For several decades, the Australian job market has been characterised by its positive outlook and stability. As traditional industries (such as mining and agriculture) continue to experience a decline in output and importance, other economic sectors are booming. This is the case of the various specialist trades that can be found in the Australian market, including electricians, carpenters, builders, painters, or plumbers, to mention just a few. These occupations are particularly important when we consider that the national construction industry accounts for more than 6 per cent of Australia's total gross domestic product.
Due to the above, a career in one the specialist trades offers interesting prospects and great potential for development. Here you’ll find an overview of the various tradesmen qualifications that are available in Australia.
About tradesmen qualifications and licensing in Australia
Tradesmen qualifications in Australia can be classified according to the level of expertise and amount of supervision required. It must be noted that many tradesmen must have a valid license before they can be hired to carry out any work. This is the case of specialist trades such as electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, or air conditioning specialists. Depending on the state, tradesmen may also need to be in possession of a valid license whenever they carry out a project that requires materials worth over $1,000. Tradesmen qualifications in Australia reflect these legal requirements and can therefore be divided into three main types: contractors, qualified supervisors, and tradesperson certificates.
Contractor licenses and qualifications
At the top of the scale we can find contractor licenses. These are issued to individuals whose experience and qualifications allow them to work unsupervised. In addition to having ample and relevant business knowledge, individuals who wish to obtain a contractor license must provide evidence of having completed one or more of the following qualifications:
- a bachelor's degree in Construction Management
- a level IV certificate in Contractors Management or Building
- a diploma in Building
- both level 4 and level 5 AQF qualifications in Business Management for Building four units at level IV certificate in Small Business Management (the units must cover business finance, business law, and ownership structures)
- completion of a CQ university articulation module in two of the following topics: business establishment and legal requirements (code BSBSBM401A), legal and risk management for small businesses (code BSBSMB401A), legal requirements for building and construction projects (codes CPCCBC4009A or BCGBC4009), financial planning and small business finances (codes BSBSBM402A and BSBSMB402A).
Qualified supervisor licenses and qualifications
Qualified supervisor licenses are awarded to tradesmen who have a substantial amount of experience and qualifications in specific trades, including bricklaying, carpentry, flooring, fencing, demolishing, building, dry and wet plastering, decorating, glazing, painting, joinery, roof slating, plumbing, landscaping, tiling, waterproofing, and underpinnning. To be granted with a qualified supervisor license, individuals must demonstrate that they have extensive experience in residential, commercial, and industrial building projects, or alternatively, one of the following qualifications:
- a level IV certificate in Building, Construction, and Site Management or
- a bachelor's degree in Construction Management
In addition, applicants must have completed units of competency in building codes and standards, on-site planning and supervision, and the structural principles of construction applicable to medium-rise buildings.
Tradesperson certificates are issued to individuals who are skilled in their trade but whose work needs to be signed off by a supervisor or contractor. In order to receive a valid tradesperson license, individuals must submit their application along with proof of having completed one or more of the following qualifications:
- an Australian Recognised Trade Certificate
- an Apprenticeship signed by an authorised provider of vocational training
- a certificate of proficiency
- a relevant certificate issued by the IAME in areas like electrical appliances or air conditioning systems
- a traineeship or apprenticeship issued by the TAFE , whether at level III or IV in areas like air conditioning, appliance servicing, bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, electrical fitting, civil construction, engineering, flooring, furniture making, glass and glazing, landscape construction, painting, decoration, plumbing, roof tiling, plastering, stonemasonry, and / or tiling
- a certificate from an authorised training organisation that confirms competency in building and construction-related areas
Tradesmen Qualifications and Certification: