What is a labourer?

Laborers are workers who take up various supporting tasks in warehouses, construction sites or other settings. They are responsible for doing manual work requiring high physical fitness and strength to construct structures or buildings.

How to become a labourer?

To become a labourer, you could start by taking a college course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations
  • T level for Groundworkers or Piling Attendants or Formworkers

You can also apply directly for jobs. There are no set requirements, though it will be helpful if you’ve got on-site experience or have worked in a builder’s merchants or yard.

Labourer duties

Labourer duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Cleaning up worksites from debris and machinery
  • Performs various physical duties as assigned
  • Maintain all safety standards
  • Moves, secures, installs, builds, loads, or unloads materials
  • Helping erect scaffolding and ladders
  • Help equipment operators, carpenters, and other skilled labor when necessary
  • Follow instructions from supervisors
  • Assist craft worker

Labourer skills

To be an effective labourer, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Ability to do physical labor and other strenuous physical tasks
  • Punctual and reliable
  • Excellent team working skills
  • Comfortable working at height
  • Basic numeracy and literacy skills
  • Attentive to detail and alert at all times to ensure safety

How to find a labourer job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the labourer jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for labourer jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Labourer Job Titles

When you search for labourer jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for labourer jobs include;

  • Construction operative
  • Construction helper
  • Groundworker
  • General labourer
  • General worker

What does a labourer do?

The job of a labourer varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of labourer job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a labourer include;

  • Mark out and dig trenches for foundations and drains – groundworking
  • Put up panels to hold concrete in place as it sets – formworking
  • Bend and fix bars to reinforce concrete structures – steel fixing
  • Join steel sheets to form retaining walls for excavations – steel piling
  • Lay concrete for foundations, floors and beams – concreting
  • Lay kerbs and paving, and resurface highways – road working
  • Keep tradespeople on site supplied with materials, like bricks, mortar and timber