The building and construction industry is one that possesses a significant range of expertise and job roles of which many seek to attain. Unlike many other industries, the possibilities are endless. From carpentry to bricklaying, all the way to more advanced roles such as a professional builder or project manager, look no further than construction to expand your horizons.
It is evident that the courses and structure of education as ways of increasing one’s own skills and experience in the industry will also be quite diverse in their own right. The process of completing certificates/degrees in varying areas of skill can have different outcomes, meaning the journey of developing knowledge in construction will inevitably differ amongst people.
A point of contention among aspiring entrants into the industry is how to better themselves in their discipline. It can be daunting to finish up to a certain point (whether that be in completing courses or gaining hands-on experience) and feel unsure of how to progress. This blog aims to provide meaningful ways to further develop your skills and experience in building and construction to ultimately advance your career in the industry.
Perhaps the most useful way of advancing your experience/skills in building and construction is by completing courses in an upwards trajectory of difficulty. The key to this is following the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australia. There are a total of 10 levels, beginning at Certificate I and ending at the Doctoral Degree level. The level you currently preside at on the AQF will determine how you progress in learning. Here is an outline of some of the prominent levels where most students of building and construction find themselves at: Certificate II, Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma.
Certificate II is the second level in the AQF. If you’ve finished a course at the Certificate I level, you may want to try Certificate II. Due to a rise in the difficulty of courses, it is considered the first stage where you are able to enter trade in the construction industry, with an exception to plumbing. This level comes with working in an apprenticeship with courses on offer ranging from joinery to carpentry and bricklaying with the length of the courses lasting similarly to Certificate I at 6-12 months. It would make sense to want to expand your skills and knowledge in building and construction at this level if you have already completed a Certificate I course. Content builds up in a sequential manner which will aid you in honing your craft, whether you stick to a specific area or branch out to gain a variety of experiences.
Following from Certificate II, you are going to arrive at Certificate III which follows on from its predecessor. It stresses the core competency units of Certificate II by having them be completed through the introduction of more theoretical concepts. Through the introduction of greater theoretical ideas, this level enables you to develop on the learning objectives taught at level 2, providing you with the abilities and competencies to seek to join the workforce and search for applicable and suitable jobs. There is also an emphasis at this level on continuing your education further than settling on employment straight away, by continuing to develop yourself further through the various levels to be discussed. The timeframe for completion for Certificate III now starts to increase as opposed to its predecessors. Expect to take 1 to 2 years and up to 4 years if apprenticeship is included in order to complete Certificate III. Similar to Certificate II, it is viable to expand your skills and knowledge in building and construction at this level if you have already completed a course in the Certificate II level. Considering there is a focus on developing a specialisation, you will find that it is easier to build on what you have learnt as there is a focal point of content of which you will be fixated on.
At the level of Certificate IV, many who are inexperienced in construction enter at this point. The reason for this is that it enables you to gain necessary qualifications without the need for cycling through Certificate I, II and III. Because of this added flexibility, Certificate IV is a wide-reaching qualification level that offers many different areas of specialisation to choose from. As expected, the content of the courses available is more demanding than previous levels, but what you study isn’t so difficult that previous experience is required. A course commonly undertaken is the Certificate IV in Building and Construction. In this course, you are exposed to many areas of construction such as developing skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It also seeks to increase your knowledge in building and construction to a greater level. For beginners in building and construction, this is the perfect starting point to build skills and experience. You will be trained to a degree that will make you quite knowledgeable in construction, and open the doors for further training in hands-on roles.
The level of Diploma represents another increase in difficulty, which is to be expected (especially considering it can lead to further specialisation at university level). All aspects of courses at this level become more detailed and complex. For instance, a course at this level is the Diploma of Building and Construction, which follows up on the Certificate IV course mentioned in the previous level. Upon completion of the course, you will have learnt how to apply building codes and regulations, prepare contracts and permits, and effectively manage construction projects. Because of the advance in difficulty, It is aimed at tradespeople and other employed people in the construction industry who are looking to advance their skills in management and development of residential/low-rise construction. It is a huge plus for people currently at the Certificate IV level to progress to Diplomas to enhance their building and construction skills and experience. Becoming more advanced in your area of specialisation will significantly help you to showcase your rise in ability in order to apply for more roles of a demanding nature.
Education is not the only way to develop skills and experience in building and construction. Gaining hands-on experience in construction projects is the other facet that can help you to improve. This is especially important when analysing the physical, labour-intensive aspect of construction. The industry is one where actual experience counts a lot in reputation and ability. Having numerous completed projects to refer to is key to advancing within the industry.
The amount of experience you aim to gain is dependent on your needs and how you intend to advance your career. This amount can vary because of a number of factors. For instance, obtaining a Builders License has specific requirements in terms of practical experience. 3 years should be enough to offer one adequate in at least three 3 homes, at all stages of the construction and this experience must be corroborated by the resident registered builder supervising the project. However, the relevant registering authority, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) offers a time scale of seven 7 years.
There are many avenues to developing your building and construction skills and experience. Whether you go down the education route, look at engaging in practical experience, or perhaps a combination of both, you can expect that you will be all the more experienced from however you choose to build yourself and your credentials.
Parker Brent is an accredited provider of building and construction courses, specialising in the Certificate IV and Diploma of Building and Construction, which are designed to give you the best head start in beginning your construction journey. For more details, enquire now: www.parkerbrent.com.au