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The pros and cons of a career in scaffolding

18th October 2019

At SIMIAN we are often asked for advice regarding careers in our sector. Obviously, we are advocates for the industry and we take a proactive approach to encouraging young people to consider careers in scaffolding. However, our extensive experience of scaffolding, training, health & safety and consultancy means we have experience of all aspects of the work involved and are in a good position to offer a balanced view on what careers in the industry can and can’t offer.

Here’s an overview of some of the pros and cons of pursuing a career in scaffolding.

career in scaffolding


Ideal path for school leavers

For those considering their career options and making a decision about starting work or continuing in education its worth noting that there are very few barriers to entry in the industry.  Whilst continuing in full-time education can be the right move for many of those looking to enter the world of work straight away, scaffolding can be a viable option for school leavers.

This could mean starting out as a scaffolding labourer or apprentice. Learning on the job is what appeals to many of the scaffolding apprentices we train and they benefit from a combination of training, (which leads to recognised qualifications) and real experience. They become part of a team and are paid a salary while they learn too.

Lots of opportunities

In the UK at the moment there is a skills shortage in the construction sector and scaffolding is listed as being in the top 5 for all UK construction skills shortages.  Whilst this might be bad news for the industry it is good news for those seeking job opportunities within the sector.

Excellent career progression

For those who are committed to progressing in their careers, there are excellent training courses and clear progression paths.  All of our consultants, inspectors and instructors started out as apprentices or labourers and progressed to their current roles.

No two days are the same

The work is varied and physical. The perfect antidote to office life. If being sat at a desk day in day out is your worst nightmare then scaffolding couldn’t be more different. The majority of the work is outdoors, and Scaffolders tend to travel around to work at different sites.

There are often opportunities to work overseas, many scaffolding components are universal so experienced Scaffolders can work almost anywhere. UK scaffolding training and qualifications are amongst the best in the world. We adhere to high safety standards and consequently UK trained Scaffolders are sought after.

Meet great people

Scaffolding involves a lot of teamwork. There is generally a good sense of camaraderie and many Scaffolders cite the opportunity to work with others and as part of a team as an important part of why they enjoy what that they do.

Working away from home

Travel is often required. It is possible to pursue a career in the industry focused on working in a specific geographical location, particularly if you are city based, but many Scaffolders and scaffolding companies tend to travel to different jobs. Working away from home isn’t uncommon so if you have a wanderlust – scaffolding may be the ideal career choice.

Health and safety concerns

Some people consider scaffolding work to be dangerous – but that’s never the case if a Scaffolder is working in an appropriate manner.  The UK scaffolding industry is widely regarded as being the safest in the world and that’s because of the excellent working standards that are applied. The UK’s guidance, which is primarily produced by the National Access and Scaffolding Federation, is viewed internationally as being the aspirational standard.

Physically demanding work

Scaffolding work is always physical. Unloading and carrying materials and actually putting up and taking down scaffolding is a fantastic way to get or stay fit.


We can’t think of any. Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we?!

If you are considering a career in scaffolding and would like to speak to one of the team at SIMIAN about the different career paths, please get in touch.