Civil engineers work in offices and on building sites. When they are on buildings sites, they may experience all types of weather conditions. They work on projects throughout Western Australia, from building new skyscrapers in Perth, to designing systems to transport and store water at remote minesites in regional areas. Civil engineers generally work regular office hours, however, they may be required to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Some civil engineers also work on call, in case of emergencies, such as a burst water or gas pipe.
Graduate civil engineers can expect to earn approximately $1 058 per week ($55 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.
Civil engineers cross-check building plans against a range of reference materials to ensure that a finished structure will be strong enough and able to withstand dangerous weather conditions. They must also be familiar with surveying equipment, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), so that they can gather information about a particular site in case special precautions need to be taken during construction. When working on a building site they will also be required to wear appropriate safety equipment including hard hats and high-visibility clothing.
To become a civil engineer you usually have to complete an engineering degree majoring in civil engineering, civil and construction engineering, or civil and environmental engineering.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
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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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.