Site Manager

Building Site ManagerThe Site Manager, sometimes referred to as the Site Agent, is the person in charge of a site.

The site manager is responsible for supervising operations on site to ensure that they are completed safely, to programme and within budget.

A manager on a small site will have sole responsibility for the whole project, whereas on a larger site he or she will be in charge of one section and report to a senior manager or project manager.

Qualifications

To start as a trainee construction manager, you normally need to have or be studying for an HNC/HND or a degree. You may also be able to start as a trainee or assistant site manager after gaining experience, for example, as a technician or site supervisor.

The formal degree qualification is  BSc (Hons) Construction Management which can be studied part or full-time. In addition, to gain the CSCS Management Card, you will required to complete a higher level NVQ such as the Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management.

On the Job Training

As a trainee site manager, you may start on your employer’s own training programme. These are designed to give you experience in a number of work areas, such as estimating, planning, buying and assisting a site engineer. Once you have built up your experience, you would move into construction management and take on more responsibility.

You may be able to get sponsorship from an employer to help you with the cost of studying. You can contact companies directly to find out about sponsorship opportunities. Some construction companies with student career programmes include:

Further Training

The Chartered Institute of Building offers a qualifications framework for trainee and practising site managers. Progression is normally to contracts management or project management..

The CIOB, in partnership with the National House Building Council (NHBC), has information about work-related NVQ’s if you already work in the industry, such as:

  • Construction Site Supervision
  • Construction Contracting
  • Construction Project Management

Contact CIOB and the NHBC for more details about work-based training programmes.


82 thoughts on “Site Manager”

  1. I just wanted your thoughts please. I’m currently looking to start my Msc in construction project management which certified by Rics and ciob and I’ve currently just finished my Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment, CITB Health & Safety Awareness and applied for my Cscs green card. I’m not sure if I should do the the SSSTS or SMSTS? In the next month I’ll be getting some volunteering experience on site thats looking to build some residential properties. In relation to the above qualifications and experience I’m looking to do, what are your thoughts in relation to applying for trainee/assistant site/surveying roles?

    • With regards to the SSSTS or SMSTS in would recommend doing the manager’s course in all cases. There is no entry criteria, other than the extra expense, and it is the one you see most often as a requirement for employment.

      If you are already embarking on the degree course than this would put you in good stead with any junior/trainee positions although you’ll need to find a cooperative employer who’s willing to allow you the time off. Regrettably, this isn’t always easy and is often the reason people never progress beyond just thinking about it. Actually being on a course with people who are already employed elsewhere can be a big advantage though.

      Longer term I would apply for membership of the CIoB an daim to complete the NVQs level 4 and 5. in site management. It will be a long slog but already there is a dire shortage of suitably qualified managers with no sign the situation will improve. In a few years time you should be able to capitalise on this to your own benefit.

      https://www.ciob.org/become-a-member

      http://www.ciob.org/your-career/ciob-level-4-certificate-and-diploma-site-management

      • Thank you so much for your helpful reply. Really appreciate it.
        Got my 5 day SMSTS booked in next week so hopefully that goes well and aids in me in finding a new position soon.

        Fortunately, my current employee is flexible and I’ll be starting the Masters this September. I’ve also noticed that once completed I would be able to apply for the Academically Qualified Person cscs card – taken into consideration your comments how would this fit in with doing the NVQ Level 4 or 5, and getting the Black card?

        Hopefully, the masters will help me in good stead as you said. I’ve been looking at positions at Taylor Whimpy and they have some trainee positions in site management but they say that they provide employees the opportunity to study e.g degrees etc whilst working. For a person in my situation who is studying outside the company and completing these certs, do you think this is an advantage for when I apply or do you think they would prefer someone who hasn’t really got any academic qualifications and would prefer to ‘mould’ them if that makes sense?

