construction industry

Consider A Career With Plant Machinery

A career in plant machinery can be a promising career with many benefits, but choosing what to specialise in can be tough. So what is your ideal career path?

Why Choose a Career Working With Plant Machinery

There are so many different types of plant machinery which means that there are courses that we provide that will suit anyone thinking about getting into this industry. The industry has many differing types of machine such as:

  • Forklifts
  • Dumpers
  • Excavators
  • Scissor Lifts
  • Loader Compressors
  • Telescopic Handlers

With many more other types that we also provide. So why choose a career working in this industry?

Firstly, heavy construction plants have been shown to be the backbone of the construction industry and with the ever increasing supply of jobs within the construction industry, there is surely going to be an increase within the construction plant industry. This indicates that the construction plant industry will be safe and secure for future job prospects. Furthermore, the average salary of construction plant workers is higher than national average with some jobs earning £30,000 per year and many upwards of that figure. Finally the job satisfaction gained from any role within construction is great, there are always immediate results visible within construction which can be motivating to you as the individual as the more work you put in, the more you get out of it.

Where to Start?

To get into the construction industry firstly you need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card (CSCS ) which is a verification that you have the correct qualifications required to carry out the job on the building site that you are working on. You then must also have a Construction Plant Competence Scheme card (CPCS) which proves the skills of a plant operator. See our article on CPCS cards for more information. Here at SB Skills we provide the training for CPCS cards which can make it easier to move straight onto specialising in a specific field.

So What is Your Ideal Choice

There are many factors to consider when choosing what path to choose. Are you afraid of heights? Do you want to drive a lot or do you want to operate controls? Do you want to manage and supervise plant machinery? All are very important questions which will dictate which courses you should take in order to put you on the right path. The only way to know which industry is right for you is to research the roles and courses and try it!

How to become a Plasterer

Building and Construction is an excellent career path to choose. However, with a wide range of trade options and industry specialisms to choose from, it can often be a daunting proposition. However Plastering NVQ Training can be a great way to enter into a constantly in-demand industry. Read on below to find out more about Plastering, what is involved in Plastering NVQ training and how SB Skills can help you get where you want to get to with plastering.


What does a Plasterer do?

Plasterers are required on any medium sized to large scale construction project to coat the inside walls and ceilings of buildings. This helps preserve the structure and prepare them for decorating. You may also work on exterior plaster renderings.

Plastering can be broken down into three main subsets;

  1. Dry Lining: Dry Lining involved applying internal plasterboard or wallboard sections to a frame composed of metal or timber. This makes these structures more compartmentalised and makes them ready for decorating.
  2. Solid Plastering: In Solid Plastering, a wet finish is applied to surfaces. This enables protective materials to be incorporated. This includes materials like pebbledash and external walls.
  3. Fibrous Plastering: Fibrous Plastering straddles the line between artform and construction. This practice allows ornamental features to be created such as architraves and ceiling features. This is done using a mixture of plaster and short fibers that are shaped by using moulds and casts.


What do I need to become a Plasterer?

Although you do not need a formal qualification to be a Plasterer, most building site managers tend to want some form of qualification or apprenticeship that proves and demonstrates a profound interest in the industry. An example of this can include the Level 3 NVQ in Plastering that we offer here at SB Skills. Using this qualification you should be able to obtain a Gold CSCS Card or Advanced Craft Card that proves mastery of your craft.


If you want to learn more about Level 3 NVQ Plastering, give us a call on 01695 558420



Roofing and Cladding Training

Photo by William Wendling on Unsplash


Roofing or domestic roof construction is the process of creating the ‘framing and roof covering that is found on most detached houses in cold and temperate climates.’ Most buildings are built using timber as the main framework for the shape of the roof. This is then followed by cladding; the applying of materials on top to protect against the elements as well as to offer thermal insulation.


Why are they important skills?

Every single building has to go through these two stages early on in construction. Every roof must have a strong framework and every roof must be covered with materials to protect against the environment. Both usually work in conjunction with each other and both are skills which are essential in most construction projects. And what’s more, SB Skills offer the perfect Roofing and Cladding NVQ course to for people interested in pursuing a career in these fields.
Let’s look at them a little closely…


Roofer – Job Description

A roofer, is a construction worker who specialises in all aspects of roof construction; from roofs repair, replacement to installation. They use a variety of materials including timber, metal, bitumen and shingles; all important components for the framework of any roofs. Roofing is typically very hard work; it entails a lot of heavy lifting and bending, and most importantly, awareness of hazards all around. A Roofer will work in all sorts of conditions; from sun to snow to ice to rain which means that he or she must be prepared to work in all types of weather conditions.


