Tackling the Perception of Scaffolding – Henry Annafi

Published: Jun 30 2022

PHD want to tackle the public perception of our industry by showing what scaffolding really is, and who scaffolders really are. A great scaffolder requires the skills of problem-solving, creative intelligence and dependability.

We met up with Henry Annafi, the Training Officer of the NASC, to hear his thoughts.

Before you joined the industry, what was your perception of scaffolders?

“I definitely felt that there was something about scaffolders that should be avoided. I have never been so pleased to be proven wrong in my life. I’ve worked across about nine different sectors in my career, in my lifetime, and hands down, scaffolding and the construction sector as a whole have been the most fun that I’ve ever had. You meet really genuine people. People who are the hardest working people that I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege of working with.”


How do you feel about the public perception of scaffolders?

“It doesn’t make me feel any different than it does people judge me on site because I’m a minority. It’s exactly the same for me. You’re making an assessment about somebody purely on the basis of what you believe you have seen.

“I would defy any so-called intelligent person steeped in academia to do what a scaffolder does and to use their spatial awareness to figure out how things had to be sort of erected and it’s just mind blowing to me. When you think about the fact scaffolders ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. We take it for granted but the reason why we can take it for granted is because scaffolders by and large are doing such an excellent job in some of the most trying conditions, and they keep us all safe.”

How important are industry role models?

“If we don’t have organisations like PHD, who we know have an ethos of investing in their people, then we know what we can’t fulfil our objectives as a trade body. We need to present scaffolding to a completely uninformed audience. Not just as a means of highlighting the fact that people have misconceptions about scaffolding because we want to bring new blood into the industry.

“We want younger people to be introduced to the possibilities and then make some more informed choices because the problem I think for lots of young people is that they’re just not aware of what’s possible within our industry. We have amazing career pathways. We’re one of the few sectors of the 15 sectors of the UK economy that can say that confidently with our chest that we do have career pathways.”

Do scaffolders earn good money?

“Scaffolding is the perfect career. There is not a scaffolder who I know who is not extremely happy with the financial rewards they get. There isn’t a scaffolder I know who isn’t really invested in doing the job for as long as they possibly can.”

Can I become a Master Craftsman?

“British scaffolders are considered to be the crème de la crème because they are. They’re the benchmark and PHD are up there as that benchmark. So, we are not only doing an immense amount for the economy of this country but increasingly, we’re actually going out and teaching the rest of the world the best of the fine art of scaffolding. I’ve mentioned before that scaffolding is just one tile in the mosaic of our industry.

“We have so many different opportunities and scaffolding is a great place for you to sort of cut your teeth in areas that you hadn’t been introduced to before, but we’re blazing a trail, and PHD are the forefront of that.”

Thank you to Henry Annafi for your kind words. To see what’s on offer at PHD, check out our careers’ portal here.