No glass ceiling in this construction job

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As a ceiling fixer you would fit suspended ceilings in buildings to hide pipework, wiring and heating or air conditioning systems.

Most of your work would be on new or refurbished commercial developments such as offices, shops and factories.

You may also work on projects like new hospitals, schools and indoor arenas.

On a typical job, you would follow technical drawings and written instructions to complete the work. Your tasks would include:

setting out, cutting and fixing the aluminium framework to support the new ceiling

checking that the framework is horizontal, using spirit, laser or water levels

fitting ceiling panels to the framework

cutting and shaping panels to fit around lights and other fixtures.

You would use various hand and power tools and work from access platforms, ladders or scaffolding.

You may also fit insulation materials into the ceiling space before installing the panels.

On some jobs, you may be involved with fitting relocatable dry lining wall and floor partitions and raised flooring.

You would usually work 39 hours a week, full time. Overtime, including weekends may be available, and temporary contracts are also common.

You would be based indoors, often at heights and in cramped and confined spaces. For most jobs, you would be expected to wear a protective hard hat, overalls and boots.

Trainee ceiling fixers can earn up to £13,000 a year, depending on the stage of training. Qualified ceiling fixers can earn between £16,000 and £22,000. Experienced ceiling fixers can earn up to £27,000 a year.

Overtime, shift allowances and bonuses increase these amounts. Self-employed ceiling fixers negotiate their own rates.

You could apply directly to companies to find work as a trainee. Some employers may ask for GCSEs (A-C), such as English, maths, and design and technology, or equivalent vocational qualifications like the BTEC Diploma/Certificate in Construction.

You may be able to get into this career through an apprenticeship scheme with a building or ceiling fixing company.

To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.

Alternatively, you could take an Intermediate or Advanced Construction Award at a local college to learn some of the skills needed. Contact ConstructionSkills or your local college for more information.

General construction experience as a labourer or as a tradesperson may give you an advantage when looking for work.

For general information on construction careers and qualifications, visit the ConstructionSkills website.

You would normally receive on-the-job training with day or block release at a local college or training provider. Your employer may also encourage you to take NVQ Level 2 in Interior Systems.

Many building contractors now insist that you have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must have demonstrated appropriate skills levels and hold certain papers.