What is a white card certification?

By Khalid Noor, 2022.


One of the challenges of the past few years has been increasing growth in Australia’s largest industries. Due in part to the numerous lockdowns, which have continuously restricted workplaces as they were implemented at the time. Masks and social distancing being introduced and limitations on the amount of people working at a time has resulted in a major shift in the economy as it has had to position itself to meet the new quotas while simultaneously aiming for growth as well.


There has been a large amount of changes being made in such a short span and without notice that adjusting for the average person has been quite difficult which can be seen as a major reason for the slow movement in Australia’s economy. A lack of efficiency has resulted in less than desirable outcomes.


One such industry that can say it has been affected is the building and construction industry. One of the largest in Australia, our economy needs this industry to perform. A continuous stream of construction projects, either public or private, need to be implemented and developed for growth to occur. However, as restrictions have come into play, worksites have limited staff at respective points during the day, which has meant that the time taken to complete projects has increased up to a point where projects can even be delayed for the sake of meeting quality and safety requirements.


The above is a given as quality and safety is an extremely important metric in the building and construction industry. So ensuring everything is up to standard is imperative no matter how long that takes. The industry is built on these standards, as there are so many issues that may arise as a result.


Hence why quality and safety is so important. And there are measures in place to ensure professionals adhere to these standards. But how do we ensure these professionals adhere to these standards? What is the pathway to professionalism in the construction industry?


Different professions will require different skills. For instance the steps to become a professional accountant will differ to that of becoming a lawyer and the hurdles required to become an electrician are also quite different. The point is that to be recognised as someone who can be deemed to provide a service that meets a standard and can bring assurance to people your skills are at least sufficient, you will have to have gone through some hurdles.


The Australian labour 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.


Due to this there are as aforementioned subsequent hurdles to get to a point where you are truly a part of the construction industry. If someone wasn’t even truly trained properly with standards and having passed a barrier to entry, then who is held accountable? 


Accountability is important especially in the construction industry, therefore people must be trained up to a point of accountability as it is imperative there exists quality so that there can be safety.


An extremely crucial component of becoming a certified professional in building and construction is construction induction training. Construction Induction training is also referred to as white card training, the topic of this article which itself is a legal requirement that is obligatory to be fulfilled by all in the construction industry. 


The previous system for Australia involved a different coloured card for each state. This meant that performing construction in multiple states was more of a difficult process because you would have needed to obtain a white card for each state you wanted to complete works in. Now, the white card is a nationally issued card, meaning you can go to any state and complete works there. 


The content of the course is relatively straightforward. The construction induction training course primarily focuses on the common safety requirements for construction sites across Victoria. A few of the learning objectives you will encounter include but are not limited to:


  • 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


Upon completion of the course, you will be issued a construction induction training card, also known as a  white card. A white card essentially allows you to enter and perform works on construction sites. Without a white card, you cannot legally enter a construction site. 


You can obtain a white card by completing the construction induction training course with a registered training organisation (RTO). RTO’s are tasked with providing vocational education and training services. RTO’s are quite different to your typical organisations. RTO’s are legally recognised by the appropriate regulators which allows them to offer training and qualifications to aspiring students. WorkSafe Victoria, a statutory authority of the Victorian Government and the primary body for managing and enforcing workplace safety, outlines every registered training organisation that you can complete a white card training course with on their website. 


A common pitfall many succumb to is completing their white card course with an organisation not recognised by WorkSafe Victoria. If you complete the white card course through an organisation not registered with WorkSafe Victoria, you will unfortunately not be issued with a white card. The reason for this is simple: it is to prevent risk as much as possible. 


It is quite easy in construction to take shortcuts and skip crucial elements. The course for obtaining a white card has been created to ensure every professional in building and construction is aware of the responsibilities and processes that must be adhered to. 


White card courses offered by non-approved organisations commonly provide misleading advertising to entice people to take their course. Some of the many headlines include suggesting that it can be completed in less than 6 hours, or at a low cost not comparable to RTO’s. They may even say that it can be completed online, which is not allowed. 


This is where white card certification comes in. As mentioned earlier, you can only be white card certified if you have received it from an RTO. 


The best way to prevent falling for these misleading marketing tactics is to check SafeWork’s websites for approved organisations. Take your pick, as long as it falls under this list. Another way is to recognise the name of the course. 


To ensure you are undertaking the correct course, you should understand that the course code (or unit of competency) offered is known as CPCCWHS1001 – prepare to work safely in the construction industry. By knowing this, you conveniently save time by verifying that you are paying the correct fee with an organisation recognised by WorkSafe Victoria. 


By following the correct steps, you will certainly get white card certification. As long as you are aware of the importance of legally obtaining it, you will be well on your way to having a successful career in building and construction.


Parker Brent is a provider of the construction induction training course, as well as courses in building and construction. For more information, enquire here.