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Construction Operative

If you enjoy practical work and want a job outdoors, then working on a construction site could be for you. You will need a good level of fitness and have a basic knowledge of building methods and materials. You may also need a good head for heights.

What would I do?

  • Preparing the construction site

  • Setting up site cabins, unloading, storing building materials and setting up scaffolding

  • Groundworking – marking out and digging shallow trenches for foundations and drains

  • Formworking – putting up or dismantling shuttering to hold concrete in place

  • Steel fixing – bending and fixing bars for reinforced concrete structures

  • Concreting – laying and smoothing concrete for foundations, beams and floors

  • Road working – concreting, laying kerbs, paving and re-surfacing

Projects you may work on could include bridges,
tunnels, roadworks, commercial and industrial units, multistorey housing

Possible duties:

  • ​Good head for heights

  • Excellent practical skills for using tools

  • A good level of fitness

  • Good team working skills

  • Understand health and safety issues

  • Ability to follow written and spoken instructions

Skills needed

You would usually work around 40 hours per week and sometimes weekend overtime will be necessary to meet deadlines. Your work would be outdoors and sometimes at heights and the job can be physically demanding. Your employer would provide you with personal safety training and protective clothing and equipment.

What to expect


  • Starting salaries can be around £18,000 per year
    Experienced operatives can earn up to £24,000 a year
    Operatives with supervisory responsibilities could earn up to £30,000 a year

Possible routes

  • GCSEs in Maths, English and Science

  • Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering, or site experience may also be considered

  • Apprenticeships are available.

  • CSCS card (proof of your skills and ability to carry out the job safely) is also needed​



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