How do you get started in the construction industry?

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Construction industry

It’s a fantastic time to be in construction in Australia. According to the latest figures from Master Builders Australia (MBA), residential building is now at an all-time high, which means there is a real demand for quality builders and other tradespeople. So how can you get into this demanding yet rewarding industry?

Baby steps

Start with research. There are a number of qualifications and training courses that will lead you in the right direction, but you must first choose a path. You might consider training as a plumber, builder, brick layer, electrician, surveyor, or something else.

From there, you’ll most likely be looking at finding an apprenticeship. Again, you’ll need to have a look around for options for your chosen trade. MBA, for example, offers a Construction Apprenticeship Mentoring Scheme (CAMS) that connects prospective apprentices to volunteer mentors and other services to help you take that first step.

Walk before you can run

Your training will quickly become your biggest focus. You may mix on-the-job skills with distance learning from any number of universities or training centres around the country. Part of this will be what is known as your ‘white card training’, which is a compulsory nationally recognised plastic card for all on-site construction workers in Australia. You receive this from your state or territory government once you’ve completed the ‘Work Safety in the Construction Industry’ induction course, which you can find through any registered training organisation.

Aside from that, you will spend your time working on-site with your mentor and other workers to build up your skills, confidence and experience.

The goal here is to work towards becoming registered or licensed in your state or territory. Depending on your location and trade, this will require any combination of technical qualifications, skills, knowledge, and experience. Again, you will achieve this through a registered training organisation, such as those offered by the Housing Industry Association.

Marathon, not a sprint

Once you have the skills, experience, and official registration or licensing, you will be ready to work just about anywhere. By this stage, you will likely have contacts in the industry already, and may even have a steady job to go to.

Before you take the first well-paid position available to you, remember to go back to step one and do your research. You may find higher paid positions elsewhere, or even ones that offer further training.

Some regions will require you to continue on with regular training in order to maintain your licence or registration, so you will need to be aware of any such requirements as you delve into further work.

Winning the race

You may even wish to consider further skills and knowledge training in order to start your own small business. There are already more than 300,000 small businesses in the building and construction industry in Australia, and there are countless courses available for workers to learn about starting their own companies, promoting their brand, managing teams and dealing with the paperwork required to make all of that a reality.