Construction Courses

There’s a host of construction-related courses and qualifications, from apprenticeships to degrees. It isn’t always clear which is the right course for you to take and what your options will thereafter…

Which Direction

Hi, I am about to start the second year of a HNC in Construction in the built environment, in which direction or job role would you advise me to go for, I am currently having a career change from publishing to construction?

thanks, Tony


It depends if you want to do any further study really? After you do the HNC you could go the professional route via RICS or CIoB.

If you just want to get a job or start a new career from the bottom up it’s going to be tough without any relevant experience. The HNC gives you a good grounding but it doesn’t necessarily qualify you for any specific role. A lot of entry level positions are aimed squarely at school leavers and recent graduates; the construction industry has a lot of problems in this respect and seems determined to keep making them worse I’m afraid.

Off the top of my head, some roles that may interest you and where there may be openings available to you are:

Local Government – ie. planning, estate management, building control, etc. Sometimes you’ll see opportunities at junior/trainee level. Worth checking if your LA has their own jobs portal as not all positions are widely publicised. Same goes for Housing Associations, of which there are many.

Property management – lot’s of estate agents/letting agents are managing portfolios of houses and flats. This can be a way of starting out with a view to gaining experience, if not a career in itself.

Health and safety – an industry in itself. Lot’s of opportunities although you may have to invest a bit more money in doing the NEBOSH certificate first?

Also, what about your colleagues on the course, what jobs do they do and is there anything there that appeals to you? The key really is to find something you think you can make a go of and just get on with it.

There are so many roles the danger is you become too generalised and unemployable – as mentioned before, this industry is a bit backward on the career progression front and likes to pigeon hole people into set roles. So the sooner you decide what your role is going to be the better.

NVQ or Degree?

I have just completed a HNC in construction and the built environment, I have received a conditional offer for a part time construction and engineering management degree, which I will be funding myself which is quite expensive, alternatively I have been looking at site management higher nvq’s from level 4 to level 7 from the ciob.

I could do the nvqs at considerably less cost. But my worry is what would prospective employers look at more favourably NVQ’s or a degree?

Personally I have looked at the module titles covered and the nvq’s look like they are more site specific to a site management which is the direction I am looking to head after running my own building business for 9 years. Any help would be greatly received.


Doing the NVQs is the better option since they are more role specific, enable you to become a member of the CIoB and qualify you for a Black CSCS card. IF you did the degree, you would still need to do the NVQs to get a card and, although this is more or less symbolic, you will find it difficult to get a site management post without one.

If your aim is to start your own business the CIoB membership would also give you access to support and resources not otherwise available.

It would be wise to get as many opinions as you can at this stage though, especially from the University offering the degree, since there are always advantages and disadvantages that are not immediately obvious. For example, you may form a network of contacts while doing the course that prove invaluable at a later stage. Some universities also have links with employers that may also be helpful when it comes to getting your first job?

Wanting to study online

Having had a previous military career and with a number of years experience in construction and property management I find myself needing to study for a HNC in construction. Ideally this needs to be online or visa distance learning. I am based in Scotland if this helps.


There aren’t any online or distance learning courses. You’ll need to contact a college that offers a course locally and you’ll probably need to attend for at least one full day a week.

Th e NVQ level 4 HNC in construction

I am looking for some help I have a NVQ level 3 in joinery/ site supervisor and I am working full time but am looking to better my career by doing the NVQ level 4 HNC in construction and I am unsure on how to go about it I am looking for some advice on how to do this if you anyone can?


The majority of HNC courses are run on a day release basis which makes it difficult to do without your employer’s assistance. First step would be to talk to your employer about this to see if they can accommodate.

Failing this, it’s a case of finding a college that offers evening course. First stop for is your local college and, if they don’t, then they will know if any other local places do.

BTEC Level 3 Surveying

Hi, I’m looking to do BTEC level 3 surveying. Would this qualification be a start up for a HNC construction.
And Where can I do the level 3?



The level 3 could indeed lead to the HNC. You’ll need to contact your local college for further details; if they don’t run the course they should be able to advise you where it is available in your area.