How to become a Construction Worker

Construction workers assist on building and construction sites by doing a range of manual labouring jobs. Construction workers may specialise by working with particular tradespeople as a trade assistant, such as a plasterer's or bricklayer's labourer, or a carpenter's assistant. Experienced construction workers may obtain high-risk work licences or 'tickets' to undertake a number of specialised roles, such as concrete workers, doggers, riggers, scaffolders or steel fixers.

Personal requirements of a Construction Worker

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Enjoy practical and outdoor work
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to work at a constant pace
  • Able to read and understand safety instructions
  • Able to follow precise directions

Education & Training for a Construction Worker

You can work as a construction worker without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a construction worker through an apprenticeship or traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

When working at heights, industry standards require construction workers to complete a Work Safely at Heights short course provided by a Registered Training Organisation. All those who work in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC).

Duties & Tasks of a Construction Worker

Construction workers:

  • unload, carry and stack building materials and place tools and equipment in position
  • dig trenches using hand tools or jackhammers to break up rock and concrete, so that footings and services can be laid
  • place and compact filling and quarry materials
  • help to erect and dismantle scaffolding (subject to certification in some states and territories), ramps, catwalks, barricades and warning lights
  • mix, pour and spread concrete under supervision
  • use wheelbarrows to remove rubble and rubbish from building sites
  • dismantle small structures and strip materials in preparation for new construction
  • operate construction machinery (such as excavators), subject to any licensing and accreditation requirements
  • clean surfaces for painters.

Working conditions for a Construction Worker

Construction workers mostly work outdoors.

Employment Opportunities for a Construction Worker

Construction workers work for large construction firms and smaller building subcontractors. Many gain employment through labour hire companies. They work on the construction of a range of buildings, including residential houses, apartment complexes, shopping centres, offices, hotels, factories, tourist resorts, public buildings, hospitals and schools. Construction workers also work on heavy industrial or civil construction sites; road, tunnel and shaft excavations; demolition sites; and local government works. On completion of a job, construction workers may have to apply to new sites for their next job. If they work for a civil, building or trade subcontractor (bricklayer, for example), new worksites may be organised for them. Employment opportunities can vary greatly in line with trends in the civil or building and construction industries.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1%

NSW 31.7%

NT 1.6%

SA 6.1%

TAS 3.2%

VIC 24.2%

WA 8.2%

QLD 23.9%

Hours worked:



Higher Unemployment

Gender split:

Male 96%

Female 4%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 6.6%

Not completed Year 12: 28.2%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 26.6%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 28.9%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 2.8%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 2.3%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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