Pathways to becoming a registered builder

by Emily Gorsky
Posted: June 19, 2019

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According to research by the Master Builders Association, the construction industry represents over 9% of the total workforce in Australia and is expected to increase to 1.3 million employees by 2021. As the industry continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified professionals to work on construction projects. This, therefore, makes it a great industry to work in right now.

If you’re considering working in the building and construction industry as a builder or construction manager, there are several pathways available to you. This article explains what the day-to-day role entails and outlines the key steps you should take, to start your career as a builder or construction manager.

What does the role entail?

The role of a builder and construction manager is to work on, coordinate and oversee construction projects for homes and other building sites. Most builders work on-site, undertaking some of the manual tasks themselves. Others may also manage the entire project, from overseeing the construction process, organising subcontractors, ensuring the project meets the client’s requirements and government safety regulations, plus much more.

The physical demands of working in construction mean that builders are required to be reasonably fit. Most jobs require heavy lifting, climbing, as well as handling of tools and machinery. Some of the most common activities builders and construction managers are required to carry out include:

  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • Communicating with supervisors, peers and staff
  • Resolving conflicts and negotiating
  • Scheduling work and activities

3 steps to starting your career as a builder

1. Become a qualified builder 

Firstly, to become a builder in Australia, you must obtain a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in building and construction. Open Colleges offers several building and construction courses that can help you start your career in this thriving industry:

  • CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) – This is a nationally recognised Diploma, which will help you fast-track your career. Delivered online, the course will develop your building and construction knowledge and enable you to plan, manage and supervise the complete construction of medium rise buildings.
  • CPC40110 Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) – By taking this course, you will develop the skills and knowledge you need to move up the career ladder and become a builder or construction manager. It’s a nationally recognised qualification that you can use across Australia. It even meets the education requirements for registration as a licensed builder in QLD, ACT, TAS and NT. As licensing varies from state to state, there may be extra requirements necessary to register though. In NSW, you will at the very least require this qualification, as well as 2 years' relevant industry experience.

2. Complete necessary safety training and obtain your white card

In Australia, anyone who works on a construction site must have a white card. This is obtained only after completing a ‘General Construction Induction’ course.

The training covers best practices in the construction site, with the aim of reducing or eliminating risks, including basic health and safety. You can now get a white card online and it is recognised in all states and territories.

You will need a white card if you become one of the following:

  • Site manager, supervisor, surveyor, labourer and tradesperson
  • A person with access to operational construction zones (unaccompanied or not directly supervised by an inducted person)
  • A worker who is required to routinely enter operational construction zones

The white card can be obtained online or face-to-face through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). More information and a list of white card trainers can be found on the ‘Safe Work Australia’ website.

3. Gain the right experience

Now you have a solid educational foundation, it’s important to get some hands-on experience for the best chances of finding the job that’s right for you. Most states in Australia require at least 2 years’ experience and sometimes more, so you may need to work as an apprentice alongside an experienced builder. Upon completing your studies, you can approach construction companies to gain work experience, or search online to find opportunities in construction.

If you’re looking to become a builder or construction manager in Australia, Open Colleges’ Building, Construction & Trades courses can give you the right foundation to get qualified and start your new career. For more information, download a free course guide, or get in touch to speak with one of our Education Advisors.


Emily Gorsky

Emily Gorsky

Emily Gorsky is a freelance writer focusing on career, education and personal finance. She strongly believes in living a balanced life. Her mission is to inspire others to engage in self-motivated learning and build their own path to success.

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