One of the challenges of the past two years has been increasing growth in Australia’s largest industries. Due to numerous lockdowns, we have continuously seen restrictions being implemented in the workplace. From the introduction of masks and social distancing, to having less people working at any given point in time, the economy has had to adjust significantly in order to meet new quotas whilst also attempting to push for growth at the same time.
Certainly, there have been many challenges and obstacles. Such changes being made abruptly take time to become accustomed to, which is a primary reason for slow movement in Australia’s economy. Efficiency has reduced, which has, in turn, seen decreased productivity in the workplace, resulting in less than desired outcomes.
One such industry that can certifiably say it has been affected is the building and construction industry. One of the largest in Australia, our economy relies on this industry to perform. A constant stream of construction projects, whether public or private, are necessary for growth to occur. What has happened in reality is quite different. As restrictions have come into play, worksites have culled staff at respective points during the day, which has meant that the time taken to complete projects has significantly risen to the point where projects can even be delayed for the sake of meeting quality and safety requirements.
And why not? If there is any metric in building and construction that matters, more so than any other, then you would be hard-pressed to go past quality and safety. The construction industry is built on these standards. When these requirements are not fulfilled to a point of perfection, it can cause a plethora of issues in the future. Just like the domino effect, the pieces start to unravel.
Hence why quality and safety is so important. And there are measures in place to ensure professionals adhere to these standards.
The measure in question to which each construction professional is held accountable is a white card. A white card, also known as a construction induction training card, is a legal requirement that must be fulfilled by all in the construction industry.
A white card essentially provides you with access to enter and perform activities on a construction site. Without it, it is virtually impossible to be a part of construction in any physical sense. This means that employers can prevent hiring people who have not completed the course and thus may have a penchant for cutting corners or avoiding processes partly or at worst, entirely.
But how exactly do you get a white card? In this blog, we detail the steps to getting a white card, and what you can expect after this in order to be ready to enter the workforce as a fully-trained professional.
Register with an approved RTO
One important point of note, and perhaps crucial to this discussion, is where your white card is obtained from. 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.
A registered training organisation, also known as an RTO, is an organisation that provides vocational education and training services. To be an RTO, an organisation must be legally recognised by the appropriate regulators so that they can provide training and qualifications.
Why this information is important is because it will determine whether you can actually get a white card or not. If you complete a white card course from a non-approved organisation, you will not be issued a white card from WorkSafe Victoria.
The reason why there is an approved list of RTO’s is because it is extremely imperative that the training organisations that provide white card courses and subsequent training in building and construction are fully verified. A recognised organisation is going to abide by rules and regulations and ensure its students are fully trained to a point of accountability. The risk of accidents and hazards occurring in workplaces are therefore significantly reduced, whereas if white cards are also issued from non-approved organisations there is no telling what could happen.
Organisations that are not approved by WorkSafe Victoria may not fulfil all requirements, which is evident in their advertising. You may see misleading statements or missing information. For example, the course might be advertised at a low cost of up to $30, and can be completed online which is not allowed. There is no information that verifies them as an RTO. they may also suggest that the course runs for less than 6 hours.
Prepare for the course
There is little to do in this section. As CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry is an accredited unit of competency, you must provide your Unique Student Identifier (USI). USIs are available for free creation using the Government USI portal, which only takes 5 to 10 minutes.
Confirm you are in the right course
According to WorkSafe Victoria, it is important that you make sure you register in the correct course. This can be done by communicating with the desired RTO the course code (or unit of competency) for the training offered is CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry.
Begin the course
At this point, you are ready to complete the construction induction training course. It is beneficial to know what the course entails, which includes content, length, and outcomes. The course will most likely be offered in a face-to-face environment; only a select few RTO’s have been permitted to deliver learning outcomes via video link however only during the pandemic. You will need to make sure to bring a photographic primary ID along with you on the day of the course to verify your identity.
As for 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
Content is administered through presentations, videos and class activities such as discussions. At the end of the course, a test is provided which you will need to pass in order to receive a white card.
The course is quite short, only running for 6 hours on average. However, at the end of the day, upon successful completion of the course you will be issued a construction induction card from WorkSafe Victoria. Your RTO will apply to WorkSafe Victoria at your behest and you would then receive your personalised white card in the mail approximately two weeks after receiving written and verbal confirmation of your success.
In truth, obtaining a white card is not necessarily difficult. The course only lasts one day, and as long as you register with an approved RTO, you should be able to get the licence so that you can enter construction sites with no legal ramifications.
ParkerBrent is a provider of construction induction training, as well as courses in Building and Construction to get you started in the industry. Enquire for more details here.