Are you looking for a career that allows you to work in a variety of places, with interesting clients? You may want to consider working as a scaffolder. It’s a unique job, but one that is very much in demand. As long as there is construction, there will be scaffolding.
This is a career that is fairly simple to start out in and tends to pay well, even at the lower tiers. Since you can get into it without any formal schooling testing or special studies, this is a great trade to begin with. It’s also a decent paying job and something that will continue to pay, as it is very specialized.
How to Get Started Offering Scaffolding Services
It’s possible to start your training as soon as you get out of school. There are no qualifications to start your training, but you should register with CISRS (Construction Industry Scaffolds Record Scheme) and get a card. This will ensure you understand the necessary skills, safety precautions, and health aspects of this particular career.
Training generally takes place on the job and you’ll be learning while you work, through an apprenticeship. While it is possible to take courses for scaffolding, you might as well be paid. An apprenticeship allows you to make money right from the start, as you learn. It may not be a high salary, but you’ll still earn to build the skills you need to move up.
You can begin once you complete your regular schooling and build right into a trade career.
Apply for Apprenticeship with Scaffolding Companies
Interested in finding your own apprenticeship program? Take a look at some of the websites for the companies you’re interested in working with. They should be fairly local, since you’ll get tired of commuting otherwise.
You can choose to apply to apprentice with a company or with an individual. There are plenty of either option out there, but not everyone is open to an apprentice.
Start by making a list of people or companies you’d like to work with. Once you have the list, you can begin contacting them, starting with the highest priority first. Ask them if they are open to taking on an apprentice and present any experience you have in the area. This can get your foot in the door and then you can look at interviewing with them.
Once you’ve landed an internship, work hard and impress your new bosses. You’ll learn a lot just by being an apprentice, but that doesn’t mean you should give up learning on your own, either.
Moving Up the Scaffolding Ladder
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of vertical movement in this career, but you can certainly move up. Some of the more advanced positions include construction manager, gang supervisor, and even scaffolding designer. Any of these will pay you better than just starting out as an apprentice, but the ultimate step is to own your very own business.
If this is something that interests you, keep in mind that you need to have the experience first. It is possible to learn as you go, but in this case, an apprenticeship first is your best option for making a go of your business.
- Write a business plan. This will help you determine the direction you want to go. You should plan out your first year, as well as write down your goals for the first five and ten years.
- Determine what you need. Since this is a scaffolding company, you should probably figure out which scaffoldings are most popular and how many pieces you’ll need. You will also need to figure in the employees if you have others working with you.
- Get funding. You may need to borrow from the bank or take out a loan from a friend or family member. Or you may have savings or another option for funding. Whatever the choice, you’ll need money to get started.
- Publicize. Once you have the business off the ground, you just need to keep promoting it. Blogs, podcasts, press releases and ads can help build your business.
- Rock it. Now you have a functional business and can start to really work. If you have chosen a good niche and are focused on publicizing your company, then continue to build it. Scaffolding is a big industry and even with competition, you stand to do very well.
Running a business, particularly a successful one, can be stressful, so be careful. Don’t stress yourself out too much and delegate as much as possible to ensure your business can continue growing.
What Skills You’ll Need
Certain skills will help you become a better scaffolder and should be honed whenever possible.
Good with heights: You have to be able to handle being up high in order to build a scaffolding. If you get vertigo or are afraid of heights, you won’t be able to climb up easily.
Teamwork: Can you work well in a team? There are usually three people on each scaffolding team. You’ll need to work together and get along reasonably well in order for this to work. Are you able to handle discussing things with teammates and accepting that you may be wrong from time to time?
Safety Understanding: Scaffolding can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. For this reason, understanding the safety of the scaffolding is essential. This isn’t exactly a skill since you can learn it and you are able to study for it, but it is helpful to know how to stay safe.
Fast reactions: In the world of construction, there are constantly new things popping up and you have to be able to address them rapidly. There’s a lot of changes to be made and as a scaffolder you’ll need the ability to change and to react quickly, as needed.
Transport skills: You may be required to drive lorries and move around the various goods and scaffolding supplies. Again, this is a learned skill and one you can study for. Once you have your license to drive a lorry, you are ready to really start helping out. If you can drive, you’ll find that your job possibilities are wide open.
Where Will You Work?
The possibilities are endless. You will have the ability to work on a wide variety of construction sites.
Oil companies, gas, power and other types of companies often use scaffoldings, so you may be able to start working for one of these. Sometimes you’ll be needed to help build and oil rig, which is more exciting than the average construction company. You’ll be working over the water if you opt for the oil rig and that can really be a unique experience.
Start looking for construction contractors and scaffolding firms. If you’re already trained, it will be that much easier. Keep in mind that any additional skills you’ve picked up or trained in, could help you land the job or even boost you pay. It’s worth adding new skills to your CV, either by doing practical tasks on your own and learning something new or by going to school and taking a short course on the interest you have. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with improving your skills.
Teams of Three
Most scaffolders form a small team, so you will almost always be working with two other people. The reason for this is ease of work and safety. When you have three people doing something, they’ll notice if one of the other makes a mistake and can fix it early on. You’ll also have extra hands to ensure you can get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The team leader will place the foundation boards while the fixer and labourer will place the scaffolding. You’ll need to get along with the other members of the team and work with them to get the scaffolding in place and check it.
Are you looking for a way to start out in scaffolding as a career? Before you go too far, you need to determine if it’s the right fit for you. A good way to find out is to work with a scaffolding company for a day or two. You’ll quickly see if it’s something you can see yourself doing for a while.
You should always get a good idea of what to expect when you are trying to start a new career, so pay close attention to how things work. You can learn a lot just by observing.
To learn more about scaffolding, contact DH Scaffold Services today and find out how we can help you.