Career / Information For Job Seekers

Professional Pathways
Training System
Trades & Operator Jobs
Money List
Course List
Women in Construction

Careers

What is the civil construction industry?

The civil construction industry is made up of the companies, individuals and resources involved in planning, designing, and constructing Australia’s infrastructure.

What type of work is done in the civil construction industry?

Every time you go anywhere by road, rail, plane or ship, you use infrastructure built by the civil construction industry. Every time you drink a glass of water, turn on a light or use pipeline gas, you depend on projects constructed by the civil construction industry. Every time it rains, whenever you use the bathroom or whenever it floods, there are storm water drainage infrastructure and sewerage systems to ensure that our streets, parklands and public areas are kept healthy and clean. Whatever is required by the community to make life easier, the civil construction industry provides these resources.

What types of jobs are there in the civil construction industry?

Some of the jobs are: Civil Engineer, Plant Operators, Civil Construction workers, Project Managers, Estimators, Site Managers, Foremen, Designers, specialist contractors and consultants.

How much can you earn in the Industry?

Excellent salaries are offered throughout the industry. You also have the potential to increase your income as you acquire more skills, specialties and expertise.

Why work in the civil construction industry?

If you want a motivating career that provides the rewards of job satisfaction, excellent income potential, working with teams of people plus further opportunities for professional advancement, then civil construction could be your career of choice.

Whether you enjoy working outdoors operating state of the art equipment or you prefer planning and designing infrastructure projects, or jobs where caring for the environment is important, then the civil construction industry has a career path and job options to take you there. It doesn’t matter where you begin, you can always advance your career at any time.

Note

Please note that the career types outlined on this site are only a sample and there may be additional ones not included.

Professional Pathways

Constructing your Career

You can choose your career according to what type of work, positions and levels of responsibility suit you personally – anything from driving the massive earthmoving equipment through to project managing or design a new freeway.

What is required to enter the civil construction industry?

In such a progressive, vibrant and dynamic industry it is important to be motivated, enthusiastic, reliable and keen to learn. You will need knowledge of basic maths for trade entry level; maths and science for Certificate level; and maths, science and either chemistry or physics for Degree level. These qualities will ensure you fit in and do well within the industry. The more knowledge and skills you acquire, the more in-demand you will become and more money you can earn.

Where can these skills take you?

These skills can take you anywhere around Australia and anywhere around the world. Infrastructure is a global business!

What can a career in the civil construction industry offer?

  • excellent income potential
  • rewards and incentives
  • exciting challenges
  • opportunities for advancement
  • workplace flexibility
  • ongoing job development
  • working as part of a motivated team
  • plenty of work opportunities

Money List

Bridge Constructor

Range from $60,000 – $100,000+

Civil Engineer

Range from $80,000 – $120,000+

Directional Driller

Range from $80,000 – $100,000+

Estimator

Range from $55,000 – $100,000+

Foreman

Range from $60,000 – $120,000+

Foundation Constructor

Range from $60,000 – $120,000+

Geotechnical Engineering

Range from $90,000 – $100,000+

Health & Safety

Health and Safety Officer: $70,000 – $100,000
Health and Safety Manager: $85,000 – $140,000

Human Resources

HR Consultant: $72,000 – $80,000
HR Manager: $95,000 – $120,000

Leading Hand

Range from $60,000 – $90,000+

Pavement Layer

Range from $60,000 – $120,000+

Pipe Layer

Range from $60,000 – $100,000+

Plant Operator

Range from $60,000 – $120,000+

Project Manager

Range from $75,000 – $140,000+

Road Constructor

Range from $60,000 – $110,000+

Road Marker

Range from $60,000 – $110,000+

Tunnel Constructor

Range from $60,000 – $100,000+

Course List

One path to becoming a skilled Bridge Constructor is through on the job training. You can also become a Bridge Constructor through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bridge Construction). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

Various pathways are available for students seeking a career in civil engineering. Engineering Australia, the body responsible for accrediting engineering programs in Australia.

One path to becoming a Directional Driller is through on the job training. You can also become a Directional Driller through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Trenchless Technology). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

Knowledge of civil construction techniques is essential for this occupation. While there are no formal educational requirements to become an Estimator, most do become qualified. There are various paths you can take to gain a formal qualification. One is to complete a traineeship or apprenticeship in Civil Construction which involves a combination of on and off the job training. You can then go on to complete a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Civil Construction Management with cost estimation electives. Another path is to complete a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering or Construction Management.

