What they do
Labourers undertake a range of practical and manual tasks in the building and construction industry. They assist building and construction personnel by loading and unloading materials, tools and equipment, digging trenches and erecting scaffolding or barricades. They also mix, pour and mould building materials, sweep building foundations or paving bases, apply asphalt or other materials to paths and roads, and operate building and construction or paving machinery. They may also assemble and install piping, sanitary units such as showers and basins, and valves and fittings. Labourers work all over the state, assisting in the construction of homes, offices, schools, hospitals, roads and pathways.
Labourers work on building and construction sites. They are required to work in most weather conditions, and the work environment may be hot and dusty. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work additional hours at times. They are often required to travel locally to building sites, and may work on a different site every day. Conditions may be hazardous and labourers are often required to use safety equipment, wear protective clothing and to conform to strict safety guidelines.
Tools and technologies
Labourers often work with building materials such as concrete, plaster and mortar, asphalt and other road surfacing materials, as well as wood and bricks. They also often use hand and power tools, and may also use shovels and brooms, as well as construction machinery and equipment. They also work with safety equipment such as rigging, scaffolding and safety harnesses, and are required to wear protective clothing such as boots, goggles, gloves, hard-hats and earmuffs.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a builder’s labourer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in construction or a related area.
The Certificate II in Construction is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in general construction (level 2). The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
Builder’s labourers working in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Training Card (commonly known as a "White Card"). In WA, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by WorkSafe.