What they do
Concreters mix, lay, spread, compact and finish concrete for building and construction work. They mix cement with other materials such as gravel, sand and water, and pour the concrete, usually over steel reinforcement, moving it into position using a pump. They also prepare and move boxing, or formwork, so that it contains the concrete in the right shape and dimensions. Once the concrete has been poured, concreters level the concrete, clean and seal it. They might also create decorative surfaces on the concrete prior to cleaning and sealing. They may also spray concrete onto retaining walls, swimming pools or other surfaces that require rendering.
Concreters usually work outdoors on building and construction sites as well as infrastructure such as bridges and roads. Conditions can be dirty and noisy, and they may have to work at heights or underground, depending on the nature of the work. They are often required to spend large amounts of time on their feet, and their work often involves heavy lifting and other manual labour. They usually work regular hours; however in hot weather they may begin earlier in the day to avoid the heat. In winter they may need to begin later as early morning frost makes concreting difficult.
Tools and technologies
Concreters need to be familiar with the various types of concrete, as well as the materials that go into its making. They use concrete mixers as well as hand and power tools such as shovels, edging tools, concrete vibrators and trowels. They use wheelbarrows and boxing (formwork), as well as concrete pumps. They drive large vehicles that may be fitted with industrial cement mixers, or pump trucks. They are usually required to wear protective clothing such as steel-capped gumboots and gloves.
How do I become one?
Education and training
You can work as a concreter without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
You may improve your employment prospects by doing an apprenticeship to become a concreter. The apprenticeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
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
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by WorkSafe.