Types of Roofers

There are many various types of roofers:

  • Shinglers – who mainly install shingles, “a thin, flat piece of wood or other material” (1) such as tiles or any such material than can be nailed on a roof.
  • Metal roofers- those who specialise fitting primarily metal panels.
  • Flat roofers- those who specialise in foam roofs.
  • Hot roofers- those who work using tar-based products.

There are also varies types of roofer depending on the industry, typically in the category of:

  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Factory Shed roofers
  • Residential roofers

Even more so, depending on the materials that are used, roofing can be categorised as:

  • Steel roofing
  • PVC roofing
  • Polycarbonate roofing
  • Steel roofing
  • Terrace roofing
    And more…

Having a skill-set in all types of roofing is usually better than specialising in one area as many jobs require multiple roofing requirements.


Cladding- Job Description

In construction, “cladding is used to provide a degree of thermal insulation and weather resistance, and to improve the appearance of buildings.” A cladder is someone who  fits cladding materials, such as soffit tiles (waterproof sheets) to the roof. This step is done after the roofing process. Like a roofer, a cladder must also be able to work in all types of weather as well as lift heavy equipment throughout the day. Roofing and cladding are job roles that go hand in hand being building processes that follow up from each other.

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash



Types of Cladding

Cladding can be in the form of many materials, such as, metal, brick, vinyl as well as composite materials which include wood, aluminium, as well as wheat/ rice straw fibres.

Rainscreen Cladding – a type of cladding which is designed to protect against the natural elements whilst offering thermal insulation. It is more of a ‘system’ in the form of a double-wall construction that uses an outer layer to protect against the elements as well as an inner layer that prevents heat loss using the appropriate cladding material.  Cladding is also the feature that controls the element of noise from both entering and exiting a building.

Window Capping –  a type of cladding which refers to the applying of aluminium or vinyl sheeting cut to fit over the exterior of a building. The main purpose is for long-lasting interior and better protection against the elements.

You can learn more about roofing and cladding or gain an NVQ today with SB Skills.

NVQ in Roofing and Cladding is an example.



Domestic roof construction: what’s involved? – The Manufacturer”. The Manufacturer. Retrieved 2018-11-08.

Adam Boult (16 June 2017). “What is cladding, and why can it be a fire risk?”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2017.


Written by Charlotte H. Lawrence


Virtual Reality Forklift Training: Do we need it?

E-Commerce and in-store orders that are delivered to your front door are becoming increasingly prevalent. Notability, orders that would have previously taken 5+ days can be delivered the following day or, in some cases, in only a few hours! So what has caused this to happen and can Forklift Training keep up? 

To satisfy demand, retailers and warehouse management companies are increasingly buying up storage space closer and closer to customers. This diversification cuts delivery times down massively and enables these companies to beat their competition. This is more apparent in the US, where the renting market on warehouses increased a massive 9.9% from 2013 to 2015.

But how is there even the demand for these services? Online, delivered products now account for roughly 20% of modern purchasing. This means that online shopping is only going to grow as a market and warehousing, along with forklift use, is going to grow along with it.


Forklift Training

With the increasing growth of the warehouse sector, the demand for competent, well trained and experienced forklift drivers is increasing. Forklift driving is not simple. To avoid accidents and injuries that can harm and disrupt fellow warehouse workers and businesses, proper forklift certification is required. This is because, unlike other warehouse jobs, forklift driving is not a pre-set routine that utilises a conveyor belt.

There is a global demand for Forklift Training and Forklift jobs. In the US, according to the website, 1,515 adverts for forklift operators are shown. Compared to 1,748 jobs for all other warehouse professions, including dock workers, production, pickers, material handlers and package handlers, this represents a massive demand for Forklift Operators and drivers. According to the UK Bureau of Labour Statistics, this represents a projected growth of more than 12% for the next year.

With the increasing industrialisation of Asia, Africa, South America and Russia who are focusing on repairing and investing in energy infrastructure, forklift operators are in demand to move and organise pipeline components.

Finally, the UK has its own demand for forklift operators. With the increasing popularity of companies such as Amazon and Ocado, the British public have grown a taste for fast product delivery. Combined with new markets requiring forklift operators that may emerge post-Brexit, the UK needs forklift operators and Forklift Training.

Why is forklift training so important?

Forklift driving is an incredibly technical art. It is an incredibly important aspect in the warehouse supply chain. Therefore, failure to properly execute this job can be disastrous to both the business and other warehouse workers. This means that proper and effective training is demanded for this modern, relevant profession.


