Demolition operatives are part of a team to clear a site ready for a new construction project. Using anything from basic hand tools to larger plant and machinery, they strip out fittings, remove hazardous materials and salvage anything that can be reused, before demolishing or dismantling the unsafe or obsolete buildings and structures.

Average salary*

£22000 – £32000+

Typical hours per week


How to become a demolition operative

While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a demolition operative, there are several routes you could take to help you pursue this career. You can complete an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

Many employers in the demolition sector are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You will be required to obtain a Certificate of Competence in Demolition Operations (CCDO) card to work on a demolition site. Your prospective employer may arrange this training for you, but to find out more about the scheme and how to attain a CCDO card, visit the National Demolition Training Group website here.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


If you are over 16, you can complete a demolition operative trailblazer apprenticeship to help you start your demolition career.

You will not need GCSEs or equivalent to apply for a demolition apprenticeship – part of your training will ensure you achieve Level 2 in English and Maths within the apprenticeship accreditation.

As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience (80%) and at college or training provider (20%).


You may be able to find work as a demolition labourer; you will still need a CCDO card to start this route, however no demolition experience will be necessary to undertake the training.

If your employer feels you have the necessary aptitude for demolition work, they may assist you with the training you require to become a demolition operative.

Work experience

Many demolition contractors offer periods of work experience. Due to the nature of the work and the hazards involved, this will not be a demolition operative role and you will be under strict supervision by an experienced senior demolition operative. This will give you a great idea of what the job entails and gives the employers a chance to assess your skills and attitude towards work.

You could gain this work experience via an organised scheme through school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.


Desirable skills and personal qualities for a demolition operative include:

  • Ability to work conscientiously and pay attention to instructions
  • Positive teamworking attitude
  • Punctuality and reliability
  • Basic knowledge of health & safety and security
  • Ability to use your initiative
  • Working knowledge of maths and English
  • Basic proficiency to carry out Information Technology tasks.

What does a demolition operative do?

The job role of a demolition operative involves the following duties:

  • Stripping out fixtures and fittings
  • Removing doors and windows
  • Stripping and dismantling roof structures
  • Cutting steel framework
  • Following the required training being undertaken, you may use demolition breakers, oxy/fuel cutting equipment and various items of heavy plant & machinery
  • Preparing a structure for demolition
  • Safely removing residual hazardous materials
  • Always following strict health and safety and environmental regulations
  • Working outdoors with a team operating at various other CCDO levels.

How much could you earn as a demolition operative?

As you work your way up the CCDO card scheme, your salary will increase in line with your experience.

  • Newly trained demolition operatives can earn £21,600 – £23,000
  • Trained demolition operatives with some experience can earn £22,500 – £27,000
  • Senior demolition operatives can earn £26,500 – £31,680+

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources

Find an apprenticeship/job


Apprenticeships in England

Apprenticeships in Scotland

Apprenticeships in Wales


Check out the latest demolition operative vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

With further training and experience you can progress to be an advanced demolition operative.

Eventually, you could move into a supervisory or managerial role and oversee work on a demolition site.

An individual working from the bottom up on the CCDO career pathway would progress as follows: