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Road worker

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Road workers pave and maintain roads and other  surfaces such as runways, parking areas and pathways.
Alternative names: Road Construction Worker
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A road worker needs:

  • physical fitness, strength and stamina
  • a methodical approach to their work
  • to enjoy working outdoors
  • the ability to undertake repetitive tasks
  • good hand-eye co-ordination
  • the ability to work as part of a team
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, road workers, classified under paving and surfacing labourers, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a road worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a road worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You can complete a traineeship. The construction labourer – civil, construction labourer (bituminous surfacing), asphalt/pavement layer, or road construction worker traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The construction labourer – civil traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.

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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