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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc 21:53 - May 31 with 6419 viewsskyblue23

So when I left school I was released from the Ipswich academy and my world came crashing down after believing I would make it as a footballer, joined Colchester for a year and that didn’t go anywhere either.

I ended up in customer service and selling as a lot of people do who didn’t know what they wanted to do at the time and have struggled to get out of it. In March I was made redundant and it’s given me time to think what I actually want to do with my life.

I’ve always liked the idea of getting into a physical role like the titles mentioned above but I’ve never known how you even start things off?

Do I need to go to college, do an apprenticeship, or can you just go straight in?

I’m used to earning around £24k per year, is that possible once you’ve qualified?

I’m in a position where I can earn less than what I’m used to for a short period to learn a trade, but I have no idea where to start.

Also I see CSCS mentioned a lot?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 21:58 - May 31 with 6181 viewsDubtractor

I would think you'd be best advised to look into doing an NVQ in the trade that interests you (eg joinery). You might find a firm willing to support you doing that, but no guarantees in the current climate.

There are a few on here in the building trade who may be able to give more complete advice than that! I think getting a qualification, or more importantly learning the skills by practicing them, is essential though.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 22:04 - May 31 with 6157 viewssolomon

What aspect of construction interests you? Was there anything you did in school that you thought may have held an interest? Apprenticeships in construction exist you just need to identify what appeals to you. The CSCS card will be required to work on site, the test for site operatives is not too taxing just a lot of common sense with regard to health and safety, it only gets a lot harder for management roles, if you’re curious about that you can download the cscs test app and just run dummy tests to see how you do.
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 22:06 - May 31 with 6148 viewsNthsuffolkblue

Apprenticeships are often the best way into the ones you list. They are available for anyone over the age of 16 and some can pay very well. There are various levels, although if you are coming without a certain level of qualification already I am unsure if you can jump into a higher level one.

Try looking here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

The Government site advertises a lot of companies offering things and should be searchable. If you have trouble finding that bit let me know and I will ask someone who knows.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 22:22 - May 31 with 6100 viewsskyblue23

Thanks for all your replies, all really helpful! I’ll take a look on that link and see what I can find. I wouldn’t say I’m dedicated to getting into one particular sector, I just want something that is Monday to Friday (Family reasons), I train to do it and once I know it I can crack on. Just physical work has always appealed to me but I’ve been stuck in customer service roles for years and finally have the chance to make a change before I’m doing it for the rest of my life!

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 23:37 - May 31 with 6013 viewsMarshalls_Mullet

Must be hard to take when released from an Academy!

Any trade can be a good career, is there a particular one that you are more passionate about than others?

Of all the trades I know, joiners seem to be the ones that go on to be the best all rounders and become builders or contractors.

...plenty of trades people in our village also have very nice houses due to continually trading up through renovating and moving on.

Good luck, and hats of to you for getting over the hurdles that you've had put in your way.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:16 - Jun 1 with 5828 viewsitfcjoe

Depends how long you've got to learn a trade and earn poor money before you need to start earning back somewhere around the level you are currently on.

Things like carpentry, plumbing and electrics will earn you better money long term - but take longer to get to a level of competence and realistically will be 2-3 years before you can start earning proper money - and that is if you are lucky to find yourself in the right place at the right time.

Brickwork is easier to learn, evening courses at college etc, but you'll prob need to go in as a labourer and it's hard to get away from that once started.

The 'easiest' trade to pick up is plastering, as a large part of it is just a knack and learning it. It's heavy work, tough on your body, and in many parts very skilled - but just learning to skim will give you a foot in the door at least. Once you get good would be charging about £120-150 a day.

Labouring you could do straight away, and if you are good can easily get £100 a day.

Having your own transport is a big deal, CSCS card is a piece of p155.

Do you know anyone in the trade? That will always be your best way in - helping them out for a bit of money, being keen and tryiong to learn from them. Tiling a trade like that.

But look at the evening courses at the colleges nearby, as they'll teach you the basics - but be prepared to practice in your own time. Painting and decorating good for that as you can learn, and redecorate your house to practice, if it's rendered you can even learn the externals, timber windows even better....

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:37 - Jun 1 with 5802 viewsEdwardStone

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:16 - Jun 1 by itfcjoe

Depends how long you've got to learn a trade and earn poor money before you need to start earning back somewhere around the level you are currently on.

