How to successfully complete Certificate IV or Diploma of Building and Construction along with your family or work commitments?

Khalid Noor, 2022


Time is often underestimated by many in different walks of life. Having time to do something is almost certainly more beneficial than not possessing that time, because you have a window you can actively use to complete tasks and achieve goals. 


It is no secret that creating strategies and, subsequently, the goals to achieve them, is the key to being successful in any endeavour. But how do we attempt to make it work? By what frameworks are we constrained to make the simple seem not so simple?


This can be attributed to time. Those with plentiful amounts of this metric can take advantage to do what they need to do, or not. Contrasting this, it is extremely difficult to finish tasks, let alone begin them when you do not have sufficient time to do so.


A common pitfall that most people encounter is balancing commitments. When your attention is divided, it can be strenuous to allocate the right amount of resources to those commitments. The typical responsibilities many are burdened with include, work, study and family. These are the general areas that can be found in everyday life, and creating positive synergy between these three requires analysis. 


In the case of building and construction, work and study could be attributed to this area. For the intents of this blog, we focus mainly on the study component when discussing construction. Whilst you could be working in construction, it is most important to understand how studies in building and construction affects the work-life dynamic.


Undertaking studies in building and construction is certainly time consuming. The effort that is required to complete courses in this area matches the importance of thoroughly trained individuals entering the industry. This is only compounded by the fact that construction is one of Australia’s largest industries, and the economic impact this industry makes is substantial. 


There are many courses in building and construction, covering areas from plumbing all the way to construction management. Such diversity does not exist in many lines of work. Two courses of particular note which we discuss in this blog are the Certificate IV of Building and Construction and the Diploma in Building and Construction.


The key question is, how can you optimise your time to effectively manage your studies in thes building and construction courses along with family and/or work commitments?


Make sure you choose the right path


To make the process as smooth as possible, it is imperative that you understand how to best move forward in your studies to balance commitments. Simply jumping head first and taking it one step at a time may seem intriguing, but in reality it sets you up for lost time, money and resources. Planning your journey and recognising what you want out of a career in building and construction will significantly help you to determine how to optimise your time. 


As mentioned earlier, there are a plethora of courses in building and construction. Two of the most common are the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). Both courses are part of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which specifies the standards of education in Australia. There are 10 levels, with Certificate IV and Diploma being the fourth and fifth levels respectively. 


Choosing your path hinges on whether you complete the Certificate IV course only, or both courses. Certainly, you would realistically only require the Certificate IV to enter the industry and look for employment. The course objectives provide sufficient knowledge to be competent in many roles. 


However, many also look to completing the Diploma next to solidify and broaden their skills and knowledge. The Diploma of Building and Construction is more advanced when compared to the Certificate IV course, as it aims to provide you with expert comprehension on building sites. 


If your priority is maintaining a healthy study, work and family balance, then you need to consider if it is necessary to undertake and complete the Diploma course in addition to the Certificate IV course. 



Recognise the time involved


Completing courses in building and construction can be time consuming. Especially in the case of the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and the Diploma of Building and Construction, they both require dedication of time to work through and successfully finish. This may affect your ability to perform a job on the side, or spending time with friends and family. 


If you are aware of the content and how long you are expected to undertake the courses, you can effectively plan ahead to take advantage of what is important to you outside of your studies whilst also putting in the time to complete your studies. 


In the case of the Certificate IV in Building and Construction, the course itself comprises 16 units, with 13 being core and the other 3 elective. The topics covered include but are not limited to:


  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Managing occupational health and safety (OH&S)
  • Conducting on-site supervision of projects
  • Reading and interpreting plans and specifications
  • Arranging for building applications and approvals


What the course seeks to do is enable you with skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It will also enhance your knowledge in building and construction to an advanced level, which drastically increases chances of landing job opportunities. 


 Students will also be able to attend classes which introduce and teach topics and at later points provide assessments, and perform a minimum of two hours of their own research. The time taken to complete the course is roughly 34 weeks, which takes into consideration the amount of content needed to learn before one is adequately trained to the level required for Certificate IV. 


The Diploma, on the other hand, is the next step from Certificate IV. It includes 18 units, with 13 of them being core and the other 5 being elective. Various areas are covered such as:


  • Applying principles of OHS risk management
  • Controlling project quality and risk
  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Applying site surveys and set out procedures
  • Managing environmental and energy conservation practices and processes


The course lasts for 50 weeks, covering many topics such as the ones mentioned above. Students will need to reserve a minimum of 2 hours per week of self-directed research, supplementing classes which will be supervised by a Trainer. 


As this is an advanced course, it is generally 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 evident that these courses take a considerable amount of time to complete, which makes sense given they train you up to a level of competency to be eligible for job applications in the field of construction. What you need to understand is this will impact your ability to manage priorities between studies, work and/or family. By recognising the time needed, you can create a plan to complete your studies efficiently, whilst also taking advantage of what matters most to you. 


By following these steps, you will certainly be able to make life easier in becoming a professional in building and construction but also having a fulfilling life outside of other commitments. 


Parker Brent is an accredited provider of courses in Building and Construction. For more info, enquire for more details here.