What is a white card and why do the professionals need it?

Entering the labor workforce in Australia can vary depending on what industry you seek to be a part of. The requirements for one industry will most likely be almost completely different to another. For example, becoming a professional in finance would require a different path with different obstacles when compared to becoming a professional in science.


The Australian labor force demands thoroughly trained individuals. Such is the state of the economy now that quality and reliability are the most important qualities to possess.


One industry that values these qualities is the building and construction industry. A large part of the economy relies on construction, and what construction must provide in return is highly trained professionals who know what they are doing in their respective fields.


This is why there are numerous steps to becoming part of the construction industry. The need for quality and safety is strong, therefore people must be trained up to a point of accountability. 


One of the most important parts of becoming a professional in building and construction is construction induction training. Also commonly referred to as white card training, it is a legal requirement that must be fulfilled by all in the construction industry. 


What is a white card

What is it?


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. 


To be issued a White Card, you must complete the accredited unit of competency ‘CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry’ with a registered training organization (RTO). When you have successfully completed the training, you will be issued with a Statement of Attainment by the RTO.


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.


To be successful in obtaining a white card, you must have basic English language, literacy and numeracy skills. The white card construction induction training course is located at level 1 on the Australian Qualification Framework. The Australian Qualifications Framework specifies the standards for education in Australia. The levels range (Certificate I) to 10 (doctorate). Being proficient in English means you need to be able to understand instructions and ask for clarifications in English.


States in Australia once had their own cards. Different colors such as red, blue and green represented different states which may or may not have had few minor differences in how their cards were obtained and the process for obtaining them. The white card has replaced all these cards to now officially be the nationally recognized card for Australia.


A white card can be obtained by completing the construction induction training at a registered training organization (RTO). These are organizations officially recognised by the government as having clearance to providing courses and training in building and construction. 


It is extremely important that you complete your construction induction training at one of these registered training organizations. If you were to complete it at an organization that is not recognised, it will not be accepted. WorkSafe are the issuers of white cards. You will not be issued a white card from WorkSafe if you were to pursue this route. Because WorkSafe deals with worker health and safety, they have issued a list of RTO’s of which you can complete a white card with. To ensure compliance with rules and regulations, all entrants into the industry are strongly urged to follow legally safe procedures for becoming professionals. 


As it is administered by WorkSafe, the white card course mainly deals with the common safety requirements for construction sites across Victoria. The course is usually completed face to face rather than online so as to ensure the contents are understood completely. Some of the things you will learn in construction induction training include:


  • 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. 



Why is it needed?


A white card is extremely important to construction. The industry is one of the most heavily scrutinized and focused on when it comes to workers’ health and safety. Thus, there is learning in place to make sure everyone within the industry knows how to avoid incidents related to this area, and how to respond when they occur. It doesn’t matter if you enter construction sites unsupervised, or are a tradesperson or even a construction manager with minimal physical labor involved in day to day activities; if you enter a construction site, a white card is a must. 

With regards to safety, an important component of the course is learning about how to use the personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of the common types of PPE include hard hats, eye protection, and a retro-reflective vest.  By having the entire industry aware of the requirements for safe working conditions, it means there is a significantly more likely chance that professionals will adhere to rules to ensure smooth operations and a safe work environment for all. Hence the importance of undertaking the white card construction induction training course through a provider accredited by WorkSafe.


White cards are key to how the building and construction industry operate. It acts as insurance that the professionals entering the industry will perform their roles to the highest standard of quality and safety, no matter what city or state they work in. 


ParkerBrent is a provider of construction induction training, as well as courses to kickstart your career in building and construction. Enquire here for more details on Parker Brent courses.