In terms of industries, there aren’t that many as large and expansive as the construction industry in Australia. With so many opportunities available, it is no wonder that many people are flocking to building and construction to build their careers.
One advantage that the building and construction industry has over others is that there isn’t one starting point to entering the industry. You can be of any level of expertise and begin training and qualifications immediately, whether you have had some sort of experience in construction or you have never even laid a brick.
An example of making your start in the construction industry is undertaking a construction apprenticeship. It is generally considered a different option for high school leavers or those forgoing the university route to expand their career. It is seen as a fruitful and lucrative way to develop your skills and set yourself up for employment prospects.
Completing an apprenticeship normally takes around 4 years. This gives you ample time to hone your skills and be best placed to enter the industry. Once you have earned your qualifications, you will have the skillset to take you many places within the industry.
A construction apprenticeship is a job where training and paid work is combined. It’s truly the definition of learning on the job. With both of these parts of being an apprentice, you really get the best of both worlds in becoming a professional in construction by learning skills and putting those skills to good use in a paid work environment.
So how do you get a construction apprenticeship?
1.Choose a trade
The first and perhaps most important thing to do before anything is decide what area of construction you would like to specialize in. indecisiveness is something that befalls many people when making big life altering decisions, particularly in the case of a career. It can feel pressurizing to choose something and subsequently regret that decision moving forward.
This is why it is imperative that you do the research beforehand before deciding on an area of interest. Construction is a large industry, therefore finding the right fit can take considerable time and energy. However, the more time you take to understand yourself, your skills and your needs, the better placed you will be to find an area that really speaks to your personality.
Are you a better worker alone or in a team? Do you prefer hands-on work, or more theoretical and mathematical? These are some of the many questions you need to ask yourself when deciding what to specialize in.
Some of the trades you could work in include: carpenting, bricklaying, joinery, electrician, plumbing etc. What can be noted from each of these examples is how different they are. The everyday happenings of a carpenter is vastly different to an electrician. What you will find, however, is there is most certainly a trade for you to explore to the fullest.
2.Do a pre-apprenticeship
The next step to getting a construction apprenticeship would be to complete a pre apprenticeship. With a pre apprenticeship, you will get to see what it is like to work in construction before committing to getting an apprenticeship. It’s essentially a starting course to understanding if an apprenticeship is the right fit for you.
With a pre apprenticeship, it gives you the opportunity to hone and develop skills important to construction, whilst also strengthening your employment profile which employers will inevitably notice when applying for an apprenticeship.
Pre apprenticeships are offered by Registered Training Organizations (RTO’s) and Group Training Organizations (GTO’s). Some pre apprenticeships also include the opportunity to gain fulfilling work experience, which is an added bonus and would make your resume stand out.
A pre apprenticeship isn’t a necessary qualification by any means, however it is more beneficial than hindering because it will only seek to help you clear your path to getting a construction apprenticeship in the trade you would like to specialize in.
3. Complete a Certificate II course
A pre apprenticeship is normally a Certificate II course. Certificate II is the second level of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which outlines the levels and standards of educational qualifications in Australia. As it is sequential, it is considered to be the continuation of Certificate I, mainly in terms of the rise in the difficulty and quality of content taught. Because of this, it is seen as the first level which enables you to enter trade in the construction industry, with the exception of plumbing. The courses that are on offer for this level include areas such as Joinery, Carpentry and Bricklaying. Just like Certificate I, it lasts 6-12 months.
4. Complete a Certificate III course
After completing a Cert II course, your next point of action is to complete a Certificate III course in the same area of trade. This is the step prior to being ready to apply for construction apprenticeships.
Certificate III follows on from its predecessor, and stresses the importance of core competency units of Certificate II having been completed through introducing more theoretical concepts. This will allow you to enhance and build upon the content you would have learnt in the previous level, whilst making you better prepared for the workforce. It also aims to encourage students to pursue higher-level education by continuing studies instead of heading straight to looking for employment. The timeframe for completing a Certificate III is 1 to 2 years, and up to 4 years for the inclusion of an apprenticeship.
5. Search for an apprenticeship
With having completed a Cert III course, you will be ready to apply for construction apprenticeships. This is the stage where it is important to put your best case forward for why you should be given an apprenticeship. There will be many others just like you who are applying for the same role, and may have also gone through the same steps. By trusting your abilities and experience, you will enable yourself to impress employers and reach a desired outcome.
There are normally two ways of getting an apprenticeship at this stage. The first is the most simple: by searching. You could ask employers for any vacancies available, and follow up through emails and remain in contact to keep the opportunity fresh. There may also be job openings on online job boards which could potentially be an option. However, generally speaking apprenticeships are not frequently advertised in this manner.
To counteract this, learning to network is an important skill that can help you to get an apprenticeship. Throughout your journey, you may encounter people in your trade or construction in general. Keeping in contact with these people is imperative to keeping your options open. You could also meet people through family and friends or by attending events to make yourself stand out.
The other option is to register with a GTO. GTO’s provide placements for apprentices and find suitable employers for them to work for. Being part of a GTO could mean you work for more than one employer over a period of time.
Becoming an apprentice is no easy feat. There is a process involved which takes time and effort, however if you are motivated and determined then you can certainly obtain an apprenticeship in building and construction and ultimately further your career.
Parker Brent is an accredited provider of building and construction courses, specializing in the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). If you are interested, enquire here today.