How To Become A Rigger In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become riggers in Australia and their salary.


Do you enjoy working outdoors, and are you comfortable handling heavy weights and heights? If yes, a rigging career could be for you.


A rigger is indispensable in large-scale and industrial building projects. They specialise in moving structural steel and machines around worksites using rigging gears, including pulleys, cables, ropes, and winches.


This guide will provide all the information to help you become a rigger in Australia. You will learn what a rigger does, what a rigger is, their duties, skills, training & experience, salary, job prospects, and more.



1. Who Is A Rigger?


Before planning a career in rigging, it is essential to know what a rigger is in Australia. Riggers are skilled and licensed professionals mainly employed in the construction industry.


Though their primary work area is on construction sites, specialised riggers also work in mines, shipyards, docks, oil & gas, factories, and the entertainment industry. Riggers are physically strong, fit, creative thinkers, and safety-conscious. 


They are trained in assembling, aligning, and strengthening structures using rigging gears such as bolts, ropes, clamps, knots, pulleys, winches, and hooks.



2. What Is A Rigger In Construction?


A rigger carries out a multitude of tasks on the construction site. They lower, move, lift, position, or installs structural steel, concrete slabs, machinery, oversized loads and construction equipment across worksites with the help of rigging gears.


He also creates external structures like scaffolding to erect a building or restore its exterior by moving and assembling panels and precast facades. A rigger is skilled in making temporary structures on-site and under construction.


He performs quick computations that are vital for implementing engineering principles and consignments. A rigger uses various equipment, such as cranes, dollies, hydraulic jacks, trucks, and pulleys, to transport objects of varying sizes, shapes, and weights.



3. What Are The Duties Of A Rigger?


A rigger is a multi-skilled professional who plays a crucial role on construction sites. His ability to accomplish a broad array of duties efficiently makes him ideal for various other industries such as mining, oil and gas, entertainment, and shipping.


Here is a complete listing of the typical duties and tasks of a rigger:



Selection Of Right Rigging Gear


Different types of jobs require different types of equipment to handle them. A rigger has to find the best-suited equipment for a specific job. 


Once chosen, he has to make it efficient and safe. A rigger evaluates loads based on weight, size, shape and lifting method to identify the right equipment.



Examination And Testing of Rigging Gear


Throughout his duties, a rigger must ensure that he always adheres to safety guidelines. He examines and tests rigging equipment on a set of factors such as functionality, ease of use, safety, and efficiency. 


A rigger may also need to perform repair and maintenance of the equipment.



Using Rigging Gear


Once the rigger chooses the right gear and tests it, he uses it to meet work demands. After attaching the load safely, the rigger operates the machinery to move the object to its proposed location.


The following are the other essential duties of a rigger:


  • Erect structural steel for plants or buildings that are under construction

  • Erect mobile cranes and adjust the height of tower cranes using bolting parts and rigging cables 

  • Lift, align and bolt machinery to build up the scaffolding

  • Choose sling equipment and attach it to the hoisting equipment to lift the load using clamps, bolts, knots, and hooks.

  • Install and operate rigging gears such as cables, pulleys, winches, ropes, clamps, and knots

  • Lift and erect prefabricated steel, concrete, and glass panels

  • Erect a temporary lifting device and install pulleys, cables, and other lifting tackle

  • Join cables and ropes to form tackle and slings 

  • Set up guy wires, ropes, clears, guard rails, safety nets, precast concrete panels, and lay planks in a vertical position.



4. What Are The Skills Requires To Become A Successful Rigger?


A job of a rigger involves working outdoors in a team environment. They must lift, tilt, lower, turn, move, elevate, and load heavyweights and machinery. 


He should exhibit the below rigger requirements to be capable of performing his duties:


  • Enjoy doing practical outdoor work.

