How To Become A Scaffolder


The Job

Scaffolders are responsible for putting up and taking down scaffolding so that workers can safely reach the higher levels of buildings during construction, reconstruction and maintenance.

The job includes unloading equipment at the site, putting up the poles and fixing the scaffolding to the building to ensure it is safe. You will also lay planks across the scaffolding for workers to walk on and fix guard rails and safety netting. At the end of a project you will be responsible for taking the scaffolding down again.

Scaffolderss should be comfortable working at heights and have a sensible attitude to health and safety at work. You will also need to have good practical and organisational skills, be a good team player and be prepared to work long hours, including weekends.

Annual Salary

Scaffolder Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - Entry

Minimum Qualifications

No formal qualifications are required to enter the profession as a trainee, although it will help to have GCSEs in English and maths at grade C or above as well as a Level 2 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.

Recommended Qualifications

Trainee scaffolders mush take the one-day New Entrant Trainee and Scaffolding Labourer course (COTS) which introduces the basic skills for safe site working. You can then apply for the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) trainee card. To progress, you must take a Part 1 (ten-day) training course with an accredited training provider. The Part 1 course includes health and safety, manual handing and fall prevention training, as well as practical and theory tests to ensure you meet the minimum performance standards.

After completing six months of practical experience you can take the Part 2 training course, which covers the more complex elements of scaffolding. You can then register for a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Accessing Operations & Rigging, which is available at Level 2 and Level 3.

You will then complete a further six months of practical experience so that you can gather evidence for your NVQ. You will also be expected to take a further one-day skills test.

More information on training to be a scaffolder is available from the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Useful websites

Average Working Hours Per Week = Varies


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

1-2 years

What Next/Career Development

You could develop your career with further training and assessment and take on additional responsibilities, such as supervising a scaffolding crew or inspecting scaffolding once it is up. With experience, you could go on to work for specialist firms, such as an oil and gas company.

Facts And Figures

The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) is the recognised trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK.*

The UK construction industry will need more than 600 additional qualified scaffolders every year from 2014 to 2018.**

82% of scaffolders are men.**

(Source: *NASC, **CITB).