What your construction worker ticket means.

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What your construction worker ticket means.

By Daniel Green.

Tickets, licences, qualifications, VOC’s, Certificates, Trade Papers and Nationally Recognised Training.

It seems in 2020 you need a licence to open a can of coke. But with the myriad of qualifications running through our fair industry, how do you tell the difference between a legitimate one and a fugaze?

Let’s start at the beginning. Without sounding like a dill, when you want to learn something that’s a touch complex – you go and get some training, and if you pass you get a token of that training that you can carry around with you. Usually a card or a certificate or these days – an app.

Properly issued qualifications [the umbrella term for tickets and licences] as a result of quality training have long since protected other workers from common dangers encountered on site. This was the primary reason for their introduction in the eighties. And as sites grew more complicated and the safety of workers rose in priority, so did the requirement for qualifications. Don’t believe me? Google ‘construction fails’ and you’ll see some truly epic work.

Nationally Recognised Training.

In Australia, there’s Nationally Recognised Training and just plain old training courses. Nationally Recognised Training is any qualification that has a standardised training program and is, as the title suggests, recognised nationwide. You can take that sucker to any state and territory. We’re talking a carpentry trade, car licence or rigging ticket. The training must be run by a Registered Training Organisation that has the standardised training package on their scope. The trainers running the course must hold a Cert IV in Training and Assessment, the qualification they’re training you in and relevant industry experience in that field. It is heavily regulated by the Department of Education and is subject to frequent audits. In other words – it’s very hard to cheat.

Everything else other than NRT is just a course. My Aunty Joan can run a course. Heck, she can run a course on Advanced Rigging. She can even issue a certificate. She may have even been a career offshore rigger in the petroleum sector. But without the legitimacy of offering Nationally Recognised Training the quality of her course can be called into question. This doesn’t mean that Aunty Joan’s rigging course is terrible. It just means that without being regulated it may not meet the standards required by our industry, which can be dangerous. I personally know of a demolition and hazmat removal contractor in Marrickville that provides comprehensive training for new workers. They use a suitably qualified Cert IV Trainer/Assessor with buckets of industry experience with the chief aim of upskilling their workforce. More skills equals more productive workers.

Verification of Competencies.

No matter how much policing you do there will always be a few crooks, and with so much training occurring there is bound to be a few shady tickets falling through the gaps. Enter the VOC, which is a site issued card to support a ticket or licence. It is not a ticket. It is not a licence. It is not Nationally Recognised Training. It’s a quick check to make sure you know what you’re doing, usually on a machine. It is to verify [check] your competency [skill set]. Sometimes, it will allow you to operate one machine on that one site. If you’re lucky it will allow you to operate that one machine across all of the sites on that project. If you’re even luckier, it will allow you to operate that one machine across all sites operated by that contractor. Any business outside that VOC’s reach is taking a risk by allowing you to operate that machine based on the strength of the VOC. Much like Aunty Joan’s rigging course, VOC’s are unregulated.


Since the eighties all of our national qualifications have been streamlined into a standardised Tertiary certification system. From Cert I through Cert IV, Diplomas and Degrees to Doctorates. Gone are the days of trade papers regulated by their own industry. The knowledge is still the same but now upon completion you get a Certificate III.

As you can see there’s a lot more to qualifications than meets the eye. For more information you can follow these links:






Common Training Industry Terms.

RTO. Registered Training Organisation. A business solely designed to deliver Nationally Recognised Training.

RPL. Recognition of Prior Learning. The method by which existing skills go towards completion of an RTO delivered course.

Ticket/Licence. The token issued to you upon completion of a qualification.

Qualification. The outcome of successful NRT. Issued by an RTO.

VOC. Verification of Competency. A quick check of skills usually performed on site.

Nationally Recognised Training. Training that occurs within the framework set out by the Australian government and delivered by an RTO.

Certificate. The document issued to you upon completion of a course, NRT or otherwise.