        Sounds Great! I’ve been looking at the Ciob Level 3 in site management for a couple of weeks now but I’m slightly confused on which level I should do. I was looking at the below but please advise if the level 4 would be better. I currently fulfil the requirements as I have 280 ucas points.

        https://www.reed.co.uk/courses/ciob-level-3-diploma-in-site-supervisory/192126#/courses/?keywords=CIOB%20Level%203

        https://www.reed.co.uk/courses/ciob-level-4-certificate-and-diploma-in-site-management/192127#/courses/?keywords=CIOB%20Level%204

        Would appreciate your thoughts.
        Regards

        • The Academically Qualified Person Card was introduced as a stop-gap measure for people studying for professional qualifications, it expires after 5 years and you can’t renew it.

          In some circumstances it may be the best option, particularly if your role is office based. It is, however, like the Red Trainee card, only a temporary card and will not in itself open any doors for you. It also has no bearing on your qualification for a Black card in the future.

          A lot of companies claim they are OK with candidates who are already studying (or plan to) but, in reality, it’s the equivalent of saying they are an equal opportunities employer. They may prefer, as you point out, someone who they can mould to their own ways of working. Some, also, outright don’t want anyone who’s going to be absent at all.

          It is a case of luck hough and you may well find an open minded manager who is willing to give you a chance? My own view is that, with the state of the industry as it is, employers are going to have to be more flexible if they are to find any decent people at all.

          With regards the level 3 and level 4 diplomas, if you can bypass the level 3 do so. After all, it is only a step towards the level 4. Whether this is technically feasible I’m not sure though – you will have to speak to a course provider to be certain?

          All of this aside, you are taking the right approach and should see any temporary difficulties as a mere test of your resolve.

  2. hi, am currently working as bricklayer Forman level 3,whats the next best move nvq level 4 supervisory,ciob level 4 site management,or hnc, I know smsts and first aid are essential but I want a life long qualification and a bit stuck which way to go. cheers

      • so is the ciob level 4 managers course a route to the black cscs card? and what about a hnc? whats best. I really do appreciate the reply am really stuck. thanks again

          • so my route of been a site manager the ciob level 4 is the route to take?just you see a lot of hnc comments around but I just want to get the managers cards. honestly so greatfull for a response before paying out money in September. there is just no advice out there unless your a school leaver. thanks

          • The HNC is a good course for learning different aspects of commercial construction. Unfortunately, it’s not connected to a specific job role so, for the purposes of CSCS, would be a waste of time and money.

            Traditional construction courses, like the HNC are about knowledge. CSCS is about ticking boxes. Do both if you can but, unfortunately, the CSCS card takes precedence these days.

  3. Am 30 Year old Achitectural Technologist, which I work as Cad Technican, Am thinking to do site managment, what is the best option for me?

  4. I am a 20 year old, I gained my Nvq level 2 and 3 in carpentry over a year ago. I’ve been self employed since then. I’m looking to become a site manager and woundering what’s the best route to go down to do this?

  5. Hi, I’m a 22 year old who has just completed a HNC in construction, i am looking to go into the industry as a trainee site manager and i am wondering what would be the best ways to achieve this

    • At your age I think the best thing to do is a degree in construction management and start applying to the big house builders and contractors. All their recruitment efforts are geared towards this route.

  6. I have an degree in buiding engineering back in my country Romania. I worked as site manager , project manager back in my country. NARIC sad my diploma is equivalent with bachelor degree with honor in construction . what path will be the most short to get a job as an trainee for site manager or project manager

    • There isn’t anything technically preventing you from applying for assistant site management positions, it mainly depends on your past experience and the attitude of the employer – some always have a strict criteria and some are more flexible.

      Formerly, to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Builders and doing the Level 4 NVQ in Site Management will be the most secure route, although the qualification in itself doesn’t come with a guarantee of a job, you still need a bit of luck.

      Because of your existing status, the CIoB Conversion Degree may be your best option but you will need to contact them directly for a definitive answer and further advice.

  7. Hi i am looking at becoming an assistant site manager i have just recently started working on site but i do hold 2 degrees what would be the best way to achieve this, would i meed the hnc or would the smsts be enough
    Cheers

  8. Hi, I am 32 years old and currently working as an “improver” bricklayer. I fully understand that I have left it late in life to switch to a career in construction however, I am eager to progress to a site management role as soon as possible. I plan to obtain an nvq in bricklaying and I am booked in to do the SMSTS shortly, after which I will look at completing the first aid course. From there I plan to complete the nvq in site management all the way up to level six. My question is; do you think this will realistically be enough to secure myself a role in site management even though I currently have no experience? Also, do you think my age will be a disadvantage? Many thanks.

