Are you captivated by tall structures? Do you want to make a positive contribution to society? And are you looking for a job that is both challenging and rewarding? If yes, then you can choose to enter the construction industry.
Construction is one of Australia's largest and fastest-growing industries. It is a huge multidisciplinary profession that requires collaboration among workers, engineers, project managers, skilled tradespeople, designers, architects, and others. Additionally, since the property market is quite active at present, job prospects are high and will continue rising.
If you want to secure a job in the construction industry but do not know much about how to become a construction worker in Australia, read the post below. It will help you learn more about the actual construction world and prepare you to succeed in your chosen profession.
1. What Do Construction Workers Do?
A construction worker usually works with a team at a construction site (such as for constructing a home, building, or any other structure). This individual may be in charge of demolition, carpentry, drywall, roofing, and finishing, among other things.
The work hours of a construction worker might vary, depending on the demand of work at the project site. Construction employees may work long days, even on holidays and weekends, depending on the task deadline. In addition, construction work is often done during the daytime and can include harsh circumstances, such as excessive cold and heat.
Furthermore, a construction worker performs a variety of activities during the day. Some possess a specific skill, while others work as all-rounders by completing multiple tasks. Typical everyday duties of a construction worker include sweeping, cleaning, clearing waste and garbage, and supporting other workers like fabricators, carpenters, and welders.
They may also help distribute resources to appropriate regions, demolition, unloading and loading building supplies, assisting with machine maintenance, operating small tools, and using other equipment like torches and jackhammers.
Additionally, construction workers must possess the ability to work on their feet as this work is highly physical in nature. It is also crucial for construction employees to reach the site on time because the majority of tasks have tight deadlines. Overall, a construction worker must work as part of a team and collaborate effectively.
2. Types of Construction Workers in Australia
You will find different types of construction jobs in the Australian construction industry. Some of them are listed below:
Civil Engineering Professionals
Building, Architectural, and Surveying Technicians
Electrical Engineering Technicians and Draftspersons
Electrical Distribution Trades Workers
Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Mechanics
Hoist, Crane, and Lift Operators
Plumbing and Building Labourers
Stonemasons and Bricklayers
Joiners and Carpenters
Home Improvement and Insulation Installers
Earthmoving Plant Operators
Other Mobile Plant Operators
Other Mining and Construction Labourers
Floor and Wall Tilers
Painting Trades Workers
Industrial Spray Painters
Railway Track Workers
Surfacing and Paving Labourers
Structural Steel Construction Workers
Land Economists and Valuers
3. Major Tasks and Duties of a Construction Worker
Direct traffic through the construction area.
Assist with drain installation preparation.
Clean the worksite and unload and load the equipment.
Operate hoses and tank-truck distributors to spray road oils, tars, and emulsions on road surfaces before paving.
Strip grass, clear scrub, and remove topsoil.
Soften edges of areas and repair them with blowtorches.
Trim and cut damaged surfaces with jackhammers.
Dismantle and erect construction signs and barricades.
Stack and carry building materials and place tools in position.
Operate construction machinery (such as excavators) in accordance with all applicable licences and certification standards.
Use wheelbarrows to remove rubbish and rubble from construction sites.
Spread gravel, stone chips, and cold-mix asphalt on road surfaces.
Pull and trip tailgate levers to discharge hot-mix asphalt into paving machines.
Shovel asphalt mix into areas where paving equipment cannot be reached and compact it with hand tampers and rakes.
Sweep paving bases before laying asphalt and other surfaces.
Comply with safety and environmental orders.
Calculate the quantities to place an order for materials.
Landscape surrounding regions with grass seeds and trees.
Pour, mix, and spread concrete under supervision.
4. Steps on How to Become a Construction Worker in Australia
Here are some common steps you can follow to become a construction worker in Australia:
Step 1: Get Certified
Working in the construction sector requires a high level of ability, and you may always need some certification to get hired. Qualifications vary depending on the type of profession you wish to enter; however, all the qualifications available in Australia incorporate onsite training.
You can consider taking up a Certificate I in Construction (CPC10111), Certificate II in Construction (CPC20112), or a Certificate III in Civil Construction (RII30915). A construction worker course will develop your skills and help you learn the basic construction principles.
You may also have to go through additional training to get a license to operate heavy machinery, such as excavators, skid steer loaders, rollers, backhoes. You can get this training by attending short courses through a registered training provider (RTO).