Usually you will have completed a traineeship or apprenticeship in civil construction and undertaken some post-trade study. You will have a solid knowledge of all phases of civil construction as well as considerable ‘on the ground’ experience. The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction and the formal post-trade qualification for this type of work is Certificate IV in Civil Construction.Both are nationally recognized qualifications.

One path to becoming a skilled Foundation Constructor is through on the job training. You can also become a Foundation Constructor through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Foundation Work). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

Various pathways are available for students seeking a career in civil engineering. Engineering Australia, the body responsible for accrediting engineering programs in Australia.

Workplace Health & Safety Course, applicants should have a background in the Civil Industry

DIPLOMA human Resources is generally regards as a minimum requirement, Degree level to move in HR Management.

Usually you will have completed a traineeship or apprenticeship in civil construction. The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction. After completing your traineeship/apprenticeship, it is possible to undertake further units of competency in people management skills that could contribute to a Certificate IV in Civil Construction, the formal post-trade qualification for this type of work.

One path to becoming a skilled Pavement Layer is through on the job training. You can also become a Pavement Layer through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bituminous Surfacing). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

One path to becoming a skilled Pipe Layer is through on the job training. You can also become a Pipe Layer through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Pipe Laying). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

The path you select to become a skilled plant operator will depend on your individual circumstances and the outcome that is required. If you are employed you can get a plant operator qualification through on the job training and assessment in an individual item of plant. You can also become a plant operator with all of the underpinning civil construction skills through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship).Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational pre-requisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification upon completion is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Plant Operations). This is a nationally recognized qualification. For more information on training and job pathways click here. If you are not employed in the industry you could undertake a course in plant operation and be assessed to meet any regulatory requirement. There are special rules and regulations for plant operation and age limits apply. As the requirements vary from state to state you will need to seek further information on the regulations that apply in your state or territory.

To become a Project Manager you usually have to complete a diploma in Civil Construction – Certificate V or V1. Entry to the diploma courses usually requires Year 12 schooling and have completed a Certificate III in a Civil Construction stream. As subjects can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for full details.

You may be able to study through distance education.

One path to becoming a skilled Road Constructor is through on the job training. You can also become a Road Constructor through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Road Construction). This is a nationally recognized qualification.

One path to becoming a skilled Road Marker is through on the job training. You can also become a Road Marker through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Road Marking). This is a nationally recognised qualification.

One path to becoming a Tunnel Constructor is through on the job training. You can also become a Tunnel Constructor through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Tunnel Construction). This is a nationally recognised qualification. For more information on training and job pathways click here.

Understanding the Training System

One of the most common questions asked of us at the CCF is to explain how the training system works. Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that this is a difficult question to answer as the training system is not straight forward.

There are a variety of rules and procedures that impact how qualifications are achieved and who pays for them. Here we will try and unpack some of this complexity to assist our members who want to engage trainees and apprentices into the future.

Understanding Training Packages, Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Before you launch into training someone, you need to identify what you want them trained in and to what level. The best place to start is to identify the level of training that would be appropriate. There are four main levels of qualification applicable to civil construction in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) System. These are:

  • Certificate I This level of qualification can be considered a base or introductory level. This is most suitable for young people still at school.
  • Certificate II This level is for someone looking for greater development than offered in a Certificate I but not the full trade qualification achieved in Certificate III,  generally a skilled labourer.
  • Certificate III This is Trade level Qualification
  • Certificate IV This is a Supervisor level Qualification
  • Once the level of training is identified, it is possible to select a specific training package which will allow the student to specialize and hone particular skills. These training packages are nationally recognized qualifications that outline the skills and knowledge that are obtained by the individual on completion of the qualification.
  • The major training packages or qualifications offered by Civil Train can be accessed via their website

Understanding the training pathway?

Civil Train can assist you in determining the appropriate skills pathway for an individual by undertaking a skills audit. The skills audit will result in one of two outcomes being recommended:

Gap Skilling

Not all workers become Trainees and Apprentices and have to start at the very beginning and complete all of the competencies. Many workers have extensive experience in the industry and are simply looking to fill the gaps in their knowledge and formalize their qualifications. This is called gap skilling. This will result in the worker only needing to undertake training in identified gap areas. Generally this only applies for workers with more than 4 years experience. Gap skilling is a therefore a combination of recognition of prior learning and formal training and assessment.

