How I Left Retail For A Career In Construction

by A Guest Author

When I heard about the CSCS tests I have to admit I was a little worried.  It had been many years since I last had a test and the word alone made me panic. However as the old saying goes, needs must, and therefore I had no choice but to bite the bullet and sign up for a test to get the card I needed. I need not have worried; everything went through without a hitch.

Making a Change from Retail to Construction

When I left school I went straight into retail but after ten years of working behind the counter I felt I needed a change. I love to be active, I train when not at work and keeping in shape is important to me. So when a friend offered me some work on his construction site to tide me over I jumped at the chance. After my first day I was sore as anything but it felt good. Being outside in the open air and performing some manual labour (even if it was just keeping the site tidy and mixing cement) made such a change from stacking shelves and serving customers. My friend was unable to offer me anything permanent, but when he needed the help I would go along and learn some of the skills and rules regarding staying safe on site.

After working the odd few days here and there I decided that a career in the construction industry would be my next move.  There were no retail jobs available and I didn’t fancy working in a call centre or office for the rest of my working life.  I began signing up with agencies and applying for work with companies working nearby. Even though I only wanted basic labouring work until I could afford some extra training in a specialised area I found it practically impossible to get hired.  The main concern was over the fact that I had no formal health and safety training; even with a little bit of experience in labouring I had the employers would always pick someone else.

Without the Qualifications I Found Myself Stuck in a Rut

I thought that I would have to give up on changing my career and wait around for a retail job to pop up until I met my builder mate for a pint. He told me it would really help my cause if I studied for a card which shows I have had some training in health and safety on site. I was worried about the cost, as I had spent most of my redundancy money by then, but he assured me it was really cheap.  My mate also said some employers will take you on and then send you on the course as it’s essential for all labourers and other workers to have health and safety training up to a certain standard.

I didn’t want to wait around to be hired, seeing as I had spent month’s job hunting already so I looked online and found a place where I could train and sit the test I needed.  It was really cheap too so I booked my place there and then and started to work through the material. Like I said earlier I was really worried that it would be too hard, or that I would fail, but it was surprisingly achievable. I managed to pass the test first time, which felt really good. Since then I have finally managed to gain employment with one of the local construction companies who are now training me up even further.

Without the test I doubt I would have found work yet, and I would have probably given up in the idea. As it is I am earning a good wage, working to improve my career and enjoying working out and working all in one go.

If you are looking to start working in the construction industry the CSCS tests are essential. Don’t sit on the side lines, make yourself employable within days.

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