As with most industries, education is a must. Completing training and qualifications to be certified professionals in respective areas of work is the standard for how Australia’s economy operates. Whilst gaining experience through continuous employment is quite beneficial, it is not a reality for most if they have not gone through the required steps to reach that point.
Australia follows the Australian Qualifications Framework, which specifies the standard for qualifications in the country. It comprises 10 levels, with the first being Certificate I and the last being Doctoral. You do not necessarily have to progress through each level to gain employment. This will ultimately depend on the type of work you seek. For example, many areas require a bachelor’s degree to obtain a starting job within their respective industry.
One such industry that also relies on the Australian Qualifications Framework is the building and construction industry. Being one of the largest in Australia, it is no secret that there is a strong relationship between construction and strong educational backgrounds. After all, with such a reliance on the industry to deliver positive economic outcomes, this can only be achieved by having most professionals in construction with certified qualifications.
The cost of such qualifications can vary. For instance, it mainly depends on where you start and how far you progress. Going from Certificate I to a bachelor’s degree certainly would have financial implications, however only completing a Certificate IV is also a common scenario people find themselves in. Of course, education is not free. However, how much you spend is entirely dependent on how long you are willing to develop your knowledge in this fashion.
The Australian Qualifications Framework is not the only part of education that is considered in building and construction. When quality and safety is such a significant requirement within the industry, it makes sense that more obstacles are put in place in order to develop professionals with stronger ideals in ethics and procedure. The first, and perhaps most important stage to becoming part of the building and construction industry is obtaining a white card.
A white card, also known as a construction induction training card, is a requirement that all in the building and construction industry must fulfil. A white card essentially allows one to enter a construction site. Without one, you cannot legally do so. Some attempt to be part of projects without white cards, and have subsequently faced legal consequences, which only highlights the importance of white cards.
In previous times, there were cards of different colours which were allocated to a specific state or territory. Now, a universal card that is white exists, which does not limit the work you can do to just one state.
You can receive a white card by completing the construction induction training course with a registered training organisation (RTO). RTO’s offer vocational education and training services. An RTO is not just any organisation. It is legally recognised by the appropriate regulators so that they can provide training and qualifications. WorkSafe Victoria, a statutory authority of the Victorian Government and the primary body for managing and enforcing workplace safety, outlines every registered training organisation that you can complete a white card training course with on their website.
If you complete the white card course through an organisation not registered with WorkSafe Victoria, you will not be issued a white card. This is to limit the amount of risk that can form within the industry. As construction deals with the building of infrastructure and other related areas, occupational health and safety is paramount. If even one component is not completed correctly, it can threaten the safety of people who utilise the infrastructure in question. The white card course exists to ensure every building and construction professional understands that cutting corners is not a viable option to meet demand and time constraints.
When such importance is placed on something like a white card course, it would be interesting to find out how much it costs to undertake the course. One might assume that costs would be high considering its importance, but this is actually far from the case. The construction induction training course only costs $150. But why is it so inexpensive?
This is for a variety of reasons. Firstly, building and construction should not have many barriers to entry. It should be as accessible as possible so that people from all backgrounds can apply to begin their journey to working in the industry.
It is also a standardised card, therefore the bulk of learning that comes with building and construction does not occur at this stage, but rather when people decide to start learning through the Australian Qualifications Framework. The white card course mainly exists for people to legally have the right to work and participate on construction sites.
Another reason why it is so cost effective is because of how long it takes to complete. The construction induction training course realistically only takes one day, and within that one day can be completed in an even shorter time frame.
With regards to content, the construction induction training course mainly deals with the common safety requirements for construction sites across Victoria. Some of the learning objectives you will encounter include but are not limited to:
- The process for identifying hazards
- The process for reporting safety concerns seen on worksites
- The steps of action required to mitigate risks and potential hazards which can cause accidents or injuries
- The proper methods to responding to incidents on construction worksites related to worker health and safety
Whilst occupational health and safety is a topic of seriousness that requires full attention, it does not take away from the fact that completing the course is relatively simple, which reflects the time taken to finish it.
A point of imperativeness that must be made is the importance of not completing the construction induction training course with an organisation not registered with WorkSafe Victoria. Because they do not have certifications, they are more likely to prey on people by advertising the white card course at a low fee of $30, as well as the opportunity to complete it online. These should be ignored entirely. The white card course will never be as low as $30 because it has a standard fee of $150 state-wide, and it cannot be completed online.
Non-approved organisations will also advertise without confirmation of being a registered training organisation, and will suggest that the duration is less than 6 hours. Because they are not legally recognised, if you complete a construction induction training course with these organisations you will not be issued a white card by WorkSafe Victoria.
To make sure you are undertaking the correct course, you should note that the course code (or unit of competency) offered is known as CPCCWHS1001 – prepare to work safely in the construction industry. This way, you can save time by making sure you are paying the correct fee with an organisation recognised by WorkSafe Victoria.
The cost of obtaining a white card is not substantial, however it does not take away from the fact of how important it is. Once you receive your white card, you will be setting yourself up to begin your career in the industry in a legally recognised manner.
Parker Brent is an accredited provider of the construction induction training course, as well as courses in building and construction. Enquire for more details here.