    • No, 32 is still quite young. Your biggest hurdle will be getting your first role, after that it should just be a matter of time and opportunity.

      To get your first role I would concentrate on approaching small, independent contractors rather than the big companies. Agencies will be of no help to either, so also avoid them if you can.

      You are taking the right approach. There is a dire shortage of decent managers these days as many of the old-timers are hitting retirement age. Your only competition is young graduates who are being recruited by the volume house builders and chancers who are moving from job to job as they get found out.

  9. I’ve got BEng Civil Engineering and I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Engineering, working extensively with concrete (RC). I have no practical qualifications and only one internship where I assisted my site manager, two years back.

    What should I focus on in the remaining year before I graduate in order to be successful applicant for a Assistant Site Manager / Engineer position?

  10. I’m a 20 year old with nearly five years experience as a site carpenter and joiner with a level two NVQ and I want to get into a management role by starting a Trainee management scheme could you give me any advice on how to do this?

    • The trainee management schemes that currently exist tend to be aimed at under graduates so I can’t offer much help. It’s a question that’s asked often and, if you read the comments below, the advice tends to be repeated many times. Therefore, there isn’t any need to keep doing so.

  11. Hello. I’m currently a carpenter, looking for some candid advice as to how/qualifications/best route to changing tack and moving in to construction site management. And advice would be gratefully received.

  12. Hi I am 27 year old lad have worked in construction since I was 15 doing various jobs such as Hod carrier ‘ labourer shop fitter and asbestos removal to which I gained supervisory level and was looking at going in to assiant site management / management was just wondering witch is the best path to take any help would be much appreciated thanks

    • Short term – do the 3 day first aid course and the SMSTS, both of which will cost you but you won’t get anywhere without them. Apply for supervisory or junior management positions with small/local contractors because ‘on the day’ you might be the best candidate that actually applies for the job and turns up for the interview.

      Longer term
      membership of the Chartered Institute of Building should be your goal and to complete the Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Management which will eneable you to get a black cscsc card.
      The requirements and time needed may seem daunting at first but are all achievable to anyone with a basic level of intelligence and the will to succeed.

  13. I am 31, I studied a non ICE accredited Civil Engineering BSc in Northern part of Cyprus (2013) I’ve also completed MSc in Project Management in Construction in UK (2015) and I have CSCS Card for Managers and professionals.
    I have no practical experience, and I don’t know how to use autocard but I’m learning now on YouTube.

    Due to my non UK BSc, I have difficulties in getting a job in Civil Engineering areas.
    Getting a job as graduate project manager also seems not to be feasible.
    Admin, please tell me, how I can combine these qualifications to progress in the construction industry?

    I have options such as site engineer, assistant site engineer, assistant site manager, Site Manager, Assistant project manager/construction manager, project manager/construction manager.

    I’m intending to go and do 2-12weeks paid training in setting out to give me detailed knowledge of becoming a site engineer. This may cost about 2000£ and will get a diploma in setting out.

    I’m also thinking if I should go and do another MSc most probably in Structural Engineering….this will be more expensive but will it worth it more than other options?

    Will SMSTS help me at this point in anyway?

    Please advise? Thanks

    • The danger is, without relevant experience, you may waste time and money gaining qualifications that will not help you progress to stage one. The UK construction industry does tend to pigeonhole people into set roles with little in the way of flexibility between them. The problem is compounded by the reliance on employment agencies who are just not interested in helping anyone but themselves.

      By all means look into doing further studies in the UK but get yourself into some kind of role first. You will find it much easier to progress from within the industry than from outside it, regardless of what that role may be.

      Yes the SMSTS will help, in terms of getting a job at least, because there are very few employers who will give you the time of day without it for just about any supervisory or management position.

