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Builder's Labourer

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Labourers undertake a range of practical and manual tasks involved in the building and construction industry.
Alternative names: Builder's Labourer
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A labourer needs:

  • physical strength and stamina
  • practical and manual skills
  • the ability to follow instructions
  • problem solving skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • to be able to work at heights.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, building and plumbing labourers can earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a building and plumbing labourer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

Many builder’s labourers work on a casual basis or may be self-employed and/or work as part of a team as an individual sub-contractor. Earnings for sub-contractors or small business operators will depend on their level of skill and experience, the level of demand for their services, as well as the amount of work completed.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a builder’s labourer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

Alternatively you can complete a traineeship. . The builder’s labourer traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

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​.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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