Construction labourer

Alternative titles for this job include Construction operative, groundworker

Construction labourers prepare building and civil engineering sites and carry out manual jobs once work starts.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£29,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends away from home

How to become a construction labourer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could start by taking a college course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information


You can do a groundworker or construction operations intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. There are no set requirements, though it will be helpful if you've got on-site experience.

More information


Further information

You can find out more about working in construction from Go Construct and House Building Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a good level of fitness

To work with plant machinery like excavators or dumper trucks, you'll need to be 18 or over and have a driving licence.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • groundworking - marking out and digging trenches for foundations and drains
  • formworking - putting up panels that hold setting concrete in place
  • steel fixing - bending and fixing bars used to reinforce concrete structures
  • steel piling - joining steel sheets to form temporary retaining walls for excavations
  • concreting - laying concrete for foundations, floors and beams
  • road working - laying kerbs, paving and resurfacing

You'll also help tradespeople on site, like bricklayers, by keeping them supplied with materials and mortar.

Working environment

You could work on a construction site.

Your working environment may be at height, outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

You could train on the job to become a qualified tradesperson or with experience, become a site supervisor, estimator or construction manager.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Painting and Decorating Apprentice

  • Wage : £175.00 Weekly
  • Location: Hove BN3 2WJ

Plant Maintenance Apprenticeship - Newport Rail

  • Wage : £10,500.00 Annually
  • Location: NP19 4SL

Courses In England

NVQ Diploma in Construction Operations and Civil Engineering GQA

  • Start date: 16 September 2019
  • Location:

C&G 6219-04 Award in Construction Skills L1 (Adult Grp 1)

  • Provider: Tyne Coast College T/A South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College
  • Start date: 16 September 2019
  • Location: Benton

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