      • Thanks Admin for your input, I don’t mind doing further studies, by looking at my BSc and MSc, which area do you think I should do further studies on? Technician (engineering side) or the Management side?

        Please advise me with options on progressions in Civil Engineering area and also Project Management area?

        And by the way, I currently have a family I need to take care of, and I am just doing NHS job in health care, so taking going into full time studies won’t be possible.

        • To answer your first point, technicians are always in demand worldwide whereas management is is a bit more of a precarious option, particularly with little in the way of experience. So, for me, it would be the technical route all the way!

          The civil engineering sector is an area I am not sufficiently experienced in to give any meaningful advice. I suggest you contact the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) for more expert guidance. A route to professional membership may well be an option worth considering?

          Studying while holding down a job, and raising a family, is always going to be tough. Studying part-time is an option that’s usually available although this may mean you have to be away from work for at least one day a week. A co-operative employer is essential.

          There are no easy options though it may be worth the pain in the long term. All I can say is weigh up all the possibilities because committing to years of study is something that is, these days, a bit of a gamble.

  14. I have a city & guilds in brickwork / advanced craft brickwork since 1992 and have been running my own Ltd company for 4 years. beforehand i was a sole trader working in all aspects of domestic building. I am capable of project management of a new build and have done my own book keeping and enter accounts on sage etc.

    I have a couple of projects ahead(3-4 Year) and will then want to look into site management so want to get some qualifications. What’s your advice on courses?

  15. Hi. I am 28 years old I have s city&guilds 1+2 in carpentry and I have now took a different route into management I have been supervising on a new build project to 2 years with a site manager and I have a sssts certificate how would I break into an assistant manager role

    • There isn’t really any way of making a breakthrough other than being in the right place at the right time. As you are currently working as an unofficial assistant manager you should apply for similar roles elsewhere but with a title of assistant manager. Upgrading your SSSTS to the SMSTS would also be a good idea.

      Longer term, doing a relevant course such as the construction or site management HNC would be beneficial, although there is no guarantee of a job at the end. Similarly, joining the Chartered Institute of Builders and working towards the site management NVQ is something worth thinking about.

  16. I am 32 with 10 years experience as a electrician i have started to struggle with arthritis and am looking to try and move of off the tools maybe into a site manager position what would be my best move?

    • Short term, the best thing you can do is start looking at opportunities for junior management or supervisory roles with local electrical contractors. This may get your foot in the door somewhere or, at the very least, give you an idea of what they are looking for in terms of qualifications and experience.

      Avoid agencies if you can, you won’t find much in the way of an open attitude with these people. Apply direct to small and medium sized companies where you can deal direct with senior management. You’ll find they are more open to the idea of someone wanting to learn on the job.

      The HND in Building Services Engineering is a qualification that would certainly help but it’s doesn’t come with a guarantee of a job at the end of it. You are certainly young enough that it isn’t likely to be a waste of time but you should definitely get some feedback from potential employers before taking this step.

      As with anyone looking to move into management, the 3 day first aid course and CITB SMSTS are pretty much essentials – and relatively easy to do. The NEBOSH Construction Certificate is also a qualification you could look at doing to add to your repertoire. Health and safety is a big part of the industry nowadays and employers are always in need of people who are fully up to date with current legislation.

      With regard to your health issues, even though it shouldn’t make any difference I would keep this to yourself if at all possible.

  17. I’m 22 years old, I have been working as a labourer in the demolition business for almost 5 years and i was thinking that I should start working towards a supervisor or management career. I know I don’t have anything to show for myself but I want to start investing into my future. I want to know what steps do I need to make to achieve that goal of if it’s even possible for someone in my position.

    • Firstly, if your current employer isn’t offering any opportunity to progress then you’ll do well to start looking elsewhere. If anything it will give yo an idea of what kinds of jobs you may want to do and what the demand is.

      When it comes to education there are a number of ways you could go but none offer a guarantee of a job at the end. The Construction HNC is the most common route to take if you want to move from ‘on the tools’ to a junior management or supervisory role. There are entry requirements but these are usually waived for people with a few years industry experience.

