Which construction trade is right for you?

Career building is an avenue that is inevitable for most. The world is structured in a way in which it is almost impossible to avoid it. For this reason and many others, we shouldn’t be surprised about the relative difficulty of choosing the right career path. So much thought and deliberation goes into making a decision like this, as it will dictate how you operate in employment. 


There are positives and negatives to the current job market which can be spotted. From a positive standpoint, the amount of choice available is staggering. As industries grow larger, so do the job offerings available, as well as new sub-industries entering the frame. This is a benefit that we as Australians should be thankful for, as many other countries with lower socio-economic attributes cannot necessarily say the same when it comes to choice. Not to mention that lengthy educational process designed to help you progress into the job of your dreams. 


But with choice comes indecision. Especially when there is too much on offer. It is easy to lose focus on what you want to do, and in the process take two steps backwards and one step forward. When you give someone multiple options, they need to process the information in front of them to make an informed decision, and even then it might not end up being a decision they actually wanted. Thus, it becomes clearer as to why you could consider the choice of employment in Australia as being a plus but also a hindrance at the same time.


Going further into industries, this dichotomy is even larger. Even if you decide on an industry you would like to be a part of, you must then sift through the many specialised areas to ultimately find something you are passionate about. The industry of focus in this blog is building and construction. One of the largest industries in Australia, the construction sector contributes a significant amount to Gross Domestic Product. 


Construction is one of those industries that has a wide breadth of opportunities to explore, and as mentioned earlier, can prove to be difficult when it comes to finding the right trade. 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. Whilst they are commonly sought, they couldn’t be more different in trade and application. 


Therefore, in this blog we provide some of the numerous trades in construction along with information surrounding them in order to help you ask the question: which construction trade is right for you?


Which construction trade is right for you

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. 


An important factor to consider is how to actually be ready to apply for such jobs. Of course, you need some sort of education. Obtaining the right qualifications is key to ensuring you are ready to seek such jobs when available. This comes through a combination of studying learning objectives within the Australian Qualifications Framework (which specifies the standards for education in Australia) as well as engaging in hands-on work to gain practical experience. 


So to answer the question of which construction trade is right for you, the truth is that it doesn’t matter from anyone’s perspective but your own. Whilst you can be given information on every aspect of developing a career, it is within your hands to think carefully about your interests and what makes you as a person, and in turn you will be able to understand what trade in construction is right for you.  


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