  • Can cope with challenging physical jobs

  • Should be a team player 

  • A high level of physical stamina, strength, and agility to assemble, position, load, support, and disassemble bulky structural components

  • Ability to work at heights

  • Good conceptual and mathematical skills to precisely estimate load-handling capabilities of the equipment

  • Better hand-eye coordination

  • Ability to manipulate switches, gauges, and dials

  • Active listening and understanding skills

  • Thorough knowledge of mechanical facets of a machinery

  • Creative thinking to come up with solutions to complicated rigging issues quickly and effectively

  • Fundamental knowledge of physics, geometry, and arithmetic

  • Knowledge of high-end safety procedures and practices 

  • Ability to interpret technical diagrams and drawings

  • Proficient in operating, maintaining, and repairing electricity-driven and hand tools

  • Other critical rigger skills include strong judgment and decision-making abilities to ensure safety on construction sites.

  • Sound task monitoring and complex problem-solving skills



5. Academic Qualification And Training For a Rigger


Rigging is a high-risk job requiring a good amount of skills and competency. This makes getting comprehensive training and a license necessary before you work as a rigger.


Aspiring riggers should be at least 18 years of age to apply for this role. They should complete a rigger course at an official Registered Training Organisation. He must work under the administration of a licensed rigger operator.


A rigger has to maintain a journal to record skills achieved during his rigger traineeship, which a qualified assessor will evaluate. After evaluating and verifying the job qualifications, the National Standard issues a High-Risk work license to the rigger.


A rigger must also undergo safety induction training, which is required to work on a construction site. After completing the training, the rigger receives a Construction Induction Card. It gives him the license to perform various tasks in the construction industry.


Attending a rigging course can help achieve competency and excellence at work. There are specific rigging courses that are entitled to government funding. These courses are for only eligible students who undertake Certificate III Civil Construction or Cert III Scaffolding.




6. Steps To Become A Rigger in Australia 


It is essential to do a rigger traineeship to qualify as a construction rigger in Australia. A rigger's licensing requirement differs for different states and territories in Australia. So, it is essential to read them before you proceed in this direction.



Step 1: Get Qualified


A rigger should enrol in a nationally approved rigging course from a reputed training centre to get qualified to work anywhere in Australia. This course offers specialised knowledge, critical construction skills, and valuable industry insight to work safely on-site.


You will also need to complete Certificate III in Rigging (CPC30711) to obtain a Construction Induction Card. A candidate can get this card from a registered training organisation upon completion of the certification.


In addition to theoretical training, a Rigger must get on-the-job experience. Several companies offer on-the-job learning to prospective candidates to gain experience and industrial exposure on the construction site.



Step 2: Obtain A Rigging Licence


This is the next important step in pursuing your career as a rigger. There are mainly three sorts of rigging licenses offered in Australia, i.e., primary, intermediate, and advanced.


Depending on the job role, a rigger must have specific licenses. These include the Working at Heights license, Working in Confined Spaces license, Basic Fire license, Forklift license, or High–Risk Work license.


An aspiring rigger has to showcase his skills and talents to the qualified assessor, which confirms that he can execute the duties safely and efficiently.


Many courses conduct a skill evaluation of the candidate and, on that basis, provide the license. Alternatively, a roger should apply for an appropriate license to perform the job in their territory or state.



Step 3: Create An Impressive Resume


Build a high-quality, impressive and detailed resume highlighting your education, skills, talents, and work experience in the best way possible. Emphasise your achievements and strengths in the resume. Make your cover letter specific to the job description.



Step 4: Find A Job


Once you have made your resume, the next part is to post it on different job portals online and offline. 


Make a network of people you met during internships, jobs, and other rigging-related places. Keep in touch with them regarding any job openings. It will help in improving your chances of getting a job.



7. Employment Opportunities of a Rigger


The future job outlook of the construction industry is quite promising. Commercialisation expansion will result in the constant growth of structural steel construction workforces like riggers over the coming five years.


A rigger is a multi-skilled professional that can work on a wide range of jobs in the construction industry. A rigger can specialise and make a successful career in any of the below rigger jobs:



Dockside Rigger


The primary function of a dockside rigger is to join and braid wires and rope to build safety products such as hose restraints and cable stockings.


They also create chains for high-pressure hoses, pipes, cargo netting, gangway nets, and embarkation ladders. 


