Become a Skilled Formworker

Formworkers are essential in the construction industry, specialising in building and dismantling formwork systems that hold wet concrete in place until it hardens into structural elements like walls, floors, and columns. This role requires a combination of carpentry skills and an understanding of construction principles to create moulds that shape concrete structures accurately and efficiently. Formworkers must read and interpret construction plans, work with a variety of materials, and ensure the formwork is both strong enough to hold the concrete and can be removed easily once the concrete has set.


What Do Formworkers Do?

  • Plan Interpretation: Read and understand construction blueprints and specifications to determine the dimensions and shapes of the formwork needed.
  • Formwork Assembly: Build and assemble formwork systems using timber, metal, or prefabricated forms, ensuring they are accurately constructed according to plans.
  • Reinforcement Placement: Position reinforcement bars or mesh within the formwork as specified in the construction plans, to reinforce the concrete structure.
  • Concrete Pouring Support: Work closely with concrete workers during the pour to ensure the formwork holds up and the concrete is distributed evenly.
  • Formwork Dismantling: Carefully dismantle formwork after the concrete has cured, minimising damage to the structure and preserving materials for reuse.

Could I Be a Formworker?

This role is well-suited to individuals with a background in carpentry or those who enjoy hands-on construction work. Ideal candidates should have good physical fitness, attention to detail, and the ability to interpret technical drawings and plans. Being comfortable working at heights and in various weather conditions is also important.

What Skills Do I Need?

  • Carpentry Skills

    Proficiency in using hand and power tools to measure, cut, and assemble formwork materials.

  • Physical Fitness

    The stamina to perform physically demanding tasks and work in various conditions.

  • Technical Understanding

    The ability to read and interpret construction plans and specifications.

  • Safety Awareness

    Knowledge of and adherence to safety protocols, particularly for working at heights and handling heavy materials.

Formworker Pay

How Much Could I Earn?

Earnings for formworkers can vary widely depending on experience, location, and the scale of the projects they work on. Entry-level formworkers might start with a salary ranging from £18,000 to £25,000 annually. Experienced and skilled formworkers can expect to earn between £30,000 and £40,000 per year, with potential for higher earnings on specialised or large-scale projects.

How Do I Get Started?

  • CSCS Card

    To work on construction sites, formworkers in the UK need a CSCS card. For skilled workers, the Blue CSCS Skilled Worker card is relevant. This requires passing the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test and having an NVQ or SVQ Level 2 in Formwork Carpenter, or Formwork Erector and Striker.

  • Vocational Training

    Participate in courses or training programs focused on formwork, carpentry, or construction to learn the basics and develop your skills.

  • Apprenticeships

    An apprenticeship in formwork or carpentry offers practical on-the-job training combined with classroom learning, leading to recognised qualifications.

  • Gain Experience

    Start by working under the supervision of experienced formworkers to learn the trade. As you gain experience, take on more complex tasks and projects.

  • Specialise

    Over time, consider specialising in complex formwork systems for large-scale or architectural concrete projects to enhance your skills and marketability.

Career Progression

Beginning as a formworker, there are several avenues for career advancement. With experience, you might progress to supervisory roles, such as foreman or site supervisor, overseeing formwork projects and teams. Further training can lead to roles in construction management, project planning, or formwork design.

Entrepreneurial individuals may start their own formwork contracting business, while those interested in education could move into training roles, sharing their expertise with new entrants to the field.

Continuous professional development, including staying updated on the latest formwork technologies, materials, and safety standards, is key to a successful career as a formworker.