      The good thing about the HNC is that it covers a wide range of subjects and, when completed, can lead to many more opportunities. This may be a junior management role or you may want proceed to doing a degree in construction management or surveying.

      Health and safety is another route you may want to consider? The NEBOSH Construction Certificate is a good one to have no matter what you end up doing. It’s a relatively short course and one a lot of people in your position have undertaken.

      Now you have two problems, financing the courses and having time to study while you are still working. Without a cooperative employer this can be difficult, if not impossible. The good news is that HNC courses are covered by the student loan scheme, so don’t let the cost of these courses put you off.

      As a first step I would suggest you get in touch with the built environment department at your local college and arrange an interview. This will give a you a better idea of what courses you could do and what local opportunities are available. I know this may be daunting but you have nothing to worry about. Most college lecturers have come from within the industry and may well have been in the same position as you once upon a time.

      If you proceed to doing a course it’s also worth noting you’ll be studying with a wide range of people from all sorts of backgrounds and age groups. Again, there are no guarantees, but it often isn’t until you start studying that you realise what your talents are and what is the best direction you should take.

      At 22 there are plenty of opportunities in front of you. The worst thing you can do now is spend too much time thinking about it without actually doing anything.

  18. I am graduate in Quantity surveying. I do not have any experience in construction. I have a sales experience and healthcare experience. I am really struggling to get my foot in the door within the construction industry. I was thinking of starting as a labourer, then site supervisor , site management/project management. Please advice if you think the plan has any chance given that l gain the required training such as cscs card, sssts/ smsts , first aid certificate and rics certificate in construction project management. I would also like to gain a Msc in real estate in order to become chartered. Please advice me if this route makes any sense at all as l see my developing real estates/properties/infrastructure in the future because that were my passion lies.

    • Your willingness to start at the bottom as a labourer is admirable but, in the current climate, is unlikely to to get you anywhere. The big contractors and surveying firms are rather blinkered when it comes to recruitment and career development so you will just find yourself repeatedly hitting a brick wall.

      Your best course of action would be to contact as many surveying firms as you can and explain your situation. Concentrate on the smaller firms and one-man bands and you will, eventually, make a breakthrough.

    • I am currently employed as construction quality manager for large modular construction company, I’m looking to transfer into the traditional construction sector possibly as a site manager/ clerk of works.

      I have a large amount of experience and knowledge of construction programs, supervising and coordinating all trades problem solving client handover, cost control and contractual awareness. I’ve come to this position from a trade background and hold a blue CSCS card, IoSH managing safely, first aid at work and trade qualifications. I’m currently studying for a BIT lean business course.

      I am considering doing my smsts course as this seems compulsory as an absolute minimum to gain employment in any form of management supervisory role, do you have any advice as to anything other cost effective courses I could do to achieve my goal.

      • You are correct in what you say about the SMSTS as it does seem to have a become a tick box requirement these days so it would be worthwhile doing. It may also be worth your while upgrading your blue CSCS card to a gold supervisors card; this would entail doing the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision but should be worth it. As you are currently employed in supervisory position I think this would also be a relatively quick win.

        You may want to think about going for the manager’s black CSCS card at a later date too, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this stage?

        You may also consider adding the NEBOSH Construction Certificate to your list as this is something that a lot of employers are looking for. It can be an expensive course to take on but since you already hold the IoSH certificate I think this would be a worthwhile investment that would pay off in the long term.

  19. My name is Michael,and i have a bachelors degree in civil engineering,but its from one of the top universities in Africa,and i just concluded my NVQ level 4 in construction site management,and i have my SMSTS,SSSTS,FIRST AID and also i was issued the CSCS black managers card,which i am also a member of the CIOB. but i have been finding it difficult to get a job, although i have had some site supervision roles previously with some construction contracting company with London underground but they seem to be needing experience with construction specifically,i have even applied for trainee/entry level just to get my foot in the door, but its all to no avail, please advice further .thanks

    • Employers like two kinds of recruit:

      1) School leavers or young graduates with lots of qualifications but no experience so they can mold them into their way of doing things.