Things like carpentry, plumbing and electrics will earn you better money long term - but take longer to get to a level of competence and realistically will be 2-3 years before you can start earning proper money - and that is if you are lucky to find yourself in the right place at the right time.

Brickwork is easier to learn, evening courses at college etc, but you'll prob need to go in as a labourer and it's hard to get away from that once started.

The 'easiest' trade to pick up is plastering, as a large part of it is just a knack and learning it. It's heavy work, tough on your body, and in many parts very skilled - but just learning to skim will give you a foot in the door at least. Once you get good would be charging about £120-150 a day.

Labouring you could do straight away, and if you are good can easily get £100 a day.

Having your own transport is a big deal, CSCS card is a piece of p155.

Do you know anyone in the trade? That will always be your best way in - helping them out for a bit of money, being keen and tryiong to learn from them. Tiling a trade like that.

But look at the evening courses at the colleges nearby, as they'll teach you the basics - but be prepared to practice in your own time. Painting and decorating good for that as you can learn, and redecorate your house to practice, if it's rendered you can even learn the externals, timber windows even better....


Long time builder here

I echo Joe's point about just getting onto a building site by helping out a mate. When you are there, just keep looking at what all the other workers are doing, sparkies, tilers, chippies etc. Keep asking questions and hopefully you will soon see something that catches your interest

Building industry tends to be very casual, easy hire/easy fire so if you do get a start there is no guarantee of your position.....the dreaded 3pm Friday award of the DCM....Don't Come Monday

As Joe mentions, own transport is a huge plus....tackle every job willingly, make yourself indispensable by making the brew and tidying the canteen area, be reliable/on time. Basic stuff, but through the years I have fired a huge number of young wannabes for repeated no-show, lateness, "I ain't doing that", sarky attitude

Good luck finding something....no job I would rather have
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:55 - Jun 1 with 5781 viewsskyblue23

Thank you for all the advice!

Getting released was very difficult having spent 5 years there and being talked up by Andy Rhodes. Given letters to give to my school to take the day off instead of studying GCSE’s so I could do a full day training regularly, genuinely thought I was going to make it! Then we played Southend at play ford road, lost 4.1 and I had an absolute stinker in goal. I couldn’t even get the ball off the ground from goal kicks. Andy Rhodes took me to his office with my dad straight after the game and told me it was all over with another guy coming in who was Hungarian already arranged. Massive blow but that’s life!

I wouldn’t ever have any issues with not showing or time keeping, and always give 100% in what I do. My issue is I have no family or friends who work in any type of trade. I know of people, but not really people that I know well enough to help me out. I did send a message to a company this morning and they’ve said they aren’t looking in the current climate which is fair enough and expected.

I’ll keep looking and see where I get. Ideally I need a job soon, but I can survive on rubbish money for a year or so because my wife is being good enough to offer me the chance to do this knowing it would make me happy to learn a trade and get out of customer service roles.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:57 - Jun 1 with 5770 viewsitfcjoe

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:55 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

Thank you for all the advice!

Getting released was very difficult having spent 5 years there and being talked up by Andy Rhodes. Given letters to give to my school to take the day off instead of studying GCSE’s so I could do a full day training regularly, genuinely thought I was going to make it! Then we played Southend at play ford road, lost 4.1 and I had an absolute stinker in goal. I couldn’t even get the ball off the ground from goal kicks. Andy Rhodes took me to his office with my dad straight after the game and told me it was all over with another guy coming in who was Hungarian already arranged. Massive blow but that’s life!

I wouldn’t ever have any issues with not showing or time keeping, and always give 100% in what I do. My issue is I have no family or friends who work in any type of trade. I know of people, but not really people that I know well enough to help me out. I did send a message to a company this morning and they’ve said they aren’t looking in the current climate which is fair enough and expected.

I’ll keep looking and see where I get. Ideally I need a job soon, but I can survive on rubbish money for a year or so because my wife is being good enough to offer me the chance to do this knowing it would make me happy to learn a trade and get out of customer service roles.


Where are you based currently?

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:02 - Jun 1 with 5754 viewsskyblue23

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:57 - Jun 1 by itfcjoe

Where are you based currently?


