Is there a “right fit” for the construction industry?

Getting Started


Introduction to construction
Construction in the UK
Myth busting in the construction industry
Why is construction a good choice?
Roles in construction
So, how do you get started?
Interested in reading more?

Introduction to construction

The construction industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

An infographic outlining the predictive growth of the construction industry

There are many exciting job opportunities available in construction for young people across the UK.

But the construction industry suffers from a bit of stigma.

When many people think about construction, they picture a traditional industry dominated by men that doesn’t offer opportunities for women or graduates. This simply isn’t the case. There are so many rewarding opportunities in construction for all people from all backgrounds.

If you’re curious about a career in construction or are interested in a job that focuses on sustainable development, you’re in the right place. The UK government’s Task Force aims to create 2 million green jobs by 2030, with energy-efficient infrastructure being a significant driving force.

This resource will provide you with:

  • An overview of the construction industry in the UK
  • The career opportunities available in the construction industry
  • The common misconceptions surrounding the industry
  • How to access careers in construction

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide on the type of roles available in the construction space check out our Explore guide Construction Careers.

Construction in the UK

Construction is incredibly important for the UK economy.

It contributes approximately 7% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and employs more than 3 million people.

Construction projects can typically be broken down into four categories:

  • Commercial: The development of projects like offices, retail stores, hotels and restaurants.
  • Residential: Developing houses, flats, and apartments.
  • Social: The construction of buildings for use by the community. This might include schools, hospitals, leisure centres or other community building.
  • Infrastructure: The development of roads, bridges, sewage systems and other projects that are essential for our everyday lives.

From bricklayers to building managers, carpenters to contract administrators, there are hundreds of skilled trade and professional roles available in the UK construction industry.

And if you’re committed to making a difference to the environment with your career, a role in construction might be a good choice for you. In line with Government initiatives, (including the Task Force previously mentioned) all new residential, commercial and social construction projects need to meet rigorous energy efficiency and sustainability criteria.

Myth busting in the construction industry

Some people are afraid of pursuing a career in construction because of outdated stereotypes and incorrect beliefs about the industry. Here’s a look at some of the most common construction myths:

Myth: “It’s old fashioned and traditional”

The construction industry is an exciting and dynamic sector that is constantly evolving and innovating.

The majority of modern construction projects use the latest technology such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). This produces virtual digital models of buildings before they are developed.  

The pursuit of energy efficient, sustainable building projects has also led to a lot of innovation and disruption in the industry. Smart materials such as self-healing concrete, the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, and the use of drone technology are becoming commonplace in modern building projects.

Construction really is an exciting industry to be working in at the current time.

Myth: “It’s not suitable for women”

There’s no getting away from the fact that the construction industry has traditionally been male dominated.

But the contributions of women are vital to the ongoing success of the construction industry.

With recent focus on diversity and inclusion in the sector, it’s now estimated that over 300,000 women work in construction across the UK.

Many leading construction businesses are putting equality and diversity at the heart of the industry.

If you’re looking for construction opportunities with companies that value diversity, consider choosing a business that follows FIR (Fairness, Inclusion and Respect) or the BITC (Business in the Community) Gender guidelines.

Myth: “It has a negative effect on the environment and communities”

Historically, the construction industry had a negative impact on the environment.

But recent changes in Government legislation and the standards of regulatory bodies means that things are changing for the better.

Many modern construction companies have a focus on the environmental, societal and sustainability benefits of their projects.

Green spaces such as parks and playgrounds are also being incorporated in many new housing developments.

Modern construction careers can give you the opportunity to work on projects that positively impact the lives of others.

Myth: “It’s not for people that have good grades or a degree”

There are careers available in the construction industry for people from all educational backgrounds.

Apprenticeships and on-the-job training may be common in roles for skilled tradespeople.

But there are also plenty of opportunities for graduates in planning, engineering, and project management.

Why is construction a good choice?

The UK construction industry is one of the most exciting and rewarding sectors to work in at the current time. There are many reasons why construction is a good choice for a career opportunity (and we have highlighted a fair few throughout this resource), see below for some key reasons that might make you consider a future role in the space:

Green construction is important for the environment and reducing our carbon emissions

The majority of modern construction projects have a focus on green initiatives, energy efficiency and the environment.

A lot of major building companies work towards BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification. BREEAM helps establish best practice and standards for sustainable construction.

BREEAM logo connected to the construction industry

By getting involved in the construction industry and working on sustainable projects, you can be part of creating a better tomorrow.

There are plenty of job opportunities in construction

The UK construction industry currently has a skills shortage. It’s estimated that three quarters of building firms reported challenges in recruiting skilled workers for their construction projects in the third quarter of 2022. The main reason for the shortage in skills is an aging workforce.

It is becoming more difficult to recruit young workers to fill construction vacancies as people reach retirement age. This is exciting news for anyone thinking of entering the construction industry. If you choose construction as your career, you won’t be short of rewarding job opportunities.

