The construction and built environment sector

The construction industry has had its ups and downs over recent years.  However, in Norfolk and the East of England there is much house building planned for the coming years.  The number of jobs within some roles is expected to grow, however there are also jobs such as electrician where the number of jobs isn’t expected to rise but skilled people will be needed to replace those who leave.


What is happening?

  • Between 2018 and 2021 it’s predicted there will be 3,970 new jobs each year in the East of England.  Roles most in demand include: electrical trades, painters and decorators, wood trades and interior fitters, civil engineers, and other construction professional and technical staff.  
  • Over 70,000 people are employed in construction and related occupations across Norfolk and Suffolk
  • 117,000 new homes are targeted to be built in Norfolk and Suffolk by 2026.  This will create many new jobs in the construction sector.
  • Environmental targets and new materials and technologies means there are some exciting new areas to work in such as intelligent buildings and 3D modelling and printing.
  • The new reactor planned for Sizewell C in Suffolk will be the largest civil engineering building project in Europe with many jobs in construction and engineering.
  • The number of women starting a career in construction is growing, as is the number of self-employed - currently at around 40% of people working in construction.
  • Apprenticeships are a good way into this sector and there are around 90 different types to choose from: also look out for courses in heritage craft skills for the opportunity to work on older buildings.
  • The National Construction College, whose headquarters are at Bircham Newton near King’s Lynn, is a national centre for training in construction trades and offers a superb environment and a wide range of training courses.

Skills and qualities

  • Communication
  • Advanced digital and ICT skills
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership and management
  • Maths
  • Attention to detail
  • Team working
  • Planning & organisation
  • Reliability
  • Design

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Design & technology
  • ICT
  • Science
  • Chemistry
  • Business studies
  • Languages

What could you earn?

Painter and decorator £15,700 - £29,300
Bricklayer £18,150 - £27,450
Carpenter or joiner £17,450 - £32,700
Plumbing/heating and ventilation engineer £20,500 - £37,550
Roofer £21,200 - £28,150
Electrician £18,850 - £44,650
Construction project manager £23,250 - £46,000
Architect £24,050 - £51,600
Civil engineer

£27,100 - £52,050

Quantity surveyor £22,050 - £49,400

Local employers


Pathways into this sector

Getting good grades in maths, English and STEM subjects will help you to get into this sector and keep your career options open.

At 16, options include A levels, an apprenticeship or a vocational qualification at level 1, 2 or 3 perhaps in a craft skill such as bricklaying or carpentry and joinery. Entry requirements for apprenticeships can vary so check first.

At 18 or 19, you could opt to study for a relevant degree at university or train through an apprenticeship.  Higher or degree apprenticeships are an option for some roles and more will be available soon.  Specialist courses are also available, for example in heritage and traditional building skills.

You could also consider if applying for an apprenticeship or graduate programme might be for you.  Many large employers offer places in a variety of careers and locations.  These can be highly competitive so start looking early when applications become open - usually around the beginning of the year.

Gaining relevant experience, such as work experience, a paid job or voluntary work will also improve your chances of finding a job in this sector.  You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on a site.

Alternative routes into this sector

If you don't yet have the skills, confidence or experience to progress into further education courses or get an apprenticeship in this sector, you could consider a traineeship or other short course - a course with work experience that can help prepare you for further education, work or an apprenticeship.

On Help You Choose you can find information on courses, apprenticeships and other options.

On the web