Building materials worker

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Carl Barnes works at a factory which produces mortar and screed. Mortar is a blend of sand and lime mixed with cement, and is used for many different types of building work. Screeds are a mixture of sand and cement used for flooring and roofing, or as a filling to protect cables and pipes.

What does your job as a building materials worker involve?

I work in a team of five operatives, loading tipping vehicles and filling bags with mortars and screeds for delivery to customers. It is a process called batching. I'm also responsible for the quality testing of materials, as well as general housekeeping duties.

What do you mean by housekeeping?

I hose down the yard several times a day to prevent cement being carried out onto the public roads on lorry wheels. Also, cement can get very slippery when it's wet.

What sort of equipment do you use?

I use a batching computer, which measures the correct amounts to go onto each lorry. I also use an all-terrain fork-lift truck, a high-pressure jet washer and small tools.

What was the route into your job as a building materials worker?

I started here shortly after leaving school in the technical department, doing quality testing. It wasn't really the job for me as it was too office bound, so I decided to change to the production team. I prefer working outside.

Can you describe the training you have received so far?

Health and safety is the most important. In this environment people can slip and hurt themselves, and all the lifting can be bad for the back, so everyone does a course on how to avoid accidents. I've trained in how to work at heights and within confined spaces. I also had to learn to drive the vehicles in the yard.

Do you have to wear special clothing?

Yes. Everyone wears high visibility jackets, hard hats and steel toe capped boots.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of your job?

I start very early, at 5.00 am. Early starts can be tough, but the good part is I get to finish earlier than most people, at 3.00 pm. I never have to battle through rush hour traffic.

What are the skills and qualities needed to be a building materials worker?

You need to be self-motivated and willing to learn a range of new skills. It's also important to enjoy working in a team.

What are your long-term career goals?

I'd like to achieve promotion within my department.

Carl's route to being a building materials worker

  • GCSEs.
  • Induction and company training.

Carl's building materials worker tips

  • There are always opportunities for career development within the construction industry if you're prepared for hard work and early starts.

Building materials worker related jobs

  • Chemical plant process worker
  • Construction operative
  • Lift truck operator
  • Packing operative/manager
  • Plant operator
  • Quarry worker/plant operative

Salary of a building materials worker

  • Salaries range from £12,500 to £20,000.
  • Overtime is often available.

How to become a building materials worker

  • Formal qualifications are not always necessary, although employers may look for some GCSEs/S grades in English, maths and technology. An understanding and knowledge of vehicle engineering can be helpful.
  • Apprenticeships may be available leading to NVQs/SVQs, although entrants have to be 18 years old before they are allowed to operate certain machinery and vehicles.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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