What are the different types of trades in construction?

There are positives and negatives to the current job market which can be spotted. What is particularly exciting is the amount of choice available. As industries grow larger, so do the job opportunities. Many countries that do not necessarily perform on the global scale that Australia does will not have the freedom to explore such opportunities. This is not even considering the process by which you obtain skills in an area which is mainly through the educational system.


But with choice comes indecision. This becomes especially true when there is too much to choose from. It is easy to lose focus on what you want to do, which can set you back more than you might expect. When we are presented with a variety of options, it is quite easy to lose focus of our needs and desires, which will lengthen the process of building a career and create more questions than answers. 


Upon further examination by way of industries, this chasm becomes more noticeable. Even if you come to the conclusion that a particular industry is right for you, you must then sift through the many specialised areas to ultimately find something you are passionate about. For specification, we discuss building and construction, which is one of the many industries of reverence in Australia.


Construction is an industry with lots of scope and diversity of roles. This can be exciting for some, but daunting for others. The actual difference in jobs is minimal between some, and substantial between others. For instance, plumbing and electrical trade are two areas with high demand for jobs. Even though many people look for jobs in these trades, the roles and typical tasks are heavily contrasted. 


We understand that variety is difficult to wade through. In this blog, we provide you with some of the different trades of construction so you can be better aware of what is on offer. 



Civil Engineering Technician


An area that is key to construction but not spoken about enough is civil engineering. Civil engineering  deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of physical and natural works, such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports etc. The role of a civil engineering technician is to conduct tests of construction materials, prepare sketches and tabulations, and assist in estimating costs in support of Civil Engineering Professionals and Engineering Technologists. Further tasks include:


  • preparing sketches, charts, tabulations, plans and designs for civil engineering works such as drainage, water supply, sewerage reticulation systems, roads, airports, dams, bridges and other structures.
  • performing and directing fieldwork and laboratory testing.
  • interpreting work assignment instructions, applying appropriate procedures and selecting equipment.
  • collecting and analysing data, and carrying out computations.
  • estimating material costs and ensuring finished works are within specifications, regulations and contract provisions.
  • inspecting civil engineering works, and organising and supervising maintenance and repair work.


An added benefit of becoming a civil engineering technician is that there are opportunities for further specialisation. Some of the key roles you could move further into are a Civil Engineering Assistant, Civil Laboratory Technician, and a Geotechnical Laboratory Technician. 


Whilst demand for this role is moderate, there is a small percentage of people employed as Civil Engineering Technicians. An example of a course you could complete in this area is an Advanced Diploma of Engineering. 


Electrician (General)


Bucking the trend of unfamiliarity, the role of an electrician is quite well known and one of the most common jobs in the construction sector. Also known as electrical fitting, it involves installing, testing, connecting, commissioning, maintaining and modifying electrical equipment, wiring and control systems. Electricians also:


  • examine blueprints, wire diagrams and specifications to determine sequences and methods of operation.
  • measure and lay out installation reference points.
  • select, cut and connect wire and cable to terminals and connectors.
  • use electrical and electronic test instruments to trace and diagnose faults.
  • repair and replace faulty wiring and defective parts.
  • position and install electrical switchboards.


Unsurprisingly, electricians have the opportunity to specialise. Some of the roles they could expand to include Armature Winder, Electrician Contractor, Heavy Coil Winder, and Railway Signal Electrician.


The course most applicable to this trade is the Certificate III in Electrical Fitting. There are, however, other courses at the Certificate III level which you could also do. 



Professional Builder


To finish off examples we conclude with the role of a Professional Builder. As the name of the title suggests, it is a generalised role of leadership and management. Professional Builders design, organise, lead, control and coordinate the building and construction process of projects (which can vary in size, resources and scale), as well as the resources needed to complete it which includes labour, capital, materials etc. They also must be able to ensure compliance of occupational health and safety (OHS) from all individuals involved in a project.From this, you can safely assume that Professional Builders are largely responsible for most aspects of a construction project as the buck stops with them. Not only do they need to ensure workers are accounted for, but they must keep a birds eye view on all facets of the construction process from beginning to end. Some other tasks of Professional Builders include:


  • Interpreting architectural drawings and specifications
  • Coordinating labour resources, procurement and delivery of materials, plant and equipment
  • Ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget
  • Operating and implementing coordinated work programs for sites
  • Ensuring adherence to building legislation and standards of performance, quality, cost and safety.


The demand for the role of a Professional Builder is strong within the industry. It is mainly geared towards people with skills in leadership and management, and a history of experience in building and construction. Having completed a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) will help you to be eligible to apply for the role of a Professional Builder. 


Building and Construction Manager


A Building and Construction Manager is like any other manager who oversees the entire process of a project, in this case construction. Everyone on site looks to them as the leader who delegates tasks and ensures work is smooth and completed on time. Because this role is extensive in nature, it requires significant experience in the construction industry, and a variety of other roles previously completed as well. A Construction Manager must be able to:


  • Manage and organize resources of labour, allocating workers to the right tasks to maximise efficiency
  • Deal and consult with experts in Architecture, Engineering, Trade etc. 
  • Ensure adherence to legislation and construction is of required standard
  • Submitting plans to local bodies


From what we have presented, you might be able to reasonably ascertain the many different trades of construction. Even though there are many more trades on offer, these are some of the most popular roles in the market. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine how you want to build your career, but hopefully this blog will give you some sort of clarity that will serve you in your future endeavours.


Parker Brent is an accredited provider of courses in building and construction. For more info about what we offer, enquire here.