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A groundworker is a type of construction worker who typically prepares foundations, lays drainage and pipes and may even build roads. The groundworker role involves everything to do with preparing the ground for building on. This highly essential role is very diverse as there are many different plant machines and tools that will be used at every stage in the process. But how do you start out to become a groundworker? This guide will include everything you need to know to become an effective groundworker.

Why choose a career in groundworks?

Groundworks is a challenging role as it involves being outdoors for long periods of time. However, if being part of one of the most fundamental aspects in building work appeals to you, then it could be the start of a great career in construction.

Groundworkers are also highly sought after as most construction works will require groundworkers to prepare the ground for construction as well as installing adequate drainage and pipe systems.

Desirable Skills and Attributes

As you may know, all jobs require a certain skillset and mindset before starting out which will help you to learn and adapt to the role. For a groundworker these skills include:

  • Good physical fitness
  • Communication skills
  • Understanding of site health and safety
  • Basic numeracy skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to interpret construction drawings
  • Adaptability
  • Reliability
  • Good work ethic

If this sounds like you, then you could be the perfect fit for groundworking. However, if you’d like to take on a role as a groundworker, you could be in better standing with employers if you already have a CSCS card.

Do I need a CSCS card to be a groundworker?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme, otherwise known as CSCS is the most well-recognised card scheme within construction. This card is often the base requirement of most contractors. Although it isn’t a legal requirement and you can technically work without one, you may struggle as employers are under a responsibility to ensure that you are adequately trained to safely operate in the work environment.

So, to make yourself a suitable applicant for the role, a CSCS card would be very beneficial.

You can find out how to get a Green CSCS card here.

What are the duties of a groundworker?

Groundworkers are responsible for a wide range of duties on site. Some of these duties include:

  • All different methods of the pipe laying process from start to finish.
  • Excavations and shoring.
  • New road formation and how it is constructed.
  • Construction of manholes.
  • Laying kerbs and edgings to form new roads

What qualifications do Groundworkers need?

The qualifications you may require when applying for a role as a groundworker can vary greatly as the role is diverse. But, there are some qualifications that employers will be looking out for which can make you a highly desirable applicant who can take on more responsibility, and therefore, deserving of higher wages.

The first thing you will need is the Green CSCS Labourers card as mentioned above.

Secondly, a plant machinery qualification would allow you to take on more responsibility. Two good pieces of machinery to start out with are the Forward Tipping Dumper and the Ride on Roller.

The Forward Tipping Dumper is used to transport spoil that is removed by an excavator. This spoil will then be transported away from the excavation area and discharged elsewhere. A Forward Tipping Dumper is an essential piece of machinery in the foundation laying process.

The Ride on Roller can be used later in the process as it will be used to compact the ground using varying levels of vibrations. By compacting the ground, it will become a more stable foundation.

As groundworkers are responsible for all of these tasks, having a qualification could show potential employers that you are highly skilled and will be able to undertake a wide range of site roles. As well as this, you will be able to rotate your tasks on-site to find which area of construction suits you best.

There are a few other plant training categories such as the plant machinery marshal, or the 360 excavator course that could help you in your career. Speak to one of our advisors to find out the best qualification for your career.

How much do groundworkers earn?

Groundworkers can receive a good wage depending on experience and qualifications.

If you’re brand new to the industry and hoping to gain some experience before undertaking any qualifications higher than the Green CSCS Card, you could be looking at a wage of around £15 per hour.

With more qualifications, you could be looking at around £17 – £20 per hour.

Do I need experience?

As with all jobs, there is always a bonus to having experience before applying.

However, there are groundworker vacancies that require little experience. You may be looking at a slightly lower pay level, but with time and qualifications, you could see your wages rise as you take on more site responsibility.

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