Building and construction is an area that many choose to specialise in. The industry is booming, being one of the largest in Australia and contributing immensely to our economy. Infrastructure promotes jobs, and in the process helps our society to function and innovate.
The main reason for building and construction being such a vast industry is choice. Other industries may have limits to the pathways that can be taken, which only increases the competition for jobs in the market. On the other hand, with construction there isn’t a set amount of roles and jobs available. In reality, the opportunities are endless. From carpentry to surveying, you will inevitably find something suited to your needs and capabilities.
Whilst many of the jobs are physically focused, people can progress to roles that involve more leadership and management of projects. This flexibility only continues to encourage people to enter the industry and build their career, because they are truly given the freedom and space to work out the direction they want to take their career.
Becoming skilled in building and construction, like many other areas, takes time. There are different processes involved for professions in the industry, as not all roles are the same. For instance, the path to becoming a building estimator is entirely different to that of a construction manager.
With that being said, here are 5 ways to make building and construction training work for you.
1. Pick the area you want to specialise in
As the industry is vast and expansive, it can be difficult to determine your course of action in finding something that suits you. Breaking it down, you may struggle to understand your interests. You would first need to understand the larger areas of construction. Housing construction accounts for 60% of the industry, with the rest being commercial construction (buildings, offices, apartments) and civil construction (roads, railways, tunnels). Even further with this are the actual jobs available in these sectors.
As you progress through training, you will find that what you learn becomes less generalised, imploring you to hone your skills in a particular area. This is why it is imperative to choose what you will do wisely.
Here are a few of the most common jobs sought after in building and construction:
- Carpentry and Joinery
- Building and Construction Manager
It is evident that these 4 roles have so little in common, however they some of the most popular roles, further pointing to the fact that you must distinguish your career in an area and try to stick to it.
2. Be qualified in education
In construction, there is no room for complacency. If projects are not completed to accuracy, it has a direct impact on society. This is why education is important. Making sure you have completed the necessary amount of courses will help to make your training in building and construction easier.
Australia follows the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It comprises levels, ranging from Certificate I at the bottom to the Doctoral level at the top. Becoming trained in construction involves undertaking courses in this framework, slowly progressing from level to level which build on each other in difficulty.
You could technically start at Certificate I, however this is usually regulated to school leavers and others in similar situations. Normally, Certificate II is a point where people start. Certificate IV is also a point where some start because there are courses at this level which introduce you to building and construction at an advanced level whilst not requiring prior experience. An example of this is the Certificate IV in Building and Construction.
Nevertheless, being qualified in education is a key component to making training work for you because it makes the process all the more simple and straightforward.
3. Ensure you complete enough hands on experience
Education is not the only important part of training in building and construction. Hand in hand with it comes practical experience. It could even be said that this part of training is even more imperative that education purely because of exposure. By having actual experiences to look back on, it means you are much more equipped to enter the industry because employers will know you can be relied on.
The amount of experience required varies depending on the area of specialisation. For builders, three years should be enough to offer one adequate in at least three homes, at all stages of the construction and this experience must be attested to by the resident registered builder supervising the project. However, the relevant registering authority, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) offers a time scale of seven years, that is projects that the applicant has been part of over that period.
Another reason why it is so important to have adequate hands-on experience is because there is a general shortage of skills of labour. In 2018, The Australian Government found that 41% of employers did not find any appropriate applicants for advertised positions. This can be linked to the fact that of 8 out of 9 areas of construction surveyed, only one did not suffer from national shortage of labour. There is a strong demand for quality in construction, so making that grade is key to optimising your training in building and construction.
4. Learn to collaborate
In building and construction, you won’t be working by yourself forever. You will eventually have to work with others, particularly those of different professions. Part of working on projects involves deliberating with many types of people, such as surveyors, architects, bricklayers etc. When you reach this stage, having the people skills necessary to smooth operations is a significant plus. Developing these skills in training is the best way to do so. This means being proactive in classes by learning to share ideas and workflows in teams, and attempting to be a team player in real life situations.
The truth about construction projects is that they can only succeed if everyone is in sync. If even one piece is not in place, the jigsaw falls apart. Rising to the occasion, but also spurring your colleagues, is a skill that can be learnt and subsequently make your training easier.
5. Don’t rush – take your time
It can be tempting to try to move as quickly as possible to enter the workforce. The lure of making a reputable salary and developing a portfolio of projects is what inspires people to move as fast as they can in training for building and construction.
This only seeks to hinder your progress, and may potentially have the opposite effect. You might burn out quickly from loading on too much to do in a short period of time, leaving you with little motivation to stay in the industry.
Understanding that the process of training takes time is crucial. Whilst many other industries take considerable time to reach stages of employment, construction offers the chance to study and undertake practical training at the same time.
Despite this, it is better to not try to fasttrack your way into the industry. As mentioned earlier, there is a skilled labour shortage. There isn’t a need to hurry because there aren’t any spots being quickly filled up. So take the opportunity to enjoy the ride. Learn to gain the satisfaction of completing projects and making a real impact on society. You will certainly not regret it.
There are many other ways to make building and construction training work for you, but these 5 ways will go a long way to easing the process.
Parker Brent is an accredited provider of courses in building and construction. Enquire for more details.