Pathways into building and construction: What are my options?

Construction is an expansive industry with a wide array of roles sought after that vary quite differently. It is without a doubt one of the largest industries in Australia. Being so large, as aforementioned the roles available will be quite diverse. An electrician and a carpenter will have dissimilar specialities and skills after all and these same comparisons can be made with many other roles or fields in construction. 


In construction there are a few ways to enter into the industry mainly through gaining certifications and working in accompanied apprenticeships. There is the question of going about it on your own. Wondering if you can be self taught and enter the industry is a question that can arise or pop up from time to time for someone considering construction as an industry they would like to explore.


There are a variety of opinions online regarding the ability to be self taught in construction and if it’s the best way or even recommended at all, with some opinions giving more vague answers stating that one should go to construction sites and ask around, or to remodel a home on your own as it’s a great way to gain experience. These two are instances of opinions or advice given to someone looking to teach themselves. 


While the first example of advice given seems aimless and vague, the second one has merit and can be practical. However both pieces of advice have some blatant issues. For the first piece of advice, there are quite a few unknowns. What are the logistics of gaining access to a construction site? Once access has been gained what is the method of gaining skills and what are the odds of there being someone willing to take you under their wing after pestering them and with no available skills on hand at the moment. You would be hard pressed to find someone willing in this situation. 


The second piece of advice also has a flaw. The activity of remodelling a home is not easy and undertaking it on your own can allow you to quickly gain much needed skills to complete the tasks at hand and can expand your knowledge and horizons. The problem is not everybody has a home to remodel or renovations to be done. So from that point it can seem impractical and may not work for some people. 


Pathways into building and construction

If we select one of those aforementioned trades, such as carpentry for example, and apply the question of ‘can it be self taught?’, we find out that at a basic level yes, you can learn carpentry, but without learning it through a Certificate III and 3 year apprenticeship, it will be impossible to be hired as a professional carpenter as you are not fully qualified. Thus it can be seen, going the self taught route is not recommended and can be a limiting factor and how far you progress in your construction journey.


So what are the best pathways then? The recommended way is a form of education gained through certifications accompanied with apprenticeships for the on the job training. Picking up a trade and engaging in an apprenticeship is the best way to get into construction.This blog will aim to highlight this.


As aforementioned, with such a wide-reaching spread of jobs in the sector, it is expected that the courses and structure of education within the construction industry will also be diverse. It can be difficult to determine or summarise what construction can offer in terms of studying and training. This blog will also outline what is studied in construction, and will provide different examples of what might be expected for aspiring entrants into the industry, in order to illuminate the available pathways in the construction industry.


The courses commonly available in construction that can be undertaken serve as a way to continuously and progressively level up the skills of someone hoping to enter the construction industry giving them the confidence/experience and qualifications required to thrive in construction.


In Australia there are quite a few levels of certification outlined in the Australian Qualification Framework(AQF). The AQF details the standards for qualifications in Australia. There are levels starting from Certificate I to Certificate III. That is one entry point into the construction industry. Another is from Certificate IV which is an alternative entry point from Certificate I, as after Certificate III doing Certificate IV is redundant. From Certificate IV you can do a Diploma and can even go beyond undergraduate and postgraduate studies if you feel inclined.


This blog will focus on the Certificate IV and Diploma levels. To explain further about Certificate IV, instead of going through Certificate I-III, a common entry point is to do the Certificate IV and if you want to go a bit further there is also the Diploma. Why is this the case? Well, the Certificate IV is a common entry point for beginners because 



Certificate IV


Certificate IV is commonly considered the point where many start their entry into construction.This is because you can gain the necessary qualifications without having to go through the previous 3 levels. The only requirement is a construction induction card (white card) which permits you to enter construction sites. Certificate IV is a wide-reaching qualification level in that you can choose from lots of different areas of specialisation, or just look from a broad perspective. Content taught is more demanding than previous levels, however what you study isn’t so complex that previous experience is required.  A course of frequent completion is the Certificate IV in Building and Construction. In this course, you learn about many areas of construction such as developing skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It also seeks to strengthen your knowledge in building and construction to a high level, which can significantly aid you in seeking opportunities in the job market. As it is a wide-reaching and useful level of the AQF, roles that are typically available to apply for include contract administrators, estimators, site supervisors etc., all of which are challenging in their own way.





The Diploma rises in difficulty from its predecessor the Certificate IV. In the previous level there was the Certificate IV in Building and Construction mentioned. At the Diploma level there is the Diploma in Building and Construction where the theoretical aspects become more complex. In the Diploma you will learn how to apply building codes and regulations much like the Certificate IV and you will also be able to prepare contracts and permits as well as effectively manage construction projects.


Due to the increase in complexity and rise in difficulty level this course is aimed at tradespeople and other employed people in the construction industry who may be looking to increase their skills and certifications in management and development of residential and low-rise construction.


Following on from the Diploma, if one wants to progress further there are options at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Bachelor degrees can be completed at the university level. The types of courses at this level focus typically on management and more technical which means there is a smaller pool of courses available.


Parker Brent is an accredited provider of building and construction courses, specialising in the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). If you are interested, enquire today.