They assemble and install rigging gears in dockside loading sites and shipyards.





The main objective of a scaffolder's role is to ensure a safe operating environment. He installs clams bases and steel pipes to build foundations for the steel structures.


Most of the time, he spends working with riggers to dismantle scaffolding. A scaffolder fits the steel pipes, clamps, and bases to create foundations for these structures.



Steel Fixer


A steel fixer must strengthen concrete slabs with steel mesh and bars. This improves their structural stability and strength for large-scale construction projects.


Moreover, a steel fixer ensures the correct installation of the prefabricated steel mesh or mesh at the construction site.



8. Pros And Cons Of Working As A Rigger


Every job has some good and some challenging things. This goes the same with rigging. 


Learning about the pros and cons of being a Rigger will help you make an informed career choice.





  • An interesting and exciting job for those who enjoy hard work outdoors

  • A rigger has to remain active on the field. So, if you are the one who doesn't like a sedentary desk-based job, then this job will suit you.

  • There is no shortage of work. Several industries look for specialised and experienced riggers for a multitude of jobs.

  • It pays you well

  • The job gives you a sense of achievement when you see your creation (construction) at the end of the day. It fills you with great satisfaction when you exceed the expectations of your clients.

  • You learn the ability to push yourself to the limits. You conquer the fear of confined zones and heights.

  • Going to diverse locations and meeting new people, along with the remuneration of travel expenses, makes it a good career choice.



The Challenges


All good things come with a price tag. Let's discuss what is not so appealing in this job.


  • Long work hours

  • High-risk job

  • Isolation and staying physically and mentally away from your family

  • Prolonged exposure to the harsh environment, hot weather, and rain

  • Work in remote locations

  • High commitment 

  • Hard labouring work

  • Highly expensive to get an overseas job

  • Strict deadlines

  • A constant need for reliable and safe performance under pressure



9. How Much Does A Rigger Earn?


The average hourly rigger salary comes to around $20.74 in the UK. The lowest that a rigger can earn is approx. $18 per hour, while the highest earnings can go above $35.


The average rigger pay rate in Australia is $41.63 per hour.



10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What Does A Rigger Do In The Mining Industry?


A crane rigger in the mining industry works for surface mining and underground mining companies. His duties involve:


  • Helping to excavate or expose the mine.

  • Extracting ore and similar mined materials.

  • Eliminating the rock and earth.



What Are The Benefits of Joining A Training Course?


Getting rigging training from a reputed institute can benefit you immensely. They have the facilities that to offer realistic worksite training.


These facilities simulate a real-world construction site experience and living hands-on training. 


After completing the course, you get a High-Risk Work Licence that qualifies you to work on a potentially risky construction site.



Why Should I Get A rigging License?


A rigging license confirms that a license holder can manage a construction site. 


It also shows that he has undergone adequate training, information, and guidelines to execute rigging work properly.



What Are Rigging Courses Like?


A basic level rigging course lasts five days, and four days for advanced and Intermediate-level courses. A candidate also has to attend 8 hours of training daily. He must wear proper Personal Protective Equipment during the course. 


The entire training is a combination of theoretical and practical learning. The complete training took place on the site. As the trainees wear protective coats, terrible weather conditions do not cause any interruption in training.



What Is The Cost of A Rigging License?


The cost of a rigging license course depends on the type of training you do.


The cost of a CPCCLRG3001A Licence for a 5-day basic-level rigging course: is $1,795. The cost of a CPCCLRG3002A License to perform a 5-day intermediate-level rigging course is $1,695.



Do I Have To Renew My Rigging License?


It is mandatory to renew a rigging license every five years. A rigger has to pay a certain fee to WorkSafe Australia for this purpose.



11. Conclusion


A rigger's job is imperative in several construction sites, especially in industrial and large-scale residential and commercial construction projects. As the building industry thrives, riggers' employment opportunities will grow.


Now that you have a clear path to becoming a rigger in Australia consider refining your skills through training and experience. All this will help you to secure employment in the construction industry.


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