Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Scaffolder

We are often asked, “How do I become a scaffolder?” so we want to highlight what you need to know about being and becoming a scaffolder.

At Safety & Access, we are biased, but we firmly believe that scaffolders play a pivotal role in the construction industry. A builder extending a house, a roofer handling a challenging repair, or a large contractor constructing a high rise requires the expertise of a specialist scaffolding business, which is almost indispensable. We are often asked, ‘How do I become a scaffolder?’ Likewise, individuals looking for a change of direction in life and wondering how to start out in the construction industry often ask us how to gain the experience and qualifications required to become a scaffolder. We thought we’d put together some guidance on becoming a scaffolder.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Scaffolder?
Knowing how long it will take to achieve qualified scaffolder status is essential. To become a fully-qualified scaffolder to an advanced level usually takes about three years. A scaffolding apprenticeship/labourer will usually take approximately 18 months to complete. As with anything in life, we advise that you undertake as many certifications and training courses as possible to be your best. The more qualifications you can attain, the better you will be at your job, and the more you will raise yourself above other job applicants competing for similar roles.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Scaffolder?
Consider your physical fitness and stamina level before starting a job in scaffolding. Due to the lifting of heavy items, long days with early starts, and working outdoors in challenging weather, scaffolding is one of the most demanding jobs in construction. Skills that are useful when considering a career as a scaffolder include:
• Ability to work well with your hands
• Good attention to detail
• A good overall level of fitness
• The ability to cope well with working at heights
• To be a hard worker with good hand-eye coordination
• To have a good knowledge of health and safety issues affecting construction sites
• Good written and verbal communication skills
• Ability to understand technical drawings and plans
• A driving licence

Basic Scaffolder Qualifications
You must attend a one-day CISRS Operatives Training Scheme (COTS) course to achieve the basic scaffolder qualification. Following six months of practical experience learned ‘on the job’, more training will be required, such as the CISRS Part 1 tube and fitting or ‘system’ scaffolding; you will need to attend two ten-day courses, including a practical assessment. At this point, your scaffolder trainee card will be issued. This card proves your understanding of safely erecting and dismantling basic structures.
After this, a further six months of practical experience will follow, and you will begin your Part 2 tube and fitting, where you will be expected to produce a portfolio of your completed work. When this has been demonstrated successfully, your final assessment (consisting of a one-day skills test) will be booked. Once all of these criteria have been met, you will be issued with your CISRS tube and fitting or system scaffolder card.

Advanced Scaffolder Qualifications
If you have opted to become a tube and fitting scaffolder, you may wish to become an advanced scaffolder. In this case, your training will be followed by twelve months of practical experience. Advanced training will then be required. Then, you’ll need another six months of practical experience under your belt, and finally, you’ll have a two-day CISRS skills test. Upon successful completion of this, your advanced scaffolder card will be issued. The importance of scaffolding safety can never be underestimated.
Eventually, with experience, you could become a scaffolding supervisor. Other career progression opportunities include scaffolding designer, construction manager, or even setting up your own business.

The Pros of Learning How to Become a Scaffolder
Many aspiring scaffolders are drawn to the prospect of learning on the job, which blends structured training with hands-on experience. This approach fosters continuous improvement, instilling a positive attitude toward skill enhancement. Scaffolding work, characterised by variety and physicality, offers a stark contrast to office-based routines. Engaging in tasks like unloading materials and erecting scaffolding presents an excellent fitness regimen.

Interested in Pursuing a Career as a Scaffolder?
For those eyeing a journey into scaffolding, we extend our training facilities in Nottingham, Humberside, and London. Our rigorous training regimen ensures that aspiring scaffolders can realise their full potential, equipped with the skills and qualifications requisite for success.

Here at Safety and Access we can provide all the training required for a career in scaffolding. Get in contact to discuss any requirements. Training can be found here

Call our team! 0115 979 4523