Work experience in the construction industry
Like getting a start in most other industries, getting an internship or experience in the construction sector is a vital first step.
Relevant experience such as an
internship is key to getting a
graduate scheme place in the
diverse world of the construction
industry. Knowing what you need,
when is best to apply and how to
stand out from the competition in
your application can be achieved by
doing your research, networking with
those in the industry and talking to
your careers service.
As the sector continues to grow
following the recession, industryrelated
work experience is getting
more competitive, but if you can
secure experience in the industry it
Display to employers that you have
a genuine desire to join the industry
Show that you can carry out work
similar to that of a graduate
Develop a network of industry
contacts who might be able to help
you in your search for jobs
Develop the ‘employability’ skills
that you’ll need in the working
Types of work experience
Most work experience placements
are open to students in the second
year of their degree and you should
apply early in the academic year – a
common mistake is leaving it too late.
Start researching placements in your
first year, and try to get less formal
experience with smaller
Work experience options include:
a year in industry as part of your
summer or vacation placements,
usually aimed at penultimate-year
students but also keen first years
unpaid placements or workshadowing,
where you follow a
throughout their working day to
gain an understanding of their job.
volunteering projects, for example
Do your research on the employer and
write about why you want to do work
experience at that company in
particular: reasons could include their
expertise in a certain area or the
recent projects they’ve worked on.
Employers don’t expect the same level
of technical knowledge and
experience as they do of graduates.
But they do expect enthusiastic people
who can articulate their motivation
for working in construction and are
aware of current industry issues.
Make the most of any
opportunities offered by your
college: go on all study trips to
sites and employers.
Go for labouring/short-term
agency work (if you want to work
in building surveying
try a parttime
job in an estate agency).
Speculatively apply for workshadowing
(observation) or work
experience opportunities. Tailor
your application to the company
you’re applying to.
Know what’s happening in the
Industry, check what’s happening
with professional bodies such as
the Construction Industry
Take a year out and volunteer on a
charity construction project.
Get a non-construction job in a
construction firm – you may hear
of other opportunities you can