general rule, having 2 + years experience should be sufficient.
Having detailed information regarding your previous experience, such as the size and scope of scaffolding projects you have been involved in, will be extremely helpful in helping you find work. You should also ensure that you have an accurate and up to date list of referees.
How much can you expect to earn for a scaffolding job in the UK?
A 16-year-old is paid about £80 a week to start with, while an 18-year-old in his second year can earn around £190 a week. However, once an individual is fully trained, it is not uncommon for scaffolders at the top level to earn between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. Opportunities for overtime are generally very good.
The amount of money you can earn for scaffolding in the UK varies from job to job and will be effected by a number of factors.
Jobs based in London almost always pay more than those based in other parts of the UK. This is due to the the associated costs of living in London, as well as the fact that many larger (and richer) companies are based in London.
Other factors which will effect your pay packet include:
- The size of the organisation you work for.
- The amount of responsibility you have in your role.
- The amount of previous experience you possess.
UK experience will increase your ability to earn premium rates.
(Source: Work Gateways)