Working in construction can help deliver a real sense of accomplishment

A lot of people in the construction industry feel a sense of accomplishment from building projects that last and being involved in projects that are used and enjoyed by others.

You can enjoy the pride and satisfaction of building homes, workplaces, and community buildings that make a real difference in people’s lives when you work in construction.

Construction is a great industry for people who enjoy teamwork

Almost every construction project has a wide variety of people working on it. This might include architects, engineers, project managers, skilled tradespeople and surveyors. For projects to run smoothly, it’s important that various teams are able to work together collaboratively and communicate clearly. This makes construction a great industry for people that enjoy teamwork.

Roles in construction

There are hundreds of different roles in construction. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list, visit Go Construct where there are over 180 different construction job roles listed, or check out our Construction Careers Guide.

Every construction project is unique. But in this section, we’ll run through the typical process of a large-scale construction project, and the roles that are most common at each stage.

Planning and Design

The planning and design stage is where all construction projects begin.

A Land and Property Valuer is important at the very beginning of a project. They make sure that construction companies purchase land at a rate that is going to be profitable for their project, or that any renovation projects are purchased at the right price.

Once land has been valued, projects might typically pass over to a Land Buyer. They will purchase land for a construction project and make sure that the construction company is aware of any planning permission that might be needed, and any potential restrictions.

Once a project looks like it could be viable, one of the first roles that is often assigned is a Project Manager. They will be responsible for overseeing the construction project, delegating tasks, and making sure that everything is kept on schedule.

Architects are typically responsible for designing buildings and construction projects. But in the modern world, they rarely work alone – it’s important that they collaborate with others.

One of the main people that an architect will need to collaborate closely with is a BIM Manager (Building Information Modelling Manager). They will be responsible for creating digital models and visualisations of the project.

It’s also likely that architects will work closely with Environmental Advisors who ensure that any project will align with all environmental and sustainability regulations. Environmental Engineers will make sure that projects will have minimal waste and pollution.

A selection of logos from companies in the construction industry


Once a project has passed through the planning stage, it will typically move into procurement. There are plenty of exciting roles within this stage of a construction project.

For smaller projects, an Estimator will typically be used for estimating the cost of the construction project. They will look at personnel costs, equipment costs and material costs.

For larger scale projects this role might fall to a Quantity Surveyor who will help manage and control costs to ensure the project runs to budget.

A Procurement Manager will typically be responsible for finding the right contractors, materials suppliers and equipment suppliers. They might often be supported by an Administrator who can help arrange supplier contracts.


Once a project passes through to construction stage, one of the first roles to be assigned is the Site Manager.

They will be responsible for working with the Project Manager and others from the planning stage to make sure the project is running on schedule and to budget. They will also be responsible for managing the teams of construction works.

It’s likely that the Site Manager will work closely with a Site Inspector who will ensure that all Health and Safety Guidelines are adhered to on-site.

This stage of construction is where a range of skilled tradespeople are also likely to become involved, including:

It’s important to make sure that any new building project meets all regulations.

Building Control Surveyors are likely to carry out inspections during the development process.

Building Inspectors are often needed to provide sign off on the project and confirm that all projects meet relevant building regulations.

So, how do you get started?

There are so many different roles in the construction industry, which can make it hard to know where to start.

If you’re looking for a career change or just starting out, there are typically four ways to get into the construction industry.


Apprenticeships are a great option if you want to become qualified in a specific trade while earning a salary.

There are levels 2 to 7 available across a range of sectors, where training lasts a minimum of 12 months in length (they can last up to 6 years). At the end of an apprenticeship, there is an End-point Assessment period where the apprentice sits assessments. For more information on what’s available, there is a great directory of current apprenticeships on the website.


Traineeships are available for people aged between 16 and 24 that are unemployed and don’t have extensive work experience.

They are designed to help introduce young people to the world of work, and help you benefit from valuable work experience. Traineeships differ from apprenticeships as you do not receive a salary. They are also shorter than apprenticeships, lasting anywhere between two weeks and 6 months.

The website also has a directory of traineeships available in your local area.


This is a new type of qualification that is equivalent to three A Levels. They are available to school leavers aged between 16-18.

T-Levels aim to improve your employability by combining classroom-based learning with real-world industry experience.

You can find a list of available T-Level courses in your local area on the official website.

Further and Higher Education

You may need a degree (or other higher-level qualifications) to be considered for certain roles within construction.

Degrees are most likely to be relevant if you’re looking at roles in architecture, management, planning or engineering.

If you have a specific construction career path in mind, it’s worth speaking to your careers advisor. They can help discuss your subject choices to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of securing the future role that you want.

If you found this resource useful or if there is anything you would like us to cover in the future then let us know – we would love to hear from you!  [email protected]