How to become a construction manager: Abdullah's story

Meet Abdullah, 21, who works as a construction manager in London. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Abdullah on a construction site.
"Coming into an industry which I had no previous experience in was a difficult transition."

What is your job?

Managing construction operations on site for Mace, an international construction and consultancy company. Supervising works, organising and planning future works, and maintaining health and safety. I do site walks to coordinate the day-to-day activities.

What skills do you need?

Communication is really important – you have to be able to communicate effectively with anyone and everyone. Leadership skills as well – if you’re managing an area you have to be able to lead people and work with different personalities. I also need technical skills in construction so I can understand the work that happens on site.

Which subjects did you study?

For my GCSEs I did Triple Science, English, French and Geography. At A-level I did Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Literature. The qualifications helped me get the job, but also the impression that I made in the interview. Last year I finished an HNC in Construction, which is a two-year course. This year I’m doing a Level 6 NVQ.

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

No. I sort of stumbled my way into it, after taking a year out after finishing my A-levels. I looked at different opportunities and this one stood out to me because of the versatility of the job and the ability to travel around the world and do the job anywhere.

Abdullah at a construction site.
Abdullah at a construction site.

Top tip

  • Working hard and getting your qualifications will support you in whatever career you decide to go into
  • Going into work can be a big step. Don't worry – you will gain confidence over time.

What to expect if you want to be a construction manager

  • Construction manager salary: £27,000 to £70,000 per year
  • Construction manager hours: 41 to 43 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: An apprenticeship or university degree are both routes into this career. Higher or degree apprenticeships are available in construction management. You’ll usually need four or five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A-levels (or equivalent) for a higher or a degree apprenticeship. If you decide to study at university, you'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building in a subject like Building Engineering, Surveying or Civil Engineering, or Construction Site Management.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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