Step 2: Attain Your White Card
In Australia, construction occupations are regulated. Having a White Card demonstrates that all construction employees know about safety and health policies and are also familiar with safety equipment. It applies to everyone who works on the construction site, including employees, supervisors, and more.
A White Card verifies that you have completed a training program and are well-acquainted with the construction site's safety guidelines. All in all, this card is a must-have to work in the construction industry in Australia.
You need to complete an online or classroom-based course to obtain your White Card. Completing the course may take a long time — you may require a full day to complete the course in class. The cost of the course varies between AU$40 and AU $100. You do not have to give any exam; instead, you will be asked questions. If you apply online, you must do a brief video interview and demonstrate that you have all the required equipment to work on a construction site.
Furthermore, as the White Card course is officially accredited as a short course throughout Australia, you require a USI (Unique Student Identifier), which you can generate online. You can visit the Australian government's website to obtain the USI number for free. Additionally, you will require a valid Australian visa because your passport number is linked to the USI. You will get this number once you've arrived in Australia.
Step 3: Get Your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
You must invest in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which includes a helmet, safety boots, and a warning jacket. You may also require hearing protection and goggles, depending on the environment and the project site. To pass the White Card online, you will need these five pieces of equipment.
Keep in mind that the White Card necessitates the purchase of personal protective equipment. You can get the equipment at Kmart, Bunnings, or even the used ones in op-shops, Facebook groups, or other marketplaces.
Step 4: Obtain Specific Licences
Specialised occupations, such as heavy machinery operator, traffic controller, etc., necessitate acquiring additional licenses.
The following are a few permits or licenses you may require:
Traffic Controller License: Regulates traffic.
Forklift: Operating a forklift may require two types of licenses - LO and LF.
Materials Platform Hoist: You may need a materials platform hoist permit to operate machines used to lift materials.
Scaffolding: You may require a scaffolding permit to dismantle or assemble scaffolding.
Step 5: Choose Your Trade Wisely
You can choose from multiple trades within the construction industry. When picking which professional path you feel you will flourish in, keep in mind that it is crucial to choose a rewarding profession you believe you will successfully accomplish.
It may be beneficial to assess your long-term opportunities and the total number of hours you will have to work. For example, if your chosen trade only requires 10 hours a week on average, you may want to consider taking on a second job to supplement your income.
Construction trades may vary between tiling, welding, roofing, carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing, and a lot more. These are among several employment opportunities in the industry and may also incorporate other skilled trades like project managers and 3D software modellers. If you are not sure which occupation is suitable for you, consider getting some work experience where you can test out a variety of trades.
5. How to Become a Construction Worker with No Experience?
In Australia, construction employers often look for entry-level applicants, allowing you to enter the industry with little or no experience.
You can start working as a construction site labourer, which requires no experience, and then go through training as you move forward. If you like, you may also complete a college course or a construction worker apprenticeship.
6. How Much Does a Construction Worker Earn in Australia?
There is a minimum wage that applies to all jobs in the construction industry. In fact, most Australian employees are covered under a modern award. These include some terms and conditions and the minimum wage for workers in specific occupations and industries.
For instance, the Building and Construction General On-Site Award (MA 000020) applies to construction jobs. When recruited, do not forget to ask your employer what status you are working under. Also, note that you can get recruited on a weekly, daily, or casual basis.
The construction worker salary in Australia may vary depending on your status. According to PayScale, based on 13 salaries, an entry-level construction worker with less than one year of experience can earn around AUD 25.50, including bonuses, tips, and overtime pay. A construction worker with an early career and one to four years of experience receives an average total salary of around AUD 26.80, based on 88 salaries.
On the other hand, based on 54 salaries, a mid-career construction worker with five to nine years of experience earns up to AUD 29.70. Additionally, an experienced construction worker with ten to nineteen years of experience makes an average total income of around AUD 31.80, based on 29 salaries. Lastly, employees with a late-career (20 years or more) get an average total remuneration of AUD 28.
If you want to make a lot of money, you can consider working on weekends or at night, when hourly pay is substantially higher. It is worth noting that if you have specialised construction training or skill (for instance, of an electrician or a plumber), you will be eligible for another award with different hourly rates.
Now that you know everything about how to become a construction worker in Australia, you are ready to choose your career path, achieve your goals, and create the life you desire.
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