Keep building skills: college - where could it take you?
Why go to college?
Colleges and training providers can prepare you for a specific career path or higher-level qualifications. Through further education (FE), you can build technical, vocational or academic skills in a wide variety of subjects. You are likely to have several colleges or training providers within your local area.
Many colleges and training providers offer courses which are directly linked to construction and the built environment, such as bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, civil engineering, heritage skills and technician trades, along with supervision and management courses. They are also likely to offer courses which could help you move into other areas of the sector such as administration, accountancy, law, computer-aided design (CAD) and IT. Colleges and training providers may also offer A Levels and Access courses as a stepping stone to university.
Whatever your career goal, there's likely to be a college course that will help you get there.
For training in more specific aspects of construction and the built environment, you may need to attend a specialist training provider, potentially further afield.
Who is college for?
Further education is for anyone who has left school. You can go to college to continue studying straight after finishing your GCSEs, or at a later stage in life to pursue new interests or improve your career prospects.
What's included in a course?
College courses vary in length, from weeks to years, depending on the qualification and whether you choose to study full-time or part-time.
There's a lot of choice on offer. You might want to study in person or online via distance learning, or choose a hands-on subject rather than focusing purely on academic, classroom-based learning. Your provider will talk to you about the options you have regarding different types of study.
Whether you're just starting out, or you're looking to change your career, college courses can provide a starting point. All colleges and training providers will have support teams who can give you advice and guidance on the courses which are available to you and best suit your personal circumstances.
What happens after my course?
When you've finished a college or training course, you could continue studying for higher-level qualifications or look for a job.
Construction firms advertise vacancies on their own websites and on online job boards such as Indeed and Totaljobs.
If you haven't already gained work experience, it's a good idea to do so before applying for a job in construction, as many employers see this as essential.
For more information about college and training courses in Wales, visit the Careers Wales website.
How much does college cost?
This will vary from nothing at all up to several thousand pounds depending on your own individual circumstances. The cost of any course provided by a college or training provider will depend on your age, level of existing qualifications and a wide variety of other factors which will all be taken into account. As the funding for courses and training is sometimes complex, you should always speak to the support teams within the college to seek guidance.
If your employer is putting you forward for training, they may cover course costs on your behalf.
How do I choose a college course?
Colleges and training providers offer open events where you can go and talk to members of staff, and sometimes other learners, to find out about the courses they teach. Most colleges and training providers have websites you can use to gather information on the courses they offer.
If you are unsure about which course to take, look at the jobs pages to see what qualifications you might need to get you that job.
If you have several colleges and training providers in your local area it's a good idea to visit more than one before you make a decision.
If your employer is putting you forward for training, it's likely that they'll choose where you attend.
If there are no courses offered locally, and your training doesn't need to be hands-on, you could see if it's offered online.
What are the benefits for employers?
By developing your skills and gaining specific industry recognised qualifications, you make yourself more employable in the construction and built environment sector.
Employers value people who have demonstrated their ability to work hard and have taken the time to learn trade skills or gain knowledge that will help them excel in the workplace.
If you've been in a job for a while and are looking to progress your career, your employer may offer to support you to continue training through a local college to expand your skills and bring new expertise to the team.
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