      2) Older people with experience who are doing the ‘exact’ same job for some other employer.

      If you don’t fit into these two categories you will struggle. I’m afraid it’s the way it is and you have a choice of persevering with a view that eventually you’ll get lucky. Or just concentrate on those jobs that directly relate to your previous employment.

  20. I have an HND in civil engineering and a degree in construction management, white managers and professionals CSCS card, SMSTS and first aid certificate. After being out of the industry since 2010 I have renewed my cards and certificates but I’m struggling to get a job as an assistant site manager.

    Do you have any advice on what approach I should take other than sending out my cv’s and registering with agencies?

    • The agencies have become gatekeepers to much of the industry and this can be frustrating if you’ve been out of the loop for a while.

      Rather than registering with individual agencies I would just register with a few of the job sites where you can upload your cv and look out for roles advertised you’d be interested in. What you’ll often find is the same job being advertised with many different agencies anyway.

      Obviously the wider you cast your net the more likely you’ll be to be successful. So this may mean applying for job roles that broadly match your requirements rather than restricting yourself to just ‘assistant manager’ jobs. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should always aim lower because some of the jobs you may think are out of reach may not be getting the calibre of candidate they are expecting; there are not that many well qualified people out there. I know people who’ve landed decent jobs simply by being the best applicant on the day, good luck always plays its part.

      It may also be worth your while targeting employers who are not one of the big names since you will often find a less rigid mindset when it comes to finding the right person for the job. And, with any industry, it’s always easier to find a job when you’re already working in a similar role.

  21. I have just started working in the construction industry as a security/ gate house officer. I have a degree in IT. Can l do SMSTS course to apply for assistant Site Manager position.

    • No. The SMSTS is a short course for people already employed as site managers or assistant site managers/supervisors to keep up to date with the relevant legislation.

  22. I’m 29 year old female and have been in the construction trade for 9 years. Doing gas, electrics, plastering and kitchen fitting. Could you give me some advice on what courses/avenues I could start to look into with regards to progressing into construction management.

    • You could do the Construction HNC which will give you a grounding in all aspects of commercial construction although if you are set on a management career the Construction Management HNC is a bit more focused.

      Once you have this you can start looking for openings where an HNC tends to be the minimum requirement or go on to study for a degree. You should have at least 2 A levels to be eligible for an HNC course but this is usually waived if you have sufficient industry experience.

      The Chartered Institute of Builders (CIoB) have some useful guidance and you may at some point find it beneficial to apply for membership.

      The Health and Safety route is another option you might want to consider and the NEBOSH Construction Certificate is a qualification that a lot of employers look for.

      At 29 there is still a lot of scope for you to go in any number of directions. There isn’t a set path that will guarantee a set outcome I’m afraid and it does often depend on being in the right place at the right time.

      In the current climate though employers are having to adjust their expectations and are becoming a lot more flexible, so it’s often worth applying for some junior positions even if you don’t have everything they’re asking for. Obviously, the more roles you apply the more your chance of success.

  23. I am 34yrs and i have been a healthcare assistant for 5 years but I want to change carer to site manager but was told to go for smsts course and thereafter apply for an assistant site manager. Please,What is your advice

    • You may struggle with this approach if you don’t have any relevant experience. If this is a career move you are determined to make than your best route would be to study for a suitable construction qualification. The HNC in Construction Management would be ideal but you’ll need to do at least 2 years part-time study with no guarantee of any job at the end of it.

      The health and safety route could be used as a bit of a shortcut though. The NEBOSH course is much shorter and doesn’t need much in the way of experience. Having a NEBOSH qualification, the SMSTS and a first aid certificate may get your foot in the door somewhere but, again, there are no sure fire certainties.

  24. Good Morning. I would like some advice on what jobs i should be applying for.

    I’m on my 2nd year of my HNC in construction management which will be finished in May/June. I have no experience in site management on paper, but i have been self employed for the last 12 years, 8 of which running my own carpentry / maintenance business with up to 8 employees.I have had contracts with university’s, retail parks, theme parks, local authorities etc. On all these projects i have had sole control over every aspect of the work from the surveying, estimating, time-scales, health and safety, etc. As well as doing all of those i still managed my business doing all of the admin, payroll and tax-VAT returns etc. So i think i have fairly good experience so far.

