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How To Become A Construction Labourer

Posted on Wednesday, 10th August 2022

How To Become A Construction Labourer

If you are looking to start a career in construction, the best entry point is to start as a labourer. Working as a labourer will give you the opportunity to gain experience on a construction site, develop your skillset, and work your way up to more senior positions. But how do you become a labourer, what does the role involve, and what job cards do you need? Let’s take a look...

What’s a site labourer?

Labourer is a term given to workers that are just starting out their career on a construction site. This is an entry-level position, and is where most construction workers get their first opportunity to work in the industry.

While you still need to have certain qualifications to become a site labourer (which we will cover later in the blog) these jobs are much more accessible for those looking to get their first job or make a career change. These positions do not require the same level of knowledge, know-how or experience as other more advanced positions on a construction site.

What does a construction labourer do?

Labourers can be given a wide range of tasks to perform on site, depending on the nature of the business and project they are working on. These roles can include, but are not limited to:

  • Laying foundations
  • Digging trenches
  • Building walls
  • Maintaining records
  • Ordering equipment
  • Using tools and equipment

Because of the practical nature of the role, labourers are expected to have decent levels of fitness and be in good physical shape. This role can be hard but fulfilling work, with plenty of opportunities to advance your career and move onto different disciplines that suit your interests.

image shows construction labourers

What card do you need to be a labourer?

To get on most construction sites in the UK, you will need a valid CSCS card for your role. These cards are the industry-wide standard which prove your suitability to perform your job safely on site. CSCS cards are not a legal requirement, but most businesses will demand their workers have one to ensure safety on their site.

For the role of labourer, you will need a CSCS labourer card, often referred to simply as the CSCS green card. These cards prove to employers, supervisors, and managers, that you have completed the necessary training and have suitable knowledge to perform your job safely.

To find a complete breakdown of the different types of CSCS card available, check out our blog ‘Everything You Need to Know About CSCS Cards’.

How do I get a green labourers CSCS card?

To get a green card you need have completed a couple of different qualifications.

Firstly, you need to have completed the Operatives CITB Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) test. This short, multiple-choice exam tests you on your knowledge of the basic principles of working safely in a building environment. This needs to have been completed within the last two years of you applying for your card.

You also need an additional, more in-depth, qualification that proves your suitability for working on site. These include:

  • image shows the CSCS green labourer cardRQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment
  • SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate
  • NOCN/CSkills Awards Construction Health and Safety (F/618/0738) Unit
  • IOSH Safety, Health and Environment for Construction Workers
  • CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course   (our most popular course - now offered as online learning via Zoom)
  • NPORS Site Safety Awareness Course

You can find a full list of CSCS approved alternative qualifications here.

How quick can I get a CSCS card?

How quickly you will be able to get your CSCS green card will depend on which qualification you decide to undertake.

The CITB Health & Safety Awareness, IOSH and NPORS courses listed above usually take less time to complete, but are only valid for 5 years. This means you will need to complete a refresher course every 5 years. The RQF Level 1 qualification will take longer, but is a lifetime qualification which does not require renewal.

Once you have the qualifications necessary for your card, you will need to apply to CSCS directly. You can use any of the following options:

Once your application is approved, your CSCS card will be posted out to you the next working day and most cards arrive within 3-5 days of application approval. If your card does not arrive within 10 days then please contact CSCS. However, you don’t need to wait for your physical card to start working. The CSCS card checker automatically uploads learner information once application is complete, meaning your employers can check your qualifications without having your physical card.

How much is a CSCS test in the UK?

The cost of your CSCS training and tests will depend on the qualification you are completing in order to acquire your green card. The CITB HS&E test costs £22.50 at the time of writing.

Can I get a CSCS card for free?

Depending on their circumstances and location, it is possible for some workers and employers to access funding for certain qualifications. This will allow them to complete their qualifications without any personal cost to them.

To explore some of the funding options available, head over to the funding section of our website to find any that would be valid for your situation and needs. Alternatively, you can speak directly to our team on 0115 8970 529, or email [email protected]. Our team of experts will be able to recommend a range of options right for you.

Health and Safety Courses Online

We provide the CITB HSA course via video conference training. This method of online learning provides the same level of skills, knowledge, and expertise, but is delivered remotely by our trainers over the video conferencing tool Zoom.

The virtual classroom offers many benefits and is becoming increasingly popular. It has grown exponentially since December 2019 when the Covid-19 outbreak prompted educational establishments to switch to working from home and remote learning. It is easy for participants to join via a link from the comfort of their home or office. Smaller group sizes also mean there is a lot of opportunities to ask questions, and some may feel more comfortable and relaxed to do so in this setting.

We offer a range of other online virtual classroom courses, such as Basic Scaffold Inspection, Temporary Works Coordinator and Supervisor, EUSR National Water Hygiene to name a few!

To see a full list of the courses and NVQs we have available, head over to our online course index. For a full list of upcoming public courses by month and year take a look at our live Training Calendar. You can also find a full list of our e-learning courses online.

Want to find out more?

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