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NCW2024 - Construction and the Built Environment

Today for National Careers Week we are looking at construction and the built environment sector - which incidentally you can explore for yourself, in person, at Home Park this Saturday between 10am and 2pm at the Early Careers Fair.

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to this key growth sector - it currently employs around 9% of Plymouth’s workforce, with over 180 different job roles available! The city is facing its biggest capital spend investment in 25 years which means lots of jobs, apprenticeships and training options for those interested in the chance to design, engineer and build Plymouth. With over 60 member organisations working together to promote careers in this industry, Building Plymouth can help you to find your best way.

For the latest vacancies, click here - Sponsor Job Vacancies ( or for wider opportunities, the latest Building Plymouth mailer is here.

Key roles in this sector include:

  • bricklayer

  • carpenter

  • electrician

  • labourer

  • quantity surveyor.

Key skills for this sector include:

  • teamwork

  • following instructions

  • attention to detail

  • safe working

  • communication.


Looking to train for a career in the construction and built environment sector? Outside of school-based provision, there are several routes of entry – so there is something to suite everyone:


An apprenticeship is paid employment with a structured programme of learning lasting at least 12 months for people aged 16 and over. Apprentices spend the majority of their time in the workplace and an average of at least six hours per week in off-the-job training with a college, university or training provider. Off-the-job training may take place on the same day each week or for one or more weeks at a time, known as block release.

There are over 100 construction-related apprenticeships at four different levels covering qualification levels 2 to 7.

Take a look at our latest Apprenticeship Bulletin here to see the latest live opportunities.

College training

Further education at a college is an alternative to sixth form for students who have completed their GCSEs in Year 11. Learning takes place in both a classroom and a more practical environment and there may be a requirement for and industry placement with an employer.

Each course will have an entry requirement which is likely to include English and maths GCSEs.


T Levels are an alternative to A Levels delivered in a sixth form or at college over two years for 16 to 19 year olds.

Aimed at preparing students for further training and employment, T levels are focussed on vocational and technical skills and include an industry placement with an employer lasting at least 45 days.

On completing a T Level, students will get a nationally recognised qualification equivalent to three A levels with UCAS Tariff points along with practical skills and work experience.


Until they are 18 years old, a young person must:

1. stay in full-time education, for example at a college;

2. start an apprenticeship or traineeship; or

3. spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

A young person in their first construction job, and not on a formal training programme, is likely to start as a labourer. As well as giving young people experience of working in the industry to see if it suits them, this enables employers to identify potential apprentices and trainees. It is essential that an induction, health, safety and other essential training, suitable supervision and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are provided. Within six months to a year, a suitable occupation is usually identified which will determine the qualifications and training required.


Higher Education at a university is for students who have typically completed Further Education and obtained suitable qualifications, such as A Levels, BTECs, HNCs or HNDs.

With the exception of Degree Apprenticeships, courses are usually fulltime with learning taking place in a classroom, although there may be an option or requirement for an industry placement with an employer.

Some construction employers sponsor university students, which may include financial support, industry placements and employment at the end of the course. Each university will determine its entry requirements, which may include particular A Level grades and/or UCAS Tariff points.

If entering employment, their first role in construction is likely to be a graduate or trainee role which will provide further training and/or work experience as required.

To explore specific job roles in the sector, as well as information on salary, work patterns, the different entry routes and what skills you will need, click here to explore free resources via the National Careers Service.

For more localised information on Plymouth’s construction and built environment sector, click here for the Building Plymouth website.


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