Getting into the Construction Industry

Is this the best route into the industry?

Hi, I have recently been offered a position at a uni to study part time for the HNC in construction management. I’m 30 years old, 10 years+ exp on site and am a nvq level 2 qualified bricklayer.

I want to become a fully qualified site manager, is this the best route into the industry? I understand it only gives me a white cscs card, I was going to study to do the hnc and then progress onto the CIOB in site management qual as it gives a black cscs card. Once I’ve completed the HNC i will do the SMSTS course and seek work as a assistant or trainee site manager.

Is this the best route for me to take? Thank you.



After completing the HNC you could go on to do the degree in site management; whether this would be worth your while though would depend on your circumstances at the time?

Personally, I think going the CIoB route is going to be your best course of action although it is possible to do both.

To do the SMSTS course requires no qualifications, btw, so I would do this as soon as you are able. I would also do the 3 day first aid course as well since the SMSTS and First Aid are now the two most common prerequisites for getting any kind management role.


I am currently studying an HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, part-time, over two years. I have no previous experience in the construction industry, but would like to go with something involving CAD/BIM. I am not interested in a management role, and there are no architectural technology HNCs in my area, so I selected the generic HNC in Construction pathway.

Would it be possible to acquire a trainee/entry-level position within the industry with this sort of qualification. Also, is there any advantage to having an HNC, if you are required to go on to do a full-time undergraduate degree in the first place, only with significantly greater student debt (having already spent the first year financing an HNC)?

Cheers, Leigh


The HNC is generally respected in the industry as a mid-level qualification that gives people a good grounding in commercial construction, it’s certainly advantageous to have it – especially in a design role where a broad understanding of construction techniques is essential.

Entry level positions are always available but depend a lot on being in the right place at the right time. The more places you contact, the better your chances.

A degree will always be an advantage but, for CAD/BIM role I would think experience and practical ability are far more important? In the right situation, further qualifications may not be necessary at all but, again, it is often a matter of luck.

Construction site engineering technician apprenticeship

I’m currently in my 30’s and have a job working for a property developer as a manager looking after de-snags and handovers etc. I would like to get more technical knowledge to eventually work within site project delivery and already have an nvq in carpentry and joinery.

I have been looking at a Construction site engineering technician apprenticeship however my work will provide Level 4 Construction Management (Site Supervision Pathway) Apprenticeship Framework.

The framework includes a HNC in Construction and the Built Environment alongside an NVQ Level 4 all fully funded through a levy. Would you suggest this is a good path towards my desired career?



Yes, absolutely Brian. Sounds like the best way forward!

Studying While Working Full-Time?

I seem to have been searching the web for the last hour or so with no obvious results turning up regarding distance or online HND courses for construction management.

I find this a little confusing and frustrating and wonder how and why this is the case. I work full time and am interested in going into construction management and need a way of taking the first step.

How am i supposed to gain the valuable knowledge whilst I work?



Traditionally, people studying for higher level qualifications in construction were already working in the industry in some capacity. College courses were often run at night time, once or twice a week. Over the years, this changed as more people were starting their careers straight from school as management trainees and apprentices. Since most were sponsored by their employers it became common for courses to be run on a day-release basis only.

The unintended consequence of this is that those already in the industry, many of whom have unsympathetic employers or who are classed as self-employed, have found it near impossible to hold down a job and study at the same time. Those, like yourself, from outside the industry face similar difficulties.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that there is a critical shortage of suitably experienced and qualified managers in the construction industry and this situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Big construction companies are putting all of their efforts into recruiting people straight from school or University. The vocational courses they do support are role-based and require you to be already in a trade or management to begin with.

You will find some construction courses available to study online but they are not industry accredited and are really only useful for gaining industry knowledge which, outside the context of any associated job role, is likely to be not much help to you.

If you are determined to continue I would suggest contacting local construction companies and ask if they’d be willing to take you on as a trainee, just as a means of getting your foot in the door, and take it from there?

Also, to people in similar situations as yourself, I always suggest Health Safety as a way of breaking into the industry since you can realistically do the courses while doing some other job. The NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety is an industry recognised qualification and can lead to further opportunities. It’s not for everyone but there is a demand for people who have this.