Scaffolders erect and dismantle scaffolding to allow construction workers and maintenance staff to reach the upper levels of the exterior of buildings.
There is no specific academic background required for the job, as everyone starts as an apprentice or trainee. However, anyone who wants to become a scaffolder will need to have a good head for heights and be very fit, as it is physically demanding work.
Due to the safety issues involved, there is a thorough training scheme for staff new to the trade. All workers must complete the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) part 1 and part 2 qualifications, along with an NVQ level 2 in accessing operations and rigging.
This training can take as long as two years, but at the end of it, staff can apply for the CISRS card needed to work on construction sites. It will also allow them to undertake further courses to obtain the CISRS advanced card, which is required for complex scaffolding.
Most of the employment opportunities in the field are with specialist scaffolding contractors. They recruit both apprentices, who can expect to be paid in the region of £12,000 a year, and more experienced staff, who will earn salaries of between £22,000 and £35,000 plus shift allowances.
Scaffolders' work is project based, so employers often need additional qualified staff on a short-term basis. They can take on experienced workers on temporary contracts via specialist trades recruitment agencies to help them cope with busy periods.