Main content

Skilled Trades

We build, repair and refurbish government buildings worldwide and like any construction project, we need all sorts of skilled tradespeople. From making and fitting window ledges for an 18th Century European embassy, to installing light fixtures in a brand new High Commission in Asia, it’s all thanks to our Skilled Trades team – both in the UK and overseas.

Not the career you wanted?

If this isn’t what you had in mind, answer a few questions and we’ll find where you fit.

Key roles in the area

  • Carpenter Builder Joiners
  • Electricians
  • Locksmiths
  • Metal Workers
  • Machine Tool Operators
  • Technical Installers

What’s it like to be a Technical Installer with FCDO Services?

In this article, we sat down with one of our team to talk about incredible travel, fascinating challenges, pride in your role, and always being fully supported.

When in the UK, the team are usually based at Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes.

Any tools you need will be provided by FCDO Services – and we make sure they’re well-cared for too.

Working overseas

Our Skilled Trades colleagues build, fit and renovate customer sites across the world. That means you’re likely to be travelling for up to 22 weeks of the year. The exception to that is our Machine Tool Operators and our Metal Workers, who tend to be based at our workshops in the UK. For other roles though, here’s how it works:

You could be travelling overseas for up to 22 weeks of the year, and you’ll be working in the UK the rest of the time. As a general rule, we try to make sure that your time spent overseas is as efficient as possible, grouping projects together where we can.

Our Machine Tool Operators and Metal Workers will be based permanently in Hanslope Park; our site near Milton Keynes. Our other teams will also be based there when they’re in the UK. To find out more about Hanslope Park, see Life at FCDO Services

We work in 168 countries, and you could well be travelling to any one of them. Your safety is our most important concern though: we’ll never send you anywhere you aren’t comfortable with.

We’ll organise both your travel and your accommodation while you’re overseas, and support you financially.

As much as possible, we’ll aim to spread out your trips so that you get breaks from overseas travel. It means you can balance your home life with your travel abroad, and it also gives you time to properly prepare for each project you take on.

As a general rule, it’s not practical for families to travel with the Skilled Trades team, since you’ll be overseas for regular short bursts. Having said that, if you do have a longer posting overseas – if you’ll be stationed abroad for two years, say – then we can support your family to move overseas with you, if the role allows for that. 

You’ll be able to stay in touch with your team throughout your time abroad, through our FCDO Services intranet, as well as having a manager who’ll check in on your progress. Plus, if you need someone’s advice on a project, there are always experts on call, no matter the time difference. You’ll also be able to take advantage of our overseas network activity: we offer all sorts of support to our colleagues both at home and abroad, whether it’s wellbeing events like yoga sessions, or chances to socialise with the teams stationed in your location.

Did you know?

Beginning in 2016, we’ve rolled out secure WiFi to over 4,000 staff at 61 posts worldwide.
Doing it has been no mean feat: our team laid an incredible 67km+ of cable.

What do I need to thrive here?

1. Proactive enthusiasm

You’re ready to muck in with anything, even if it’s outside your usual skillset.

2. Eagerness to travel

Unless you’re a Machine Tool Operator or Metal Worker, you’ll be keen to go anywhere.

3. Good communication

You can talk to people from all kinds of backgrounds, and get on easily with people.

4. Motivation

You work hard and stay motivated, even when you’re working alone overseas.

Hear from one of the team

The people are so important to your experience here, honestly. I travel a lot with my role, but if I was to think of my favourite places, it’s just as much about the people I’ve been with as the places themselves.

Current Technical Installer

Learning and development

Alongside the training of the wider FCDO Services team, there are some specific options in place to help our Skilled Trades team excel:
  • Support with accreditations, Construction Skills Certification cards, climbing qualifications, and any other training you need to deliver your role
  • Funded opportunities to retrain, e.g. as an overseas Technical Works Officer (Find out more about our TWOs here)

Find out about overall training and benefits at Life at FCDO Services

Tips for your application

1. Tell us what you’ve done

You might not be used to applying for a government role. In order to assess your skills, we need to know what you’ve done. So, don’t just say ‘I’ve been an electrician for ten years’ or ‘I worked as a builder for x company’. Tell us the specific skills you have, and the kinds of projects you’ve worked on.

2. Fill in every stage of the form

Unfortunately, we can’t accept a CV in place of our application steps, so please make sure you fill in every section, and again, be as thorough as you can about your experience – we don’t want your skills to slip through the net.

3. Get someone to proof-read

If you’re not used to this kind of application, that’s fine. We aren’t assessing you on whether it’s beautifully written; only on whether you can tell us clearly what you’ve done. So, get someone else to check your work if you need to and make sure it makes sense to them.

There are plenty of qualifications we’ll support you to aim for, like the HNC in Construction and the Built Environment.

Our Skilled Trades colleagues will undergo Security Vetting as part of their interview. Find out what’s involved here

Welcome to the virtual embassy

Ready to see the work you might do with Skilled Trades? Just enter the embassy and select the ‘Constructing the secure embassy’ guide to get started.

Case study

Carpentry. Joinery. Installing utilities around the building. Even laying out a soft-play area for the kindergarten next-door. It’s all in a day’s work for our Skilled Trades team, as part of wider works on the British Embassy in Belgrade.

Hear from one of the team

When you’re abroad, you could be refurbishing an office or fitting out a new secure area. You’re constantly using different tools and skills. Plus you’re seeing new countries; different places you’d never expect to go.

Carpenter Builder Joiner
Skilled Trades colleague. Illustration.


Interested in a career in Secure Property Design and Construction, but don’t have any experience? Your world just got bigger, with our Technical Engineering Apprenticeship – where you could learn the skills to become one of our radio, CCTV and access control systems designers. Whatever your age, whatever your background, our in-house training and paid qualifications could be just what you need.

Latest roles

Want to join FCDO Services but can’t see a live role to suit you? Great news: you can sign up for job alerts or add your CV to our talent pool and we’ll be in touch when something comes up.

Management Accountant

Hanslope Park
£31,000-£37,725 a location allowance of £1,750 plus an allowance of up to £3,000 depending on professional qualifications

Driver (HGV)

Hanslope Park
£ 25,811 plus £1,750 location allowance and excellent benefits