    So my question is, Should i be looking at jobs as a trainee or an assistant site manager?

    • Either route is feasible although there is a heavy bias towards younger graduates for these positions, especially amongst the big housebuilders and commercial contractors. You will have more success if you focus on smaller, specialist contractors who will value your experience much more.

      It may also be worth considering what other opportunities are available as, with 12 years experience, I’m guessing you’re not that old? Although I would always recommend getting into some form of management career at the first opportunity as it’s always easier to improve your options from within the system rather than outside it.

      • I’m 34, To be honest im not really sure what i want to do. I know i dont really want to be on the tools for too much longer. I was thinking of trying to get in with one of the bigger firms that have a job where you have a few months as a QS, then a manager then engineer etc, but im not sure if they are just for school leavers?I just think that i would be more suited to site management as its pretty much what i have been doing for year but on a much smaller scale.

        • Schemes such as you mention are pretty much aimed at new entrants, there isn’t much been done for people already working with valuable experience. It is a shame and yet it’s always the organisations responsible for this who complain they can’t get skilled people?

          As someone who’s been in your position all I can say is to start applying for stuff you think you’ll be able to do and see where it takes you. A lot of positions you’ll see advertised as must have this and that qualification/experience are not getting the responses they want – you may well be the best candidate?

  25. Hi,

    I have worked on residential construction sites for 13 years as a foreman/ assistant Site Manager / Site Manager in Greece. I’ve been in UK two years and I can’t find a job in construction industry.

    I want to become an Assistant / Site Manager but I don’t know how to go about it.

    Is the HNC the appropriate course for me?

    Could you recommend another course?

    Thanks

  26. I’ve worked in administration for construction companies for 10 years. I have always wanted a career in construction not just a job. I am 29, 30 next March and have got my foot in the door with a very well known company that encourages growth. At school I didn’t do very well and haven’t got much to bring to the table in regards to qualifications apart from an IOSH certificate. Where do I start, what do I do?

    • Since you already have the IoSH certificate I think the health and safety route is probably going to be your best option. Maybe think of doing the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety?

      If you want to go straight into site management it’s going to be a long haul and there isn’t any route with a certain outcome. You say your employer encourages growth – why not talk to them about what you think you should be doing?

      The Chartered Institute of Builders (CIoB) have a good route planner for anyone interested in a management career and this may be a good place to start also?

  27. I’m an electrician with 20 years experience, working on and running sites as a sub contractor from 10 upto 80 units in size. I am thinking of a career change into site manage could you advise me on the best route, and would my experience of site work out weigh my lack of computer skills

    • Progression from an experienced tradesman to site management is a lot more difficult than used to be the case. The big contractors and housebuilders are only interested in young graduates.

      That said, your best option would be to do the Construction HNC or Building Services HNC. Courses are often on a day release basis and take a couple of years, which can be a problem if you can’t get time off work. The HNC doesn’t guarantee you a job but it tends to be a minimum requirement. Decent HNC grades also lead on to studying for a degree in site management.

      In the short term, the 3 day first aid at work certificate and 5 day CITB SMSTS course are worth doing as many employers expect you to have them.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about your computer skills, you can pick these up as you go along. Doing a short course in spreadsheets or CAD may also be to your benefit though.

      Getting your foot in the door is going to be your biggest challenge but often it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time.

  28. I have a been running my own building company for over 25 years , and now have been asked to manage a site for another builder .
    Do I need to get any qualifications, as on paper I only have a CSCS Gold card in Carpentry

  29. I have been in the construction industry for 7 years, starting of as an apprentice carpenter and getting my NVQ level 3. I then completed an NVQ level 3 in construction site supervision and have finally progressed to assistant site manager for a reputable company.

    I am looking at broadening my knowledge and am currently enrolled in a level 3 diploma in electrical installations evening course in my spare time.

    I also have my SMSTS, first aid and scaffold inspection.

