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Construction career choices after education

SPONSORED: Now that the training is over and you're in the big wide world, deciding what to do next can seem a bit of a challenge

Posted by Joe Lawson-West | December 10, 2017 | People, policy, politics, money

Learning about construction is a highly rewarding experience. Whether it’s the practical skills you’ve developed, the facilities you’ve been able to use or simply the fun you’ve had with your course mates, there are lots of reasons to enjoy this phase of your life.

But now that the training is over and you’re in the big wide world, deciding what to do next can seem a bit of a challenge.

The traditional route of going out and getting a job remains popular, but with fluctuations in the job market this can seem like a difficult task. Fortunately, there are other options out there, like setting up on your own or even going back to school or college.

In this article, we’ll look at what options are open to you after you’ve gained a construction qualification.

Join a firm

The most obvious choice when it comes to deciding what to do after your study and training is completed, is to join a local construction company. Despite occasional reports of a slump in investment in construction here in the UK, there are still plenty of jobs available, particularly in the housing sector.

Working at a firm brings with it a wide range of advantages, including a near-constant supply of work. In addition, there is no need to bid for jobs and the pay will be secure. You’ll also get the chance to work with similarly-minded people, and will probably be able to work on a variety of different projects. However, unlike some of the other options available, it does mean that you’ll lose some flexibility over where, when and how you work. Hours can be long, and sometimes work can still be irregular depending on demand.

It also means you’ll be closing the door to full-time further study, although in some cases you’ll be able to work alongside your studies and benefit from the chance to learn on the job.

Become self employed

If joining a firm doesn’t appeal, becoming self-employed is another option. As a construction worker taking up jobs on a self-employed basis, you’ll be known as a contractor. This label comes from the term given to the jobs available, which are known as “fixed term contracts”.

Unlike working at a firm where you’re paid by your boss, you’ll be paid directly for your work as a contractor by the client. That means you’ll be responsible for the administration of your own tax affairs. Working in this way means that you will be subject to the rules of IR35 set by HMRC.

Fortunately, there are organisations out there that can help with IR35. Umbrella companies operate payrolls specifically for self-employed people, meaning that you can pay a small fee to have them handle all your tax returns for you. That means you won’t have to bother with self-assessment tax returns, and you won’t have to get in touch with HMRC. You’ll get all the benefits of being a contractor without having to deal with the biggest headache it brings with it!

Not only does working with an umbrella company cut down on the time you would otherwise have to spend organising your taxes, it also means companies offering contracts will find one more reason to hire you - because for them it means there’s less risk of tax dodging.

Study further

If you really enjoyed studying for your construction qualification, you don’t necessarily have to stop there. In fact, moving on to further study can be the right option for many people who want to learn more skills.

Luckily, there are a wide range of further study options available for those who want to carry on with their education. Indeed, leading qualifications provider City & Guilds alone offers over 60 qualifications on the topic!

Depending on the provider and the bursaries available to you in your area, financing your next course may be an issue. However, part time study is becoming more common these days, so you will often be able to get a part time job - perhaps in a field other than construction - to fund your fees or provide enough cash to live on while you are studying.

Ultimately, it’s clear that there are many choices when it comes to make that all-important decision about what to do after qualifying. Whether it’s setting up as a contractor, going back for further study or getting a job with an established firm, there are plenty of options. 

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