Skills for the future report

Building your career in construction

Construction is an industry that provides many opportunities, and it has always been a sector where people can progress based on hard work and enthusiasm, but it is also beneficial for individuals to develop in their careers.

So, with the volume of construction in Northern Ireland predicted to grow by an annual average rate of 1.4 per cent between now and 2027 according to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), upskilling may not only benefit individuals, but also employers and the wider industry.

Why upskill now?

The skills and qualifications needed in construction vary by occupation and can range from apprenticeships and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) to degrees and professional qualifications. However most aspects of construction relating to working on site require a minimum NVQ Level 2 or above.

In Northern Ireland you also need to be on the Construction Skills Register (CSR). The CSR is a register of construction workers who have completed the industry approved health and safety training course. Once complete individuals gain a CSR card.

The CSR card is the equivalent of the CSCS card in the UK and it is worth noting that, to gain a CSCS card from 1 January 2025, construction workers will need a nationally recognised qualification or professional body membership. This qualification requirement does not currently apply to a CSR card, but it can still be beneficial to employees’ career development, help employers’ future-proof their workforce and maintain high quality standards.

Cementing your knowledge

A construction NVQ is a benchmark qualification that proves occupational competence to current and future employers. They are available at several levels and the higher the level the more advanced the qualification.

John Crewdson, senior site manager at Bloor Homes, who recently completed his Level 7 in Construction Senior Management, says: “I would absolutely encourage people to join construction and build a career. House building is a great industry to work in as you get to work with a variety of people and every single day is different. If you work hard it is not just financially rewarding, there are also good opportunities to progress and to develop your skills.”

Some NVQs can also lead to membership of professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE).

NVQs with NHBC

NHBC offers NVQs from level 3 in Construction Contracting Operations or Occupational Work Supervision which are equal to an A Level, through to Level 7 in Construction Senior Management, which is equivalent to a master’s degree.

We have been delivering NVQs to the house-building industry for over 20 years. Our team of assessors have a wealth of experience and can offer support and guidance throughout the qualification.

To find out more about the NVQs offered by NHBC visit:

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