Rope Access Trainee
Plas y Brenin Mountain Centre

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James M

0.00.00 My name is James M. Currently in North Wales doing a qualification to become a Ropetech access technician which hopefully is going to get me into a job with many career prospects. I’ll be basically doing a lot of labour work at heights. It becomes cheaper to use rope access on ropes as it would be to use equipment such as scaffolding or cranes or the like

0.00.30 but it becomes quite cost efficient in days so it’s quite easy for us to nip into a job, get the ropes on, small team, get in, in and out very quickly so it becomes more efficient for the companies for us to work like this. I got set back a year when I was in school so I had to redo a year when I was 12 which was pretty disastrous when you’re that age and leave all your mates behind. And then to top that off they sent me off to boarding school up in North Wales. It turned out be great. I loved it. I was very lucky.

0.01.00 It’s the only way I can look at it. I went to school which did help me to develop my, what I’m good at. The reason I went to this school is because I’m quite badly dyslexic which is a big a reason as any is why I’ve gone down the line I have is the idea of being in an office work has never really inspired me to do the reading and writing side of things. My dad was a manager in a paint factory, so European size sort of firm so he was bumming off around Europe.

0.01.30 My mother was an accountant and she’s helped out in school. I am the black sheep in my family, totally. Well one of my sister’s is a teacher and the other one is a manager, so they’re quite all office based. I’ve never been in an office. I was quite lucky in my parents being supportive with pretty much anything I decided to do.

0.02.00 I think they’ve been quite understanding the fact because I did have dyslexic problems, that it wasn’t going to be an obvious answer what I was going to end up doing, so they kind of supported whichever angle I’ve taken. I’m a strong believer that if you want work, you can work. It just depends on how your lifestyle fits to that, so I’ve been through all sorts of work. I’ve lived in caravans and not got paid much. I was paid 35 pound a week for a whole summer or almost a year actually to become an outdoors instructor, it’s quite a sacrifice to make.

0.02.30 I never had any ambitions to buy fast cars or, or, my budget was never very high so it seemed quite easy for me to be quite flexible, keeping my options open, just take on whatever work comes my way really. I’m used to hanging on ropes. It’s something that I’ve done since I was about 13, dealing with ropes, dealing with heights, so you put two and two together, instead of being a labourer on the ground, I get labourer on a rope and get paid better.

0.03.00 I love listening to music, try and play guitar every now and again, just going out music, reading. I did philosophy when I was in school, you know, A Level and it seems to be something that stuck with me my whole life, just kept an interest. But more so just opening the door into other things to think about really. I’m quite certain in some point I’m hoping around my 30s

0.03.30 that I’m going to settle down and get a job, a career as it were, maybe start my own business. It doesn’t really bother me that I’ve jumped around a lot and I probably got a dozen different things I could be doing, not all of them as well paid as others but they all have their pluses and bonuses but when push comes to shove, I can do something and that in itself is quite comforting I think.


James M is a Rope Access Trainee at Plas y Brenin Mountain Centre. His family all have office jobs, but that wouldn’t suit him – “I’m the black sheep of the family, totally.” He’s quite comfortable hanging on ropes and dealing with heights, so he plans to work up ropes and earn more money than if he was on the ground.

More information about Scaffolders, stagers and riggers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

100%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Job holders in this unit group erect and dismantle scaffolding and working platforms, set up lifting equipment and ships’ rigging, maintain and repair steeples, industrial chimneys and other tall structures and install, maintain and repair ropes, wires and cables.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is initially received on-the-job. Skilled workers must obtain Construction Skills recognised scaffolders record scheme cards through the completion of approved courses and further work experience. NVQs/SVQs in Scaffolding are available at Levels 2 and 3.
  • Examines drawings and specifications to determine job requirements;
  • Examines scaffold tubing and couplings for defects and selects, fits and bolts scaffold tubes until scaffolding reaches required height;
  • Lays and secures wooden planking to form working platforms and fixes guard rails, ladders, cradles and awnings as required;
  • Erects jib, derrick and similar hoisting equipment and installs ropes, pulleys and other lifting tackle;
  • Forms rope slings, ladders, netting and other rigging and measures, cuts and repairs wire or fibre rope.
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Specialised construction 19583
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