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Laying the foundations for a career in construction

After what has been a difficult five years, the future for the construction industry here is finally looking brighter.

Private housing, infrastructure and industrial work are all expected to help push the sector towards growth and around 1,280 new construction workers will be needed yearly over the next five years in Northern Ireland. Construction is crucial to the success of our economic revival and young people must not be discouraged from entering the industry at this time. It is therefore very important for skills to be developed over the next few years in order to prepare for the upturn. Research has indicated that construction is facing an ageing workforce with around one in six workers due to retire within 10 years, so now more than ever there is a need to encourage young people to consider a career in construction.

Construction is a historic industry. It has built our homes, our hospitals, our schools, our roads, our railways, our workplaces, our airports, our greatest cathedrals and historic buildings. These buildings and landmarks that are developed will be here long after they have been constructed allowing us to make our mark on the landscape. It is not hard to be amazed by some of the innovative construction projects that we have seen over the past few years such as the Titanic Signature Building, The Causeway Visitors Centre and the new South West Acute Hospital and the Peace Bridge to name a few.

With the worldwide challenge to reduce carbon emissions, now is a particularly exciting time to start a career in construction. New processes are being introduced to ensure the industry becomes more sustainable, which means skills need to be adapted.

A huge variety of construction careers are available to choose from, ranging from trades such as bricklaying and joinery to professional occupations including architecture and civil engineering. The majority of trades within the industry require a minimum NVQ Level 2 or above and professional occupations normally require at least a degree level qualification or equivalent.

WHAT'S NEXT?

There are various methods of entry to gaining employment within the construction industry. You can enrol onto an apprenticeship programme which could provide access through a craft trade such as bricklaying or alternatively you may want to continue with your education and enter the industry through the academic route for professional occupations such as architecture. Whatever method of entry you decide upon there are always career opportunities available and great potential prospects to diversify within the industry.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT

You don't just get a job in construction, you get a career. There are opportunities to develop your managerial skills, start your own business, work internationally or become a master craftsman. There are good prospects for career enhancement and there is good earning potential.

Despite the economic downturn, recovery is on the horizon and construction could be the career option for you.

For an insight into the huge range of careers the construction industry has to offer and to give you an idea of what each job is like and what skills you'll need to succeed, log on to www.citbcsni.org.uk/careers

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