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Vocational Qualifications and Apprenticeships

Getting an honours degree is just one of the routes to a fulfilling career in construction and Chartered membership of the CIOB. The changes to higher education funding are prompting many potential members to obtain qualifications whilst in a job. 

Vocational qualifications

These assess your competence in the job as part of the qualification. They include National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), apprenticeships and site management qualifications. The CIOB is the Awarding Organisation for these qualifications:

  • CIOB Level 3 Diploma in Site Construction Supervisory Studies (Regulated)
  • CIOB Level 4 Certificate in Construction Site Management (Regulated)
  • CIOB Level 4 Diploma in Construction Site Management (Regulated)
  • CIOB Level 4 Graduate Conversion Certificate (Regulated)


Vocational qualifications may suit more practical people who don’t want to study full-time or who wish to earn while they learn. Gaining such qualifications is useful for career progression and to indicate that you are competent in certain essential skills, such as site safety.


CITB grants may be available to eligible employers whose candidates complete these courses.  You may also wish to look into adult learning loans.


Apprenticeships are for those working in a role in construction. An apprenticeship will allow you to qualify to progress to a higher level role. Traditional apprenticeships last 2 to 3 years and combine classroom and workshop based study at college (or with a training provider) with work-based learning. Apprentices are paid as employees and employers pay for the training and qualification - often getting a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) grant towards the cost.

At the end of an apprenticeship, you will have several recognised qualifications, often including an NVQ, which you can use to qualify for one of the industry card schemes – essential for getting on-site. 

In England, there’s now a new Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5/6) Framework too. The Higher Apprenticeship is equivalent to HND, and provides broad-based training and a structured career path for a range of technical, supervision and management roles.

You can find out about all the apprenticeships available on the National Apprenticeship Service website.

Further Advice

You may wish to contact the National Careers Service in the UK, who will be able to provide you with information on course options, career changes and funding.


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