The construction industry offers students plenty of career options, whether you learn a trade or go on to university and then management. From designing new home developments, to building and selling them, Alan Cadenhead, Group HR and Employee Development Manager at new homes builder Miller Homes, discusses the roles available in the housebuilding sector.
As a Land Buyer, you will probably have studied a subject like geography or land surveying and will be responsible for identifying suitable sites for future development opportunities. In this role, you will work within strict budgets to find the best sites for new neighbourhoods. This includes evaluating the initial value of the land and its potential, negotiating with the owners or agents and handling surveys ahead of purchase. Skills needed include an ability to negotiate, good organisational skills and working with internal and external teams.
With demand high for bricklayers, there are many opportunities in the house building industry and you could be working on more than one big development at once. To get started in the role you will need to complete a level 1-to-3 course at college or through an apprenticeship scheme to develop key skills like measuring and mixing mortar, following building plans and using a number of tools. Since you will be working on a construction site, you will also need to have an understanding of health and safety and be able to prove this by getting a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.
Electrician and Electrical Engineer
In housebuilding, electricians are responsible for installing and maintaining any electrical equipment required, including lighting, control systems like fire alarms and plug sockets. After completing an Electrical Installation course, you will either be able to jump straight into an electrician role or continue on to university to become an Electrical Engineer. Unlike electricians, Electrical Engineers will help to create the initial electrical layouts, and will often be involved in designing and testing new systems and products.
If you have a head for numbers, then a role as a Quantity Surveyor could be for you. In the position you will evaluate the costings of a new development and keep an eye on each purchase to ensure everything stays on budget. Alongside this, you will also act as a financial adviser, to make sure the plans are realistic with the available budget. One route to this role is through a Construction and the Built Environment college course and then a Quantity Surveying degree.
Carpentry and joinery
When you complete a general Construction and Built Environment college course, the world of construction is open to you, including joinery and carpentry. In housebuilding, you will help build internal fixtures such as skirting boards, staircases and coving. In a sense, your job will be to transform a house into a home by supplying the finishing touches.
Development Sales Manager
Not all careers in the construction industry involve getting your hands dirty, some roles such as Development Sales Managers, work from the development itself. Development Sales Managers act as the face of a builder, introducing potential buyers to the homes available, and then manage the purchase journey from the initial stages where they register their interest, to the day they receive the keys. While a degree could help you get ahead, experience in a sales or marketing role is the most important factor.
Assistant Site Manager
After a few year’s experience in a trade such as plastering, bricklaying or plumbing, you can climb the ranks to take on more responsibility and work alongside a Site Manager. In the role you will follow the plans set out by the architects and ensure all houses are built on time and to specification. As this is a management role, it is important to have some experience in team leadership and organisation, which you can develop if you look after a team.
The most important thing to remember in construction is that nothing is set in stone. While you may begin your career in bricklaying, there will always be opportunities available to help you progress.
You can also get a bit more detail on the skills needed for certain roles in housebuilding at: https://www.hbf.co.uk/policy/home-building-skills-partnership/skills-and-training-frameworks/
For more information on Miller Homes, including the latest vacancies and apprenticeship opportunities, visit www.millerhomes.co.uk/corporate/careers
Last updated: 23rd May 2019