Read More about this from the Huffington Post…

Meeting the urgency for forklift operator training

To fill the demand for forklift operator jobs, newer training technologies such as using virtual reality (VR) software are being used.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognises the VR training and certification as a viable option to meet the training demands in the market. The training can be done at work or at home on a desktop, laptop, mobile phone or tablet as long as the student has an internet connection.

To get forklift operators ready for warehouse work requires several skills beyond pushing the “on” button. OSHA requirements include:

• Forklift workers should not operate a forklift unless or until they have been trained and licensed.
• All comprehensive written and safety programs have been completed.
• Training must address issues that affect the stability of a forklift.
• Stand-up forklift operators must hold on firmly, and lean away from the point of impact using rear-entry access.
• All operator restraints must be used on sit-down forklifts.
• All lift truck operators must do a full safety inspection of their vehicle prior to starting work.

Newer forklift technology

The days of forklifts operating in dirty warehouses are long gone. Technology has transformed the old forklift with bar-code scanners and labels on packages, shipping pallets that tell shippers and receivers exactly what’s in that bundle of freight as soon as it hits the loading dock.

Forklifts and trucks are now equipped with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. RFID technology is essential to warehouse operations. Radio waves can locate, read and gather information stored on a tag printed on an object. The tag can be read from several feet away using a scanner. The information is downloaded to a database, logged for storage and recorded using electronic data interchange (EDI) technology.

The data-gathering process sends the information to distribution centres and is then sent throughout all segments of the supply chain.

There are a lot of moving parts in the shipping and transporting process to keep the supply chain going. In order to load and offload cargo from the plant to distributors and then from distributors to consumers takes fully trained warehouse operation personnel.

Logistics is critical to keep the supply chain process going. To stay up with the demand and warehouse technology at all levels, in particular, the forklift operation, is essential.


Author: Geri Spieler


New High-Skilled Jobs in the UK with Construction Training Transformations and New Building Techniques.


A recent government publications from Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation has suggested that following a £72 million injection into the ‘Core Innovation Hub’, new jobs and high skilled positions in the construction industry will be promoted. In this project, research and development in alternative manufacturing methods such as digital modelling and offsite manufacturing will be promoted to advance knowledge and encourage new approached to construction methods, resulting in new jobs in additional construction industries.

Construction Safety

This diversification of the UK Construction industry is intended to introduce more standardised, modular, components and process’ to the constriction industry that will remove a number of construction health and safety risks and increase construction efficiency.

With these emerging technologies and the alternative skill sets that will be required by construction training, the government hopes to solve issues around unemployment, and access to opportunities for people with disabilities.

CPCS Training

In light of these new advances in Virtual Reality construction and the wide-spread engagement with, and adoption of, modular building using off-site construction methods, it is likely that CPCS Training and CPCS Card attainment will change to reflect the ways that construction plants will operate in the future. Indeed, the CPCS Management Committee continually amend and review the CPCS Training scheme when health issues, technological advances and new plant types are introduced and adopted in the UK.

Specific Goals

Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation cite long training process’ and an ageing construction workforce in the building trade as threats to the continued applicability of British constriction. This new project aims to make construction training more attractive and easier for younger generations.

Health and Safety concerns can also be remedied by this approach where construction design can be formulated in 3d modelling software and components can be manufactured in factories. This increases precision, reduces waste, allows a unified freedom of design in construction and can be designed to remove dangerous arduous tasks such as working at height.

Photo courtesy of Bryden Wood Technology Limited.

Retraining Construction Industries

New construction methods are touted as being incredibly simple when compared to traditional methods of construction. Here, a couple of weeks are considered enough time to learn the assembly process and can allow for a wider and more diverse range of people to enter the construction industry.

Sam Stacey, Challenge Director, UK Research and Innovation, said:

“We need to transform construction so that we can create affordable places to live and work that are safer, healthier and use less energy.”

“By taking a lead in the UK, we can increase our ability to export. Global demand for efficient buildings is rising rapidly, driven by the pressures of urbanisation, affordability and the need to cut emissions.”

Virtual Reality Construction to revolutionise Construction Training and Construction Design?

The Core Innovation Hub will intend to support and develop the use of digital design, advanced manufacturing, robotics, droned and augmented and virtual reality. This is to emulate the developments that has happened in other sectors of the economy including the automotive sector, with an aim to make construction faster, cheaper and more sustainable. The development of these technologies will also promote the implementation of smart sensors and digital systems in buildings.

During a visit to the Building Research Establishment (a funding recipient of the Core Innovation Hub), Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington said:

“We have the opportunity to revolutionise construction in the UK and the Core Innovation Hub will help us build smarter, greener and more efficient buildings much faster and cheaper than we do now.”

