How To Become A Rigger In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know more about the rigger pay rates and apprenticeships in Australia.

Are you the one who enjoys outdoor work and is comfortable in handling heavy weights and heights? If yes, then you are a suitable candidate to become a rigger. 
A rigger is a trained tradesman who plays a crucial role in the construction industry.


He is an indispensable requirement in large-scale and industrial building projects. A rigger is specialized in moving structural steel and machines around worksites using rigging gears that include pulleys, cables, ropes, and winches.

If you are interested to know how to become a rigger in Australia, then this comprehensive guide will equip you with all the information to help you become one. You will learn about what a rigger does, their duties, skills, training & experience, salary, job prospects, and much more.


1. Who Is A Rigger?

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

Though their primary area of work is on construction sites, specialized riggers are also employed 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. He lowers, moves, lifts, positions or installs structural steel, concrete slabs, machinery, and 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 to assemble temporary structures on construction sites and under construction.

He performs quick computations that are vital for implementing engineering principles and consignments. A rigger uses a variety of equipment such as cranes, dollies, hydraulic jacks, trucks, and pulleys, to transport objects of varying size, shape, and weight.


3. What Are The Duties Of A Rigger?

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

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


Gear related duties


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 properly so that it is efficient and safe to use. To identify the right equipment, a rigger evaluates loads based on their weight, size, and shape and lifting method.


Examination and Testing of Rigging Gear

Throughout his duties, a rigger has to ensure that he adheres to safety guidelines at all times. 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 A Rigging Gear

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

Following are the other important 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 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. He has to lift, tilt, lower, turn, move, elevate, and load heavyweights and machinery.


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


  • Enjoy doing practical outdoor work

  • Can cope up 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

  • Good spatial awareness

  • 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

  • Another key rigger skills include strong judgment and decision-making abilities to ensure safety on construction sites

  • Sound task monitoring and complex problem-solving skills


5. How Much Does A Rigger Earn?

The earnings of a rigger are generally computed on per hour basis. The average hourly rigger salary comes around $20.74 in the UK. The lowest that a rigger can earn is approx. $12 per hour, while the highest earnings can go above $35.

The average rigger pay rate in Australia is $41.63 per hour. Hawaii is the only high-paying state that pays approximately $63440 per annum to riggers.


6. Academic Qualification And Training for a Rigger

Rigging is a high-risk job that requires a good amount of skills and competency to accomplish. This makes it necessary to get comprehensive training and a license before you work as a rigger.

An aspiring rigger should be at least 18 years of age to apply for this role. He 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 will be evaluated by a qualified assessor.  After evaluation and verification of the job qualifications, the National Standard issues a High-Risk work license to the rigger.

A rigger also has to undergo safety induction training that is a requirement to work on a construction site. After successful completion of the training, a Construction Induction Card is issued to the rigger. It gives him the license to perform a variety of 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 Cert III Civil Construction or Cert III Scaffolding course.


7. Employment Opportunities of a Rigger

The future job outlook of the construction industry is quite promising. The expansion in commercialization 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 specialize and make a successful career in any of the below rigger jobs:


Dockside rigger

The main 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 to the steel structures.

Most of the time is spent 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 so that they can be used in large-scale construction projects.


Moreover, a steel fixer also ensures the correct installation of the pre-fabricated 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 in 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 dearth of work. Several industries look for specialized 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 remuneration of travel expenses makes it a good career choice



The Challenges

All good things come with a price tag. Having seen all the good things, now let us see 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 on remote locations

  • High commitment 

  • Hard laboring work

  • Highly expensive to get an overseas job

  • Strict deadlines

  • Constant need for reliable and safe performance under pressure


9. Steps To Become A Rigger in Australia 

To qualify as a construction rigger in Australia, it is important to undergo a rigger traineeship. The licensing requirement for a rigger is different for different states and territories in Australia. So, it is important to read them before you proceed in this direction.


Step 1: Get Qualified

A rigger should enroll in a nationally approved rigging course from a reputed training center to get qualified to work anywhere in Australia. This course is designed to offer specialized knowledge, key construction skills, and valuable industry insight to work safely on site.

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

In addition to theoretical training, a Rigger also has to 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 Rigging Licence

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

Depending on the job role, a rigger may require to complete certain licenses such as a 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 that confirms that he is capable to 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 in their territory or state to perform the job.


Step 3: Create An Impressive Resume

Build a high-quality impressive and detailed resume that highlights your education, skills, talents, and work experience in the best way possible. Emphasize your achievements and strengths in the resume. Make your cover letter specifically 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 an internship, jobs, and other places related to rigging. Keep in touch with them regarding any job openings. It will help in improving your chances of getting a job.


10. 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 is thriving, employment opportunities for riggers are also expected to rise.

Now that you have a clear path on how to become a rigger in Australia, consider refining your skills by getting training and experience. All this will help you to secure employment in the construction industry.



What does a rigger do in the mining industry?

A crane rigger employed in the mining industry work for surface mining and underground mining companies. His duties involve helping to excavate or expose the mine, extracting ore and similar mined materials, and 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 are fully equipped with facilities that are set up to offer realistic worksite training.

These facilities are designed to simulate a real-world construction site experience along with living hands-on training.


After completion of 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 is capable of managing a construction site.


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


What are rigging courses like?

The time duration of a basic level rigging course is 5 days and 4 days for the advanced level and Intermediate level courses. A candidate 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, bad weather conditions do not cause any interruption in the training.


What is the cost of a rigging license?

The cost of a rigging license course is based on the type of training you undergo. The cost of a CPCCLRG3001A Licence for a 5-day basic-level rigging course: $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 amount of fee to WorkSafe Australia for this purpose.



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