A skilled trade can offer a good salary, long term employment prospects, rewarding work and lots of opportunities for travel. Lots of trade careers don’t require a degree and offer entry routes that are accessible for school leavers or anyone looking to change their line of work! So, here are just a few examples of great careers in the construction and the trade industry that don’t require a degree…
1. Joiner or carpenter
Woodworking as a career is an area enjoying a boom in demand. Home renovation, building new houses, the restoration of heritage buildings and fit-outs for commercial premises are just some of the locations a joiner and a carpenter will work in. Roles are often varied. You could be creating everything from large beams and floor joists to intricate detailing, working with tools ranging from commercial wood cutting bandsaws to small hand chisels.
To become a joiner or carpenter, the typical entry route is via an apprenticeship. Progression usually follows completion of a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery with promotion and salary increases linked to time served and specialist skills. According to the National Careers Service, starting salaries for carpenters and joiners typically average £17,000 for entry-level positions, rising to £38,000 for experienced people in the trade.
2. Construction manager
Construction managers oversee building projects ensuring they are completed within budget, safely and on time. Working with architects and engineers on residential, commercial, industrial and government projects, the role of a construction manager is challenging, complex and requires a number of skills.
The construction manager will be responsible for hiring and supervising teams of workers in different trades so good leadership traits are essential. Analytical and problem-solving skills are needed while ensuring the building meets building codes and regulations. Those working in construction management have often worked their way up from a supervisory or team leader position and the average salary in the UK for site managers is above £50,000!
Electricians install, inspect and maintain all manner of electrical systems in many different environments. An electrician will also plan the layout of electrical wiring, equipment and fittings. A business job as an electrician often involves working with people so good customer service skills are needed. Troubleshooting, interpreting plans and complying with regulations are also key elements of the role.
To qualify as an electrician, new entrants will usually complete an apprenticeship alongside a registered electrician that takes around three years. This will also include gaining NVQ certificates. There has been a reported shortage of electricians in the UK for some time and earnings can be good, starting at £18,000 and growing to over £40,000.
Careers in plumbing don’t just deal with water supplies, they also install and maintain gas lines and systems. A typical working day for a plumber might include planning and laying water pipes, solving problems with drainage systems and fitting or fixing appliances such as bathtubs, sinks, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines.
There are several routes to becoming a plumber. This includes a plumbing apprenticeship, vocational training, and working as a plumber’s assistant while gaining qualifications. Someone starting out as a plumber might earn £15,000 per year but once qualified earnings rise quickly to a UK average of £40,000. There are some plumbers with a great reputation working in areas with few competitors who can earn considerably more.