    My question to you is, I would love to climb the ladder to eventually becoming a project/contract manager and possibly beyond.

    What would you recommend as being my career path and what qualifications should I aspire to get to reach these targets?

  30. I have a degree in Marine Composites and Engineering and have worked in the boat building marine industry for 10 years however I am keen to change careers to one that lends itself more to career progression. I was advised by a recruitment company that I could side step into site management and have successfully completed my SMSTS course. Unfortunately I have been unsuccessful in my applications for a number of assistant site manager jobs and I assume this is due to lack of construction site specific experience? How do I go about getting this experience and what do you recommend I do next?

    • Rather than applying for assistant manager jobs you may want to approach some local building companies and contractors. Explain you want to gain experience with a view to progressing into management. It’s going to be a bit of a hit and miss approach but it has to be better than hitting a brick wall all of the time?

      Longer term you could look at studying for a relevant qualification like the HNC but this isn’t going to help you much without any real experience.

      I answer similar questions on a regular basis and it is a real shame that none of the main contractors and housebuilders are offering a route into management for those other than school leavers and graduates.

  31. Hi I have recently started work for a construction company as an assistant site manager and have been advised to look for courses to take which my company will fund. I want to find the best course suitable for career progression through site manager roles and further on to projects manager/contracts manager. The two courses I have been looking at are as follows;

    Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (Level 4) BTEC (HNC)

    Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Certificate in Site Management Level 4 (QFC)

    Which of these courses would stand me in good stead for the start of my career. Or could you reccomend another one.

    Thanks

    • Out of the 2 I’d go for the CIOB Certificate and maybe progress to the Level 6 Diploma at a later date?
      The HNC is a good course and could lead to you doing a degree in site management but CIoB membership is going to stand you in good stead career wise.

  32. I have a degree in construction and project management but I have no work experience. As you say the degree is no guarantee of getting a job. Do you think doing the SMSTS will help me to get a job?

    • Probably, yes. Unfortunately we are living in a world where these certificates are valued much more highly than real qualifications.

  33. I have worked on construction sites for 20 year+ labouring/painting/industrial cleaning I want to become a site Manager do don’t know how to go about it and am also a woman can you give me some advice where to begin?

    • Unfortunately there isn’t a simple route to entry for experienced workers even though common sense suggests there ought to be?

      You could do the HNC in Construction Management which is 2 year part-time course. After that you could do the Degree which would be another 2 years.
      Neither course has a guaranteed job at the end of it and you may be wasting your time? There is also a cost involved and you’d have to be able to attend a college at least one full day a week. This is an obvious barrier that many people have difficulty with and there are very few employers who’ll allow you the time off, especially if you are not school leaver.

      Alternatively, you could consider doing the NEBOSH ‘National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety’. It isn’t a management qualification as such but your chances of getting a job in this area are very high. Once you’ve got your foot in the door somewhere you’ll be in a much better position to pursue your ultimate goal?

      Other short course such as the 3 day first aid course, and CITB ‘Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)’ will also help. You may get lucky and find a position as a site supervisor or assistant manager which could lead on to something better in the long term.

  34. Really would like to become either a site agent or a foreman as a have been a bricklayer for 17 years left building game 5 years ago and would like to get back into it as a miss it a also would like more info on how to get a sponsor and qualifications needed.

    • You don’t need any specific qualification to be a foreman although you do need the Site Supervision NVQ in order to get a Gold CSCS card (which may be necessary depending on where you’re working?).

      Again, to become a site agent you don’t have to have any qualifications but you can improve your chances by doing the HNC in Construction Management. It’s a 2 year part time course and, assuming you don’t have the necessary qualifications, you’ll likely be accepted because of your work experience. You’ll be lucky to find an employer willing to sponsor you though but HNC/HND courses are eligible for funding under the student loan scheme.

      In the short term going back on the tools and applying for any supervisory/junior management positions that come along is going to be the best course of action. Being in the right place at the right time is still the best way of getting on. Don’t be put off when employers employers say you have to have ‘this or that’ qualification either – they rarely get the ideal candidate they are hoping for.

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