Job profile – Scaffolder

Not afraid of heights?! If you are a practical person and are persuing a career in construction, scaffolding maybe what you are looking for. Scaffolders construct temporary structures using scaffolding to enable workers to gain access to attain access to higher  levels  of the structure during construction projects.

Scaffolders need  to have to be capable of adhering  to and complying with instructions precisely. You would need excellent balance, physical fitness, and coordiantion.

Scaffolders typically start out as a scaffold labourer and gain qualification throughout their career whilst working. Some companies also offer an apprenticeship.


The work

Scaffolders erect and strike (take down) scaffolding that enables other workers  to access to the higher levels of structures. The responsibilities can consist of :
  • loading and unloading scaffolding equipment at the site
  • setting base plates; these stop upright poles from slipping
  • Erecting scaffold poles (standards) and attaching horizontal tubes (ledgers) to them with couples
  • fix scaffolding to the structure to make it secure and stable utilising tie tables.
  • laying planks across the scaffolding
  • fixing guard rails and safety netting
  • Striking (taking down the scaffolding)
  • Scaffolding is also used to construct temporary spectator stands.


Working Hours

Working hours will generally vary depending on whether your are self employed working through a construction agency, privately or for a company. Typically hours are 08:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday. Depending on the project you are working on Weekend and evening work are sometimes available.



Working through a construction agency Scaffolders hourly rate varies betwen £8.00 to £22.00 per hour depending upon experience and job location.


Entry requirements

Normally you would start out as Scaffold labourer or a trainee scaffolder (part 1). Companies typically prefer to have  Construction site experience – if you have not been employed in construction before you can acquire experience operating as a labourer. Another option is to get on an apprentice scheme.

The Construction Industry Scaffolders’ Record Scheme (CISRS)  is the scaffolding industries recognised qualification. CISRS have a card scheme that shows scaffolding employers that you are a competent scaffolder. You can gain the card at all levels of your career (labourer, trainee part 1, part 2, advanced and supervisor.


Training and development

After you have started work as a trainee scaffolder and finished a health and safety  course, you will be entitled to apply for a Trainee card and can begin your training. This includes the following:

  • Experience on-site
  • Training of site with a CISRS-approved training provider
  • Completion of NVQ L2 in Accessing Operations and Rigging.


Following completion of the trainee course, you can apply for the scaffolder card, and will have the capability to carryout basic scaffolding erection, dismantling and alteration as part of a scaffolding team.


The next stage is the Advanced card, this allows you to work on more complex scaffolding projects. The advanced course involves:

  • a required 12 months further experience
  • attendance of the advanced course
  • completion of an NVQ L3 in Access and Rigging Operations
  • completion of a health and safety test.


The final stage is a supervisor card, to get this you have to complete:

  • a 5-day Supervisory course
  • a Construction Skills Supervisory construction skills health and safety test.


Skills, interests and qualities

To be a scaffolder you should have:

  • the ability to follow instructions accurately
  • good balance, physical fitness, and coordiantion.
  • not afraid of heights
  • organisational skills
  • the capability to work as part of a close team
  • comprehension of safe working practices.