Working as a contractor in the construction sector can be a rewarding career. There are significant skills shortages in the UK in this sector which means for skilled, conscientious workers there are lots of opportunities. Often there is a choice of work available, ideal for those who like to select the assignments they work on and gain new experiences. There are also opportunities to travel for those who wish to pursue them.
Good planning and organisational skills
Contracting in the construction industry can be varied and workers in the industry often need to be project managers too. Being able to plan and having good organisational skills are definitely an advantage.
Project deadlines move, plans change, weather conditions have an impact, all of these factors and others mean that it is important to be flexible and adaptable. Contractors who are adaptable will always be sought after for new assignments.
Construction contractors need to be able to communicate with other workers on-site, supervisors, the end client and suppliers. Having good communication skills is vital to getting things done on-site and negotiating and securing new contracts.
Physical strength and stamina
Working in construction can be physically challenging and requires a certain level of strength and stamina. The hours can be long and depending on the specific job there could be lots of lifting, bending, climbing etc as well as operating power tools.
Good numeracy skills
From calculating angles to working out quantities of materials required, costing jobs and estimating time scales for projects. People often don’t associate building and construction careers with maths skills but they are actually really important and are used on a daily basis.
A willingness to learn and embrace new technology and techniques
Technology moves on and being able to embrace changes and advances is important. This might mean training to acquire the latest licence for operating equipment or staying up-to-date with new engineering processes and techniques.
Problem solving is a valuable skill in almost any type of work but in construction it is crucial and most days there will be issues which arise which require lateral thinking and a calm approach to solving them.
Attention to detail
Having an eye for detail is really important. Accuracy and precision are required in any construction job, good vision and spatial awareness help too.
Health & safety skills
Having a good understanding of health and safety is absolutely essential in this industry. Safety standards in the construction sector have improved dramatically but there is still room for further improvement. Staying up-to-date with legislation in this area is crucial to the safety of the individual contractor, those working around them and in many cases the general public too.
The skills to work independently and as part of a team
As a contractor, there will be times when you need to work alone. Estimating, negotiating contracts, managing your workload and planning might be times when you work independently but having the skills and willingness to work as part of a team are key to productivity on-site.