Training for Construction Workers

Nowadays, construction industry in China is experiencing a fast development and an abundance of skilled workers are needed to meet such development need. However, the situation in China is unsatisfactory. Because of the huge number of the workers involved and mobility of the workforce, it is difficult to ensure the professional quality of workers. Most of them are poorly trained, which may give birth to many problems such as poor quality of the project, delay of the project and safety accidents. Thus, we can not emphasize the importance of training our workers too much and effective ways of training should be adopted.

As Cooper (2004) concludes, there are a number of ways can be used to train the construction workers, three of which are on-the-job training, off-the-job training and vocation training. On-the-job training means that workers are organized to learn during the process of work, learning from others who are more experienced (Building, Civil Engineering and Public Works Committee, 1977).

This type of training is very uncertain in terms of content and degree which the learners could reach. But as for the time, it is the most time-saving and flexible way of training since this would take no extra time. Therefore, Chinese construction contractors should make full advantage of this method to improve the skills of workers without wasting too much time.

As for the off-the-job training, workers are required to leave their posts for a period of time and receive training from the professional experts or teachers. However there are some drawbacks of this kind of training. Firstly, the teachers and professionals are usually hired by the company which means higher costs especially when the quantity of workers is large. Moreover, it takes whole days to attend such concentrated training classes. Consequently, both the time limit and the cost of the project may be influenced by this process.

Vocational training is also a way to train the workers and there are occupational training schools which aim to provide people with training of specific field. This way of training is adopted widely by many fields in China such as IT and service and repair trades, but not yet in the construction industry. Many western countries have been using this way to improve their construction workers.

According to the study conducted by Clarke and Wall (1996), Britain, Germany and the Netherlands have their vocational training system in the construction industry and pay great attention to this kind of training. This is an acceptable way which should be considered in China since it is flexible in terms of time because people could either get such training before of during their work. Besides, vocational schools help them to gain not only focused but also systematic education.

Training of skills is of great importance in construction industry, which enables the workers to fulfill the tasks in the projects efficiently and safely. On-the-job training and vocational training are more practical since they provide with more flexibility while the off-the-job training is less feasible because of the actual situation of construction industry in China. Construction contractors should adopt these ways comprehensively and develop their training system on the basis of the concrete conditions of their projects.


Building, Civil Engineering and Public Works Committee (1977) The Training of Managers and Workers in the Construction Industry. Switzerland: International Labor Office.

Clarke, L. and Wall, C. (1996) Skills and the construction process 2. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Cooper, D. (2004) Improving People Performance in Construction. Aldershot: Gower Publishing Limited.