A scaffolder uses tools to build a framework of interconnected metal tubes with timber walkways, so that construction workers can reach high levels of buildings during construction or renovation.
You could be:
unloading scaffolding, laying base plates to stop the scaffolding slipping and then putting up scaffolding poles
fitting tubes of metal scaffolding into gaps in the brickwork of a building under construction or clamping the scaffolding to window arches or other convenient structures in an existing building
taking accurate measurements, to follow safety regulations about maximum distance between upright poles and minimum width of platforms
securing the poles to each other with couplings
fixing wooden platforms, guard rails, ladders, hoists and safety nets
taking the structure down again when job is finished
erecting a scaffolding tower on castors, for use inside a building
erecting platforms or spectator stands for public events.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
There is a minimum wage for apprentices in Scotland. As of June 2021, the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) rates for a 4-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £209.40
Year 2 – £278.68
Year 3 – £349.54
Year 4 – £349.54 (without SVQ Level 2)
Year 4 – £369.72 (with SVQ Level 2).
Please note these rates may vary if the Apprentice is 21 years old or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship. National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will apply.
A scaffolder with CISRS Parts 1 and 2 could expect to earn £400 to £640 a week. A supervisor would earn more. Overtime and bonus payments are also available.
You have to climb up while carrying heavy weights, and work with heavy poles at heights. The poles are long and difficult to handle.
You have to bend, lift, balance and kneel.
You wear protective gear – hard hat, footwear, overalls and perhaps safety harness.
You travel to different sites and sometimes live away from home.
The working day begins early and varies according to hours of daylight with occasional lay-offs in winter.
You would work around 40 hours a week, often working overtime in the evenings and at weekends.
You need to take the CISRS Operative Training Scheme (COTS) 1-day training course and a health, safety and environment test to get the Scaffolder Labourer Green Card.
You then complete the CISRS Scaffolding Part 1 course and a health, safety and environment test to get the Trainee Scaffolder Red Card.
You must then complete six months experience on site and then the CISRS Scaffolding Part 2 course.
Throughout your training you work towards the SVQ Accessing Operations and Rigging (Construction): Scaffolding at SCQF Level 5.
Once you have completed the above, plus the CISRS Level 2 Skills Assessment, you can apply for the CISRS Scaffolder (Blue) card.
Once you have held your scaffolder card for at least 12 months, you can complete the advanced scaffolder training course and complete SVQ Accessing Operations and Rigging (Construction): Scaffolding and Offshore Scaffolding at SCQF Level 6.
To become a supervisor you would complete the 5-day CISRS Scaffolding Supervisor course.
You could become an inspector of scaffolding or an adviser in working at heights.
CITB is the Sector Skills Council which covers a wide range of sectors in the development and maintenance of the built environment. Its careers website (bconstructive.co.uk) provides a wide range of information on jobs in the construction industry.