Your Ultimate Guide to a Career in Trades

A hands-on approach to learning essential skills in fields such as carpentry, plumbing, masonry, electrical, and more.

Construction trades professionals play a crucial role in bringing architectural designs to life, from residential homes to commercial structures and infrastructure projects. They work collaboratively with architects, engineers, and project managers to ensure that construction projects are completed safely, efficiently, and according to specifications.

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Trades Apprenticeships

The basics

One of the most appealing aspects of a career in the construction trades is the opportunity for hands-on learning and skill development. Many professionals enter the field through apprenticeship programs, where they receive practical training under the guidance of experienced mentors. These programs combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training, allowing apprentices to gain valuable knowledge and experience while earning a wage.

As they progress in their careers, construction trades workers have the chance to specialise in specific areas and pursue certification or licensure in their chosen trade. This specialization can lead to higher earning potential and greater job opportunities.

Additionally, the construction industry offers a high level of job security and stability. With ongoing demand for new construction and infrastructure projects, skilled tradespeople are consistently in demand. Whether working for a construction company, as a contractor, or as a self-employed tradesperson, individuals in the construction trades can enjoy a steady stream of work and opportunities for advancement.

Types of Trade Apprenticeships

Carpentry Apprenticeships

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen responsible for constructing, installing, and repairing structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. Carpenters work in various sectors of the construction industry, including residential, commercial, and industrial projects. Apprenticeships in carpentry typically involve learning to read blueprints, use hand and power tools, frame structures, install doors and windows, and work with a variety of wood materials.

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Electrical Apprenticeships

Electrical apprenticeships focus on training individuals to become electricians who install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in buildings and other structures. Electrical apprentices learn about electrical theory, wiring techniques, circuitry, safety protocols, and building codes. They gain hands-on experience working with lighting, wiring, outlets, switches, and other electrical components under the supervision of experienced electricians.

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Plumbing Apprenticeships

Plumbing apprenticeships prepare individuals for careers as plumbers who install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Apprentices learn about pipefitting, drainage systems, water supply systems, fixture installation, and plumbing codes and regulations. They receive practical training in using tools and equipment such as pipe wrenches, soldering torches, and drain snakes.

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Bricklaying Apprenticeships

Masonry apprenticeships teach individuals the skills needed to work with bricks, stones, concrete blocks, and other masonry materials to construct walls, buildings, and other structures. Apprentices learn about mortar mixing, bricklaying techniques, stone cutting, and masonry design principles. They gain practical experience working on projects such as sidewalks, retaining walls, chimneys, and decorative features.

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Entry requirements?

Each apprenticeship may have its own slightly different entry requirements, but there are some hard and fast rules:

  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • You cannot be in full-time education

GSCE (or equivalent) of A* – C in English and maths may be required for Level 3 apprenticeships and above – although you may be able to study for these qualifications as part of your apprenticeship.