The art of building fences

Fence installers fit and repair all types of fences, from wooden garden fences to security fences around prisons, factories and industrial storage premises, and crash barriers on motorways.

They use a range of materials, including timber, concrete, wire and metal.

As a fence installer, your tasks would typically include:

l removing old fencing if necessary

l levelling the ground

l using hand tools or mechanical diggers to dig foundations for fence posts

l positioning wooden, concrete or metal posts, often fixing them to a concrete base

l cutting panels to size and fixing them to posts

l painting and weatherproofing the finished fence.

You would need to make sure that you follow health and safety regulations in all parts of your work.

You would usually work around 40 hours a week, with overtime and weekend work as required.

You would need to be prepared to work outside in all weathers, and be able to do heavy work such as lifting and digging.

For guidance, a new fence installer can earn between £12,000 and £16,000 a year.

Experienced fence installers can earn from £18,000 to over £20,000.

Self-employed fence installers negotiate their own rates.

You do not need any particular qualifications to be a fence installer, but you will need reading and maths skills. It will be an advantage if you have relevant experience such as woodwork or building.

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information about apprenticeships, visit the apprenticeships website.

When you start work as a fence installer, you will usually receive on-the-job training.

To become a skilled installer, you will need to work towards the Diploma in Fencing at levels 2 and 3.

You will need:

l practical skills for using hand and power tools

l the ability to use mechanical equipment such as mini-excavators and drills

l the ability to understand and work to plans

l practical ability in wood and metalwork

l basic maths skills for working out the amount of materials needed

l the ability to work as part of a team

l an awareness of health and safety issues.

Fencing businesses range from large commercial companies to small self-employed contractors.

If you work for a large organisation, you may be able to progress to supervisor or estimator. You could move into sales with a fencing supplier or building merchant.

Look out for vacancies advertised in local newspapers and at Jobcentre Plus offices.