I’m in Colchester near the A12

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:05 - Jun 1 with 5748 viewsitfcjoe

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:02 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

I’m in Colchester near the A12


I'll keep an ear out for anything down that way.

We are mostly Ipswich based, but with having to do social distancing on sites currently already a bit overstaffed in reality

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:16 - Jun 1 with 5721 viewsskyblue23

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:05 - Jun 1 by itfcjoe

I'll keep an ear out for anything down that way.

We are mostly Ipswich based, but with having to do social distancing on sites currently already a bit overstaffed in reality


Brilliant, thank you so much! Really appreciate that and all of your advice!

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:54 - Jun 1 with 5689 viewsBlueForYou

I'm a Commercial Pipe Fitter/Plumber. Our side is more engineering & far more interesting than just domestic plumbing. I've taken four guys like you in the past, as just labourers/mates & all of them have gone on to get qualified & a are doing well. You're never out of work doing this & the money isn't too bad either. Get on a big site as a labourer & get talking to the Mechanical/Electrical teams. They're always busy & needing help, & take it from there. You have to start at the bottom, but I find slightly older guys are more willing to work hard & learn. Give it a try.
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 11:32 - Jun 1 with 5646 viewsjontysnut

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 22:22 - May 31 by skyblue23

Thanks for all your replies, all really helpful! I’ll take a look on that link and see what I can find. I wouldn’t say I’m dedicated to getting into one particular sector, I just want something that is Monday to Friday (Family reasons), I train to do it and once I know it I can crack on. Just physical work has always appealed to me but I’ve been stuck in customer service roles for years and finally have the chance to make a change before I’m doing it for the rest of my life!


are you still in the PFA? They helped my son when he was released
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:03 - Jun 1 with 5608 viewsskyblue23

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 11:32 - Jun 1 by jontysnut

are you still in the PFA? They helped my son when he was released


I’m not unfortunately, I’ve been completely out of touch with it all for quite a while now. I ended up getting quite ill and needing operations when I was 18/19 and never went back to it after that. Slight regret not going the semi pro route and throwing the towel in to be honest.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:04 - Jun 1 with 5605 viewsskyblue23

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 10:54 - Jun 1 by BlueForYou

I'm a Commercial Pipe Fitter/Plumber. Our side is more engineering & far more interesting than just domestic plumbing. I've taken four guys like you in the past, as just labourers/mates & all of them have gone on to get qualified & a are doing well. You're never out of work doing this & the money isn't too bad either. Get on a big site as a labourer & get talking to the Mechanical/Electrical teams. They're always busy & needing help, & take it from there. You have to start at the bottom, but I find slightly older guys are more willing to work hard & learn. Give it a try.


Thanks for the advice! That’s really what I need is somebody to give me a chance but it’s just knowing where to start!

Poll: Paul Lambert moves on, would you be happy if Jim Magilton was given another go?

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:10 - Jun 1 with 5595 viewsjontysnut

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:03 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

I’m not unfortunately, I’ve been completely out of touch with it all for quite a while now. I ended up getting quite ill and needing operations when I was 18/19 and never went back to it after that. Slight regret not going the semi pro route and throwing the towel in to be honest.


sorry to hear that. My son got his ankle crunched in a reserve game and it didn't mend. He played semi pro for a year but had to give that up to. He's just about to start his last year as a physio student - the PFA supports him. Good luck - hope it works out for you.
[Post edited 1 Jun 2020 12:11]
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:22 - Jun 1 with 5567 viewsOsborneOneNil

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 22:22 - May 31 by skyblue23

Thanks for all your replies, all really helpful! I’ll take a look on that link and see what I can find. I wouldn’t say I’m dedicated to getting into one particular sector, I just want something that is Monday to Friday (Family reasons), I train to do it and once I know it I can crack on. Just physical work has always appealed to me but I’ve been stuck in customer service roles for years and finally have the chance to make a change before I’m doing it for the rest of my life!


Mate, if you're ok with it go into plumbing. 2 of my mates have their own firms and are absolutely stacked, and are very well off.

Our local college runs courses in all trades, so get in touch with your local college and see what they offer.

Good luck.
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:33 - Jun 1 with 5555 viewsKeno

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:22 - Jun 1 by OsborneOneNil

Mate, if you're ok with it go into plumbing. 2 of my mates have their own firms and are absolutely stacked, and are very well off.

