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Carving out a career in construction

Over the last couple of decades, the fundamentals of carving out a career in construction have changed significantly. Now there are prospects galore for youngster starting as building tradesmen, whereas 20 years ago it was accepted that you would be a hands-on builder for the rest of your career. A clear path to construction management is a serious proposition for any one starting out in the industry, provided the candidate makes the right choices and is happy to put in the work required!

Get a degree

These days a degree in a construction relevant area is paramount to employment. However, in a world that appears to value experience over education, how does a youngster get started in construction?

According to The Guardian, graduates who chose to do a 4 year ‘sandwich degree’, a degree which includes 1 year’s worth of work experience amidst 3 years of study, are twice as likely to get work in the construction industry than those who choose a more standard 3 year degree. This tells you a lot about the state of the industry in terms of preferential candidate attributes.

This begs the question, how do you break into the construction industry in the first place?

These days, those who do well in construction often have come from a degree based education. With funding more readily available, and the sheer wealth of courses offered by universities up and down the country, you stand the best chance at scoring your first major construction job if you are a graduate of a relevant degree, be it construction management, quantity surveying, or facilities management – basically, anything that has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building, and other such governing bodies.

Slow down

Most people have a natural tendency to speak too quickly over the phone, and the person on the other end is inhibited by not being able to read your expressions or body language in order to keep up with you. Slowly your speech down can improve how you convey your ideas over the phone, allowing your statements and ideas to resonate more with your potential employer, instead of flooding them with too many ideas.

‘Good with figures’

These days, the construction industry rewards people who are good with figures with more prospects, greater earning capability, and faster career progression throughout their working lives.

The construction industry is far more competitive than it was 20 years ago. Construction companies are now looking for more money-focussed individuals who can help predict and manage budgets. Therefore, those who have chosen to go into ‘Quantity Surveying’ will have the most options available to them.

The good news is that, there are plenty of routes into this area for you to explore, including diplomas, degrees, and graduate schemes.

Getting ahead of your competition

With construction company rivalry being as competitive as it ever has been, so are places for jobs. Thousands of more 18-21 years olds are now pursuing careers via degrees each year, making a degree more of a must when it comes to carving a career in construction. But once you have graduated, how do you go about getting ahead of your competition when it comes to getting your first job?

Each year, tens of thousands of students make the mistake of leaving applying to jobs far too late. Particularly when it comes to the construction industry, getting a job can be a lengthier process these days, with more legislation to adhere to from an employer’s point of view, and more background checks that takes place. Employers have to interview more and more candidates for each role due to the sheer increase in graduates.

To counter this, you should be more proactive about applying for jobs whilst you are still studying. Far too many students think of applying for jobs as an afterthought, thinking that they will be handed a job once they’ve graduated. This really isn’t the case. Get ahead of you competition by applying for jobs up to a year before your graduate – particularly focussing on this during the last 6 months of your degree.

McGinley CEP Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 7216155. Registered office: 56 Clarendon Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 1DB.

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