A construction site worker plays a significant role in a building project. They are involved from start to finish and have a broad range of skills that are required across the site. It’s no surprise that their services are in demand because they help in various capacities, from digging holes and mixing concrete to operating machinery and laying drainage pipes. They also mark out the site area and put up safety signs and barriers that direct work flow.
Managing the health and safety risks of the site is a role that falls to the site operatives. In particular, they must carry out the work they are skilled and trained on, or be provided with the necessary supervision to enable them to do it. By following the site rules and procedures, operatives ensure that the rest of the team is aware of what to do, and they cooperate with the contractor to report any risks they identify, whether these affect them or others on the site.
Because of their demand, qualified site operatives are always needed by employers such as Volante Recruitment. Volante, with London-based entrepreneur Adnan Imam serving as Chairman, is a recruitment service that finds qualified workers for various companies in the construction business. It sources for candidates within London, the South East and other metropolitan areas, placing them with companies that need their skills.
Work opportunities abound for construction operatives in the cities and towns across the United Kingdom. The range of employers varies from civil engineering companies to local and national building firms, some of which employ hundreds of workers. Most companies implement a 39-hour work week, while others are agreeable to overtime during weekends and evenings to meet deadlines.
If you sign up for the job, expect to work outdoors and sometimes at heights. Construction work is physically demanding, often involving carrying heavy loads. Individuals who take up this work have to be fit and healthy. Protective clothing such as helmets and safety boots are provided. The operative is expected to have an understanding of health and safety issues, while also being reliable and efficient.
Site operatives also work as part of a team, using different materials and building methods to get the job done. At the beginning of a project, site preparation activities such as unloading construction materials and setting up scaffolding are expected. As the project progresses, expect to work on more tasks.
Over the years, there’s been a concern in the UK over the requirements of site operatives. Since 2005, individuals have been required to have a Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card, operated by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The CRO was available to people who passed an online Health, Safety and Environment test, a process that some questioned.
To allay any doubts over the qualification process, the CSCS has started to consider new ways of approaching the issue. The issuance of CRO cards was halted effective end of March 2017, with any cards issued since October 2015 expiring on 30 September 2017 with no renewal option. In future, site operatives will be required to demonstrate qualification through either formal assessment of experience and skills, or a nationally recognised qualification.
Attaining formal training is an expensive undertaking for anyone, which is why the National Apprentice Scheme has offered training vouchers for approved training programmes. Part of the costs for these vouchers is met by an apprenticeship levy on firms, hoping that the latter will be motivated to train many of the unskilled labourers. While site operatives might want to seek other programmes to learn, they will be required to meet the cost of training and assessment.