Our local college runs courses in all trades, so get in touch with your local college and see what they offer.

Good luck.


every wonder if you are in the wrong job??

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 19:47 - Jun 1 with 5397 viewsBlueForYou

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:04 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

Thanks for the advice! That’s really what I need is somebody to give me a chance but it’s just knowing where to start!


In this game its not what you know but who you know. look on indeed for Pipe Fitter/Plumbers mate jobs. Send me a pm & I'll chat to you on the phone, & if we find good common purpose, I'll recommend you. I'm based on the South Coast these days, but still have London/Surrey contacts. You have to get in the door, but its hard.
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 23:53 - Jun 2 with 5212 viewsNthsuffolkblue

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:03 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

I’m not unfortunately, I’ve been completely out of touch with it all for quite a while now. I ended up getting quite ill and needing operations when I was 18/19 and never went back to it after that. Slight regret not going the semi pro route and throwing the towel in to be honest.


Assuming you were in the PFA until you quit, they might still help you now. Can't do any harm getting in touch, explaining your situation and seeing whether they can and will.

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 01:30 - Jun 3 with 5120 viewsOsborneOneNil

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 12:33 - Jun 1 by Keno

every wonder if you are in the wrong job??


Haha! Yes, Keno, often.
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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 05:14 - Jun 3 with 5091 viewsRyorry

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 09:55 - Jun 1 by skyblue23

Thank you for all the advice!

Getting released was very difficult having spent 5 years there and being talked up by Andy Rhodes. Given letters to give to my school to take the day off instead of studying GCSE’s so I could do a full day training regularly, genuinely thought I was going to make it! Then we played Southend at play ford road, lost 4.1 and I had an absolute stinker in goal. I couldn’t even get the ball off the ground from goal kicks. Andy Rhodes took me to his office with my dad straight after the game and told me it was all over with another guy coming in who was Hungarian already arranged. Massive blow but that’s life!

I wouldn’t ever have any issues with not showing or time keeping, and always give 100% in what I do. My issue is I have no family or friends who work in any type of trade. I know of people, but not really people that I know well enough to help me out. I did send a message to a company this morning and they’ve said they aren’t looking in the current climate which is fair enough and expected.

I’ll keep looking and see where I get. Ideally I need a job soon, but I can survive on rubbish money for a year or so because my wife is being good enough to offer me the chance to do this knowing it would make me happy to learn a trade and get out of customer service roles.


If you want to keep some money coming in while you train, and have DIY skills, then advertise yourself locally as a Handyman, no job too small - anything from fitting tapwashers to flatpack assembly to putting down concrete bases for garden sheds, greenhouses etc.

In every place I've ever lived there's always been a shortage of good, reliable handymen, so you'd probably have a steady cashflow in.

You didn't mention a preference for indoor or outdoor work, so as well as the trades you've mentioned, there's also things like specialising in installing greenhouses, paddock work (fencing, mowing large areas of long grass, weedkilling) - finding someone to do those is like finding gold-dust!

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 13:28 - Jun 7 with 4879 viewsskyblue23

Just thought I’d let you all know as you’ve helped me out with advice and so on. I emailed around a few building companies and 1 garden landscaping company explaining I have no experience and want to learn etc.

I’ve been given a trial day tomorrow for the landscape gardening company so fingers crossed everything goes well! I didn’t want to close my options when I originally wrote on here but I’ve been saying to my family for years I’d love to get into garden landscaping so this is my big chance!

Thanks everybody!

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Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 13:33 - Jun 7 with 4873 viewsEdwardStone

Looking for advice on learning a trade builder/labourer/flooring etc on 13:28 - Jun 7 by skyblue23

Just thought I’d let you all know as you’ve helped me out with advice and so on. I emailed around a few building companies and 1 garden landscaping company explaining I have no experience and want to learn etc.

I’ve been given a trial day tomorrow for the landscape gardening company so fingers crossed everything goes well! I didn’t want to close my options when I originally wrote on here but I’ve been saying to my family for years I’d love to get into garden landscaping so this is my big chance!

Thanks everybody!


Delighted for you fella

Work hard, show willing and you should be fine

Good Luck with it, let us know tomorrow evening how it went plz
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