A career in building and construction provides opportunities for individuals seeking jobs in construction. Initially, you may need to seek advice from a range of personnel to determine what you need to do to move into the building and construction industry in Australia. The best advice is gained from experienced personnel with a good understanding of the jobs in construction.
Suitable people may include the foreperson on the job, architects and/or engineers, teachers/lecturers from registered training organisations etc.
Once a person has determined a pathway or direction, there are two steps they need to take:
- practical industry involvement
- training or educational pathway.
Practical industry involvement
Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience. For many within the building and construction industry this method of learning is the central way that they learn; that is, by doing. Many people are able to learn how to be productive within the building and construction industry by being guided by someone who demonstrates the practical skills they require to complete tasks.
A classic example of this is the tradesperson-apprentice relationship where the tradesperson takes on an apprentice and teaches them how to become a tradesperson.
This method of learning has existed for many years; today, however, without formal recognition this alone is not considered sufficient training.
Training or educational pathway
The first item that needs to be addressed for anyone starting in the building and construction industry is general induction training.
General construction induction training
Employers and principal contractors must ensure that persons carrying out any form of work on the construction site have undertaken the relevant general construction induction training. This is an existing obligation outlined within the relevant WHS legislation. It applies to all persons carrying out work in the residential, commercial and high-rise construction sectors.
A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards, guidelines and qualifications that are used for recognising and assessing people’s skills. They describe the skills and knowledge needed to perform effectively in the workplace.
Training packages set a national industry standard for skills and are used as the basis for most of the programs delivered in the VET (vocational education and training) system, including Australian Apprenticeships and VET-in-schools programs. These programs are delivered by registered training organisations (RTOs).
The training package for the building industry is CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services Training Package. It specifies the combination of units of competency required to achieve a particular qualification. Learners who complete some, but not all, units for a qualification are awarded a statement of attainment. When they are assessed as competent in the remaining units, they attain the qualification.
In broad terms, AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework) level 1 equates to Certificate I, AQF level 2 to Certificate II, and so on. The AQF provides the characteristics, distinguishing features and criteria for each qualification level to ensure consistency across sectors and from one qualification to the next. It also establishes the principles for the issuing of qualifications by RTOs. Under the AQF, a learner can start at the level that suits them and then build up their qualification as their needs and interests develop and change over time. The framework assists learners to plan their career progression regardless of their life stage or location, by supporting movement across the sectors and encouraging lifelong learning.
Jobs that can be applied for in the construction industry vary depending on the level of qualification attained. For instance, a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) would allow you to apply for roles such as Trade Contractor or Building Estimator. A Diploma could enable you to become a Project Manager.
Units of competency
Units of competency are developed by industry to meet identified skill needs. Each unit of competency identifies a separate workplace requirement and includes the knowledge and skills that underpin competency as well as language, literacy and numeracy and work health and safety requirements.
Each unit of competency describes:
- a specific work outcome
- the conditions under which it is conducted
- the knowledge and skills required to achieve the work outcome to the standard
- the evidence that may be gathered in order to determine whether the activity is being performed in a competent manner.
Skills are very important in the construction industry. There are skills you already have and skills you need to acquire, which can be assessed on site or at a RTO. Competency-based training involves making sure people have the right skills to do a particular job competently
Assessment may be undertaken by practical demonstration, third party reporting or recognition of prior learning (RPL). RPL skills assessment may be undertaken on site (while working on the job) by an accredited workplace assessor.
Ultimately, there is significant scope within the construction industry which will enable you to navigate various roles and determine what suits you best.
In terms of courses, Parker Brent offers the Certificate IV and Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) courses. If you are interested, get in touch with us at www.parkerbrent.com.au