Contract of Training

Where a large gap in skills and knowledge is identified, the assessor would usually recommend that the candidate enter into a contract of training either as a trainee or apprentice. In this case, the worker will need to be trained and assessed in all relevant competencies.

Understanding the Costs of Training

Each of the training packages listed above consist of a number of competencies. These competencies are the industry endorsed minimum standard required to competently undertake the task. On completion of the competency, the student will have agreed skills and knowledge in that area.

For example if a student is undertaking a Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bituminous Surfacing) one of the core competencies is BCCBS2003B, ‘Safely handle bituminous materials’.

Generally the cost of training is made up of two elements.

  1. A fee per competency; and
  2. Student contribution fees.

The fee per competency is payable by the employer while the tuition charge is payable by the student. Subsidies are ONLY available for the fee per competency. In some circumstances the employer pays the Contribution fee on behalf of the employee. For more information on costs of training click here.

Women in Construction

The civil construction sector has for many years been an almost exclusively male workforce.   But in recent years the number of women involved in the civil construction sector has been on the rise.  More and more employers are now actively recruiting women into the industry to achieve not just a diversity of gender, but also of skills and aptitude.  

The construction sector in Queensland employs over 200,000 people and is one of the state’s largest employment sectors.  But the number of women employed within the sector remains only a small proportion of total workforce, with men still dominating traditional civil construction roles.

Civil Construction is a diverse industry, and there is a surprising range of job paths available to women interested in entering the industry.  There’s a growing need for engineers, project managers, HR roles, construction lawyers, estimators, and so on.  But there is also a growing demand for plant operators and site supervisors.  

Most people entering the civil construction sector do so through the traditional 3 year civil construction trainee and apprenticeship pathways, including Plant Operations, Road Construction, Road Marking, Pipe Laying and other civil construction streams.  

The civil construction sector has been an enthusiastic adopter of mechanized construction equipment, such as excavators, loaders, dump trucks, graders, rollers and dozers.  This has meant those entering the industry can expect to continue working for many years without it taking a toll on their health and fitness.

For a detailed list of available civil construction career paths, please click here.

For information relating to civil construction trainees and apprenticeships, please click here.

While some people may perceive the civil construction industry as being known for its challenges, for those working in the industry it is the tight knit, team based working environment that keeps them motivated and engaged.  And there is a genuine sense of satisfaction at the completion of the project when those involved can look at a completed project and say “we built that”.  How many other industry sectors have such a tangible sense of accomplishment?

The sector does remain male dominated – however we are excited to say that gender diversity is becoming more common throughout the industry.   This is true of both the blue collar site roles as well as the white collar office roles.  A career in the civil construction industry can offer the opportunity to work on construction sites that are big or small, regional or metropolitan, and always full of surprises.

For information on the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) click here.

Trades & Operator Jobs

Civil Contractors – the people who create Australia’s infrastructure

The roads we drive on, the airports we fly from, the foundations of our buildings, the bridges we cross, the tunnels we travel through are just some examples of the infrastructure we often take for granted.

Wherever we work, live or play, the Civil Constructor has already been there. The multi-billion dollar Civil Construction industry offers a variety of occupations. It is an industry where you can enter, and with training and the right attitude you can become a supervisor or professional engineer.

Many people in civil construction have started the career labouring on an excavation site or working on a road building project and then progressing to operating plant or equipment.

It has, in the past, been an industry that often recruited by ‘word of mouth’. But now that is changing and small to medium size businesses that make up most of this dynamic industry are looking for people to learn the skills that underpin the infrastructure projects being built around Australia.

Exciting new technology is increasing the need for trained and qualified people to work in Civil Construction. There is also an increasing need to attract new entrants into the industry as the older members of the workforce retire, and the public and private sector invest more money into infrastructure projects throughout Australia.

Occupations within the industry can range from semi-skilled though to skilled tradespeople in charge of highly advanced machines capable of moving mountains, creating wetlands for our endangered flora and fauna, constructing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Leadership positions such as leading hand and site supervisor are available thanks to new training methods that progress to para-professional roles like estimator, associate engineer, engineering technologist and finally professional engineer and project manager.