“From the introduction of virtual reality to off-site manufacturing, our modern Industrial Strategy, is helping the UK construction sector to develop new techniques and skills – modernising the sector and delivering the homes and buildings our nation needs.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick said:

“Our manufacturing industry is vital to the UK, contributing billions to the economy every year.”

“This new fund will see it partner with our construction and digital sectors to revolutionise the way we develop crucial infrastructure. It will enable us to build in more efficient and cost-effective ways, boost productivity and ensure we are fit for the future.”


Is it Illegal to tow a trailer with Earthmoving Equipment?

JCB Large Machinery Logo

Towing a trailer on the back of heavy earthmoving equipment is a common sight on many sites in the UK. This includes towing attachments, generators, lighting towers and other required equipment. However, in new advice provided to JCB by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), the agency stated that the use of any earthmoving equipment to tow any trailer on the public highway is illegal, even when the only cargo is transport attachments.

This is important news in the Plant Operator industry because towing a trailer with attachments was previously understood to not be classified as “Engineering Plant” by the wider industry.

Following the news, JCB states that they plan on lobbying for a change to this legislation in their blog post here:

They cite in this post that their main point of contention is that is is legal to tow a trailer with attachments behind a car or van, but not a 11.5 tonne excavator which is speed limited! They also state that they will be be working with their engineering devision to find solutions that allows attachments to be carried on-board their excavators and other large machinery.


Tesla Roofing Tiles are now in Production

Tesla Roofing tiles with integrated solar panels are now going into production.


Image Credit: Tesla

After the 2016 announcement, the Tesla roofing tiles were expected to be the next best thing. More durable than the standard tile, easier to clean and containing an invisible solar panel that transforms the utility of your whole roof; these are expected to revolutionise the roofs of homes all over the globe. These tiles also come in multiple styles to match the aesthetic of all sorts of homes and will be cheaper than conventional solar panels! We envision these tiles will be changing the way roofers coming through our Roofing and Cladding NVQ will be working in the future.


These tiles have now finally started to go into production at Tesla’s facility in New York according to Reuters. It is also reported that Tesla is now surveying houses that signed up to the $1000 reserve scheme, meaning the company likely expects to begin shipping and installation soon.


Prices for these tiles is expected to come in between 10% and 15% less than that of a new roof and solar panel array. These roofing tiles are designed to mimic many different styles, ensuring that your home has the perfect solar tile to match.

Cost and Maintenance

Depending on utilities costs in your local area, estimations have been placed that a 30-year use of solar tiles could generate not only savings on energy costs but even generate profit! Tesla has given an example of Maryland, USA where with tax credits and a Tesla Powerwall, the home generates $8000 in its lifetime.

If you want to learn more about our Roofing and Cladding Courses you can find out more about recent developments here.

Read more below…

The environmental benefits of solar roofing are many. Not only do they help relieve the burden on fossil fuel generation, they also do so by reclaiming space that’s already utilized. New solar farms are excellent for providing increasing amounts of electricity to larger areas but developers often have to use large swaths of land to ensure their farms are economically viable. Like other solar panels used for domestic energy supply, Tesla’s solar roofing tiles take advantage of areas that are already used up by buildings, but they do it in a more cost effective way.


Author: Patrick Caughill

Link to article:


Crawler Crane Operator pay rises by 54% in only two years?

Crawler Crane Operator pay rises by a whopping 54% in the last two years, compared to 11% for the rest of the construction industry since the Brexit referendum, according to staffing software company.

The Construction industry is a fast-paced industry that sees changes in construction techniques, and popular projects. However, Crawler Crane Operators have seen an astronomical increase in average pay of 54% according to Engage Technology Partners, who have analysed data collected since June 2016. This analysis of the pay changes was attributed pay rises to changes in migrant labour trends.

Additionally, electrical testers saw pay increases of 34% and steel fixers have seen a rise of 22%.

The Director of Engage, Drey Francis commented; “In its report on the potential impact of Brexit on the industry, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) highlighted the sheer extent of reliance on international staff, with some locations such as London reporting that over half of the construction workforce consists of migrant workers. While there’s certainly no agreement on the terms of our exit, the impact on the industry is already being noted – and we can expect to see wages rise further in the near future as talent demands continue to stretch.”

Read more below about the latest in the Crane Operator Industry.

Paul Johnson, director of GH Johnson Crane Hire, one the UK’s biggest crawler crane hire companies, said: “As someone who actually pays crawler crane operators I can assure you that this is utter garbage.”

He added: “The construction sector as a whole is probably busier than it was two years ago – meaning there are more crawler crane operators in full-time employment – but pressure on crane rental rates, caused by competition and cheap finance, means that crawler crane operators’ pay has been almost flat since 2016.”

Author: The Construction Index

Link to original article: