There are lots of different ways to become qualified for a job in construction. Some careers have specific entry requirements, but there are plenty of roles where employers will be more flexible about your training and experiences.
From college through to university - whether you choose to study online or in-person, part-time or on a short course - we’ll go over some of the main ways you can get training in the UK, and gain the qualifications you need for a rewarding career in construction.
Your local training college could be a great place to start!
Colleges and training providers usually offer a range of academic, technical and vocational courses to prepare you for specific jobs, whether you’ve just finished school, are looking to change careers or want to gain further experience later in life. These qualifications are often stepping-stones to higher-level qualifications, too.
Many training providers offer industry-recognised construction courses to prepare you for hands-on, vocational trades such as bricklaying, plumbing or electrical maintenance, or they might provide training in project management, engineering, sustainability, design and more.
They’re also likely to offer qualifications in areas such as administration, finance and business studies, which can easily be transferred to the construction and built environment sector.
Colleges generally offer a wide range of qualifications such as A-Levels, T-Levels, BTECs, specialised certificates and diplomas. Some training providers offer higher or degree-level qualifications as well.
For training in more specific aspects of construction and the built environment, you may need to attend a specialist training provider, which might be further afield.
Interested in finding out more about college courses? Find out more here.
Not all construction roles require a degree, but for some career paths, employers will expect you to have completed higher-level qualifications such as a Higher National Certificate (HNC), undergraduate or postgraduate degree. You can pursue these straight out of college or study as a mature student later in life.
University offers a chance to focus on a specific subject and build up expertise in a particular field. You may need a higher or degree-level qualification to work in:
- Construction management
- Architecture or architectural technology
- Engineering (such as civil or structural engineering)
- Landscape architecture
- Town or urban planning
- Ecology or environmental consultation
- Heritage conservation.
University courses often include opportunities for work experience and a chance to study abroad. This will help to increase your employability and, after graduation, you’ll be able to apply for higher-level jobs.
University sound right for you? Discover more benefits to doing a degree.
For some construction training, you don’t even need to leave home! There are an increasing number of courses being offered online, which can help you get a foot in the door or progress an exciting career.
Providers such as The Open University offer professionally accredited, distance-learning certificates, diplomas and degrees in transferable subjects such as business management, engineering, computing, environmental science, marketing and law.
Online construction courses are offered by CITB, CIOB, CPD and many other organisations.
Help with funding for courses
Whilst some construction courses are free, others come with costs of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
College course costs will vary depending on your age, the level of qualifications you already hold and a variety of other factors.
If an employer is putting you forward for specific training, they may cover your course costs. If you need help to cover the cost of training, you should speak to your course provider for guidance and information about financial support.
University courses are renowned for their high fees, but student loans are available to help with tuition and living costs. You’ll be provided with advice on loans when you apply for a course.
In England, undergraduate tuition fees can be up to £9,250* per year (*as of 2020) and postgraduate fees are higher. In Scotland, there are no tuition fees, but you may need a loan to help you pay for accommodation.
- For information on student loans in the UK visit Gov.uk.
- For advice on student loans in Wales visit Student Finance Wales.
- For student loans information if you are based in Scotland visit SAAS.
- If you are based in Northern Ireland, visit Student Finance NI.
Part-time and short courses
Depending on the qualification, college courses may last for weeks or years. You can often choose whether to complete your studies full-time or part-time.
If you’re already working or aren’t able to commit to a full-time training course, you might want to consider a part-time or short course to help you gain new qualifications.
Part-time courses take longer to complete but can be fitted around other commitments more easily than other courses. If there’s a cost involved, this is usually spread out further and paid in smaller instalments, which can help spread the load financially.
Short courses are often run at local colleges or training centres as one-off sessions, or as a short series of classes. These may be evening or weekend classes and will usually cover a specific aspect of a larger topic, such as a particular building technique or a certain type of skill. Alternatively, they might be presented as a taster or introductory series, to give you an idea of whether the subject suits you.
Head to our Careers A-Z to find out the specific qualifications and experience needed for specific job roles.
Interested in other ways of getting into the construction industry? Check out what your options are.