Apprenticeship in Construction Operations (& Groundworks)

Intermediate Groundworker (Level 2)

Where to begin……………………

If you want to be an apprentice in Constructions Operations (& Groundworks) and don’t yet have an employer, contact our apprenticeship recruitment team; 01228 822798 or email Deborah Macleod at

If you already have an employer, or are an employer, contact our apprentice recruitment team; 01228 822708 or email Oli Matthews at

Groundworkers are the first trade onto a construction and civil engineering site and they work closely with supervisors and engineers in interpreting design specifications to prepare the site, ready for the structural building works to take place. They continue their work throughout the construction phase, working with all on-site construction trades, such as bricklayers and plant operatives, up to and including the final completion activities of the project. Their work includes setting out and preparing the sub-surfaces ready for the structural work to begin, installing drainage systems, concreting, constructing roads and pathways and carrying out the finished hard landscaping. Groundworkers are able to transfer between heavy construction and civil engineering sites, as well as house building, commercial building and general building sites. Groundworkers work for all types of construction companies from small subcontractors to large main contractors.

Reference: A009SC
Duration: 18 Months
Course Dates: September and January
Type: Part Time (Day Release)
Tutor: Paul Harvey & Mark Blythe

Course Content

  • The principles of health, safety, welfare and environmentally responsible work practices and how they must be applied in relation to the work, self and to others, including understanding the principles of risk assessments
  • Basic awareness of environmental and health hazards e.g. Japanese knotweed, asbestos
  • How to identify contaminated ground conditions and the procedures for working safely on it
  • Basic principles of Building Information Modelling(BIM), drawings, method statements, manufacturers’ information, work schedules and specifications
  • Technology including key factors and systems of work appropriate to different environments and industry sectors (e.g. civil engineering, private residential, commercial)
  • The differences between modern and traditional construction methods and the physical and environmental factors when undertaking construction work and their potential impacts
  • The techniques to handle and move loads manually and with mechanical aids, including guiding the movement of articulated vehicles, plant and machinery.
  • Using hand signals, hand signalling equipment and verbal/electronic communication equipment and storing resources safely and securely
  • Why, when and how health and safety control equipment should be used when undertaking groundworks (e.g. personal protective equipment (PPE))
  • The principles and methods of working within confined spaces
  • Erecting and dismantling access/working platforms and establishing work area protection and providing temporary works including excavation support
  • Locating and excavating to expose buried utility services
  • The basic principles of internal/external drainage and ducting systems
  • Measuring, marking, cutting and installing geo membranes to stabilise soil
  • Gauging, mixing, placing, compacting and finishing mortars and concrete by hand and by mixer
  • Reinstating excavations and ground surface finishes, including installing street ironworks

What will you learn?

  • Work safely and securely in compliance with given information, organisational policies and procedures and current health, safety and welfare legislation, including following the procedures for working in contaminated ground
  • Conform with productive working practices and completing the work in accordance with the programme
  • Interpret and follow verbal and written work instructions from supervisors and site managers
  • Access, interpret and use drawings and specifications
  • Select the required resources including tools and fixtures
  • Move, handle and store resources complying with relevant legislation & guidance
  • Use and maintain power tools and equipment (including compactor plates, boning rods, portable power tools, levels, tape measures, straight edges, lines, pins and laser equipment)
  • Gauge and mix mortars and concrete by hand and by mixer
  • Install, maintain and remove temporary protection and safety arrangements for the work area, relating to barriers and temporary structures, including protection, safety notices and safety lighting
  • Install and test basic drainage and ducting
  • Measure, mark, cut and install geo-membranes to stabilise soil for re-instatement and excavations
  • Transport and place, then compact and finish concrete to slabs/bases, footing oversights, paths, form slab edgings, including positioning reinforcement and kerbs
  • Set out and lay flags, paviours and edging to paths, driveways and other areas
  • Install ironworks relating to access covers and frames and gully grates and frames, including preparatory brickwork
  • Locate and excavate to expose buried utility services using electronic location instruments.
  • Provide and remove temporary works including shallow excavation support (up to 1.2 metres)
  • Form and reinstate excavations and surfaces to sub-grades, sub-bases and road bases
  • Prepare to, then direct and guide the movement of vehicles, plant, or machinery

End Point Assessment (Takes place at the end of the apprenticeship):

  • Practical exam
  • Multiple-choice questionnaire
  • Professional discussion on knowledge and behaviours

Entry Requirements

  • An aptitude for practical, physical work and an eye for detail
  • A courteous and enthusiastic attitude
  • A dedicated, cautious and considerate character
  • GCSE Maths and English at GCSE grade C (or a willingness to work towards)
Possible Job Roles

General Construction Operative, Site Foreman, Plant Operator, Estimator, Site or Civil Technician, Contracts Manager.


ILM Leadership & Management, IOSH

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