What they do
Road workers pave and maintain roads and other surfaces such as runways, parking areas and pathways. They remove topsoil from road areas, lay bitumen and concrete, apply gravel, stone chips or asphalt to tar surfaces, dig up road surfaces to lay cables or pipes, and compact and smooth road surfaces. They also direct traffic through construction areas, clean work areas, and load and unload equipment into and out of vehicles. They also construct and dismantle safety barricades around work sites. Road workers work all over the state, from the busy freeways that run through Perth, to country roads in isolated areas.
Road workers work on roads, highways, bridges and other structures designed for vehicular traffic, as well as on the sites of new roads or pathways. They are required to work in most weather conditions. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work at night to reduce the impact on traffic conditions. They are often required to travel locally to building sites, and may work on a different site every day. Conditions may be hazardous and road workers are often required to work within strict safety guidelines.
Tools and technologies
Road workers use a range of specialist roadworking equipment such as rollers, paving machines and drills, as well as shovels, rakes and specialised surveying equipment. They work with materials such as bitumen, concrete and gravel, and use heavy vehicles such as trucks, graders and bulldozers. They are usually required to wear high-visibility clothing and safety equipment such as earmuffs, goggles, hard-hats and work boots.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a road worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in civil construction or a related area.
The Certificate II in Civil 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 bituminous surfacing (level 2 or level 3), civil construction (level 2 or level 3), road construction and maintenance (level 3), road marking (level 3) or traffic management (level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The civil construction (level 2) traineeship 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
Road workers 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.