Hands-on Skills Hands-on Skills


Scaffolders put up and take down scaffolding. This allows other workers to reach the higher levels of buildings during construction, cleaning and renovation projects.

If you've got a head for heights, are physically fit and would like a practical job in construction, this could be ideal for you.

In this job you would need to be able to follow instructions carefully, work well in a team and understand the importance of safe working practice.

You would usually start out as a scaffolding labourer or trainee and gain qualifications on the job. You may also be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme.​

What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

Key Responsibilities

Works mainly outdoors in all weather conditions
Loads and unloads equipment at depot and site
Setting base plates on the ground at regular intervals (these stop the upright poles slipping)
Putting up the scaffolding poles (standards) and attaching the horizontal tubes (ledgers) to them with couples
Fixing the scaffolding to the building or structure to make it more stable, using short 'tie tubes'
Creates safe areas for workers to walk across using scaffolding plankslaying planks (battens)
Fixing guard rails and safety netting
Taking down the scaffolding after a job is finished

When you start work as a labourer or trainee scaffolder, you will be put through the New Entrant Trainee and Scaffolding Labourer course (also known as COTS). This lasts one day and teaches you the basic skills required to work safely on site. You will also need to complete and pass the CITB health, safety and environment test.

Completion of the course and assessment will allow you to apply for your Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) card. The card shows employers that you are competent to carry out scaffolding duties appropriate to your level of training and experience. You would apply for the labourer or trainee scaffolder card.

Entry Requirements

Often start as a trainee at a company depot learning about the equipment
Apprenticeships and training offered through employer
NVQ level 2 in accessing operations and rigging

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

Ability to follow instructions
Good practical skills
Head for heights and sense of balance
Good hand-to-eye co-ordination
A good level of fitness
Understanding of health and safety

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

Salary & Progression

Trainee salary: £14,000 a year.
Qualified scaffolder: £17,000- £27,000 a year
Experienced scaffolder/supervisor: £30,000+ a year
Self-employed scaffolders can set their own rates
Hands-on Skills Hands-on Skills
Case Study


Dafydd completed a work placement for Parry John and Hughes Ltd as part of the SYMF Project. He said: "Its the best job i have ever had, being interesting, keeping me busy and giving me time to spend with my daughter. I recently completed my SYMF work placement and used the experience i gained to get a job." 

Dafydd found gaining work easier after SYMF because of the support and experience the project offered him.

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