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How to find work as a Carpenter in Australia

by | Apr 29, 2018

Want to find out how to find work as a carpenter in Australia? With a boom in the construction industry in Australia, there is a huge number of jobs for skilled migrants with a particular demand for skilled and qualified carpenters.

Find out how to find work as a carpenter in Australia

Based on the Labour Market Information Portal, employment in the construction industry has increased by 20.7%. In 2017, there is an average of 106,000 carpenters & joiners employed, 74,800 construction managers, 46,000 painting trade workers, 39,000 architectural, building, and surveying technicians, 37,000 concreter’s, and 33,200 plasterers.

With full-time employees earning a median salary of around $1,250 per week before taxes are deducted, carpentry is one lucrative profession in Australia.

If you are interested to work as a carpenter in major cities like Brisbane, The Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, and other areas in Australia, there are some things you need to do and prepare. This article will endeavour to explain the important ones.

Let’s get started.

Getting qualified to work as carpenter in Australia

To increase your chances to work as a carpenter in Australia, you need to qualify as one back in your home country.

Once you do, you can then apply for a White Card that indicates you have completed a General Construction Induction or White Card course. This will teach you about the safety standards in Australia and other related matters.

Applying for a white card can be done online.

  • Required tools & safety equipment

The next thing you need to do is to obtain the required tools and safety equipment.

Some of the basic tools needed are a chisel set, drill and driver, hammer, nail gun, and tool belt. As for safety equipment, you must have a hard hat, steel capped boots, and protective eyewear.

Depending on the actual nature of your job, more safety and protective equipment may be provided.

Finding a carpenter job in Australia

The best way to find a job is to seek a recruitment agent or find a local building contractor. You can contact them before you arrive in Australia and once you know you have secured you’re work visa, it will be much easier to get an interview. 

It’s not recommended to go directly to construction sites and ask for vacant positions as most hiring will be managed by the construction company.

If you’re on the ground or before you emigrate, networking can be a good option. On the ground this could be done by going to pubs near construction sites and asking around or before you arrive we would recommend attending trade shows and speaking with people on social media groups like Facebook to ask others who have already made the move. This is also a great place to get head hunted by recruiters. If a job is available, someone in a construction industry usually knows someone hiring. 

While it is possible to apply for construction jobs online, getting hired may be difficult in this line of work as many employers want to try you out on site. By keeping a good record of your past work history including taking photos of jobs you’ve done, getting testimonials from past clients and employers and maintaining an up to date CV will all help. 

Carpenter’s salary in Australia

How much do carpenters earn in Australia? The pay will depend on your skill level. As a labourer, you can expect to earn anywhere between $20 and $30 per hour.

If you are a qualified carpenter who is equipped with your own tools and works as a subcontractor, you can expect to earn anywhere between $45 and $60 per hour.

Studying as a carpenter

If you are an international student who wants to work as a carpenter in Australia, you can study carpentry and become a qualified tradesperson in a year. Once you complete a course, obtain a graduate work visa to get a job.

With carpenters in demand in Australia, getting a visa is more than possible. In the future, you can then apply for additional work visas.

Migrating to Australia as a qualified carpenter

If you are a qualified carpenter, you may be eligible for an Australian permanent work visa that will allow you to migrate to the country. This is because carpentry is currently on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) of the Department of Home Affairs.

Common visas for a carpenter

To work in Australia as a carpenter, you can apply for either one these visas—General Skilled Migration (189 or 190) and Employer Sponsored (482 or 187).

  • 189 Skilled Independent Visa is a permanent visa that you can apply for without the need for an employer or sponsor.
  • 190 Skilled Nominated Visa is a permanent visa that you can apply for with a need for a nomination by a state or territory government.
  • Employer Sponsored (482 or 187) requires an employer as a sponsor. On the old 457 visa after 2 years, Employer Sponsored visa may lead to PR, however with the new changes you will likely need to seek a different route to permanent residency. 

Visas with skills assessment requirement

While most countries only require a skills assessment for general skilled migration visas, some countries will require the assessment done before a prospective employee can obtain Employer Sponsored (482 or 187) visa.

Make sure to consult with your skills assessor or migration agent so you’ll know what you need to do for your specific case.

An Australian skill assessment is a paper-based skills assessment that looks into your qualification and employment history and determines if your skills and work experience meet or are comparable with Australian standards on your nominated occupation.

To qualify for skills assessment you need to:

  • Meet Australian standards’ trade qualification or education.
  • Must have post-qualification experience of at least 3 years.
  • Must have worked in the field for a total of at least 12 months over the last 3 years.

Skills assessment can be done onshore and offshore through Trades Recognition Australia and VetAssess, respectively. 

Possible apprenticeship for international students

Apprenticeship in Australia, unfortunately, is not available for international students. But there are international colleges where courses are offered to help you qualify as a tradesperson in Australia. 

The course usually involves in-class study and 360 hours of vocational placement onsite, where you are placed in an actual work site and receive practical training. Once completed, you can obtain a Cert III in carpentry.

In a trade course, international students only need to study 1 or 2 years and get the same qualification as an Australian with a 4-year apprenticeship.

Some of the institutes that offer carpentry courses are the Site Institute, TAFE Western Australia, and Harvard International College.

Qualifying for a trade in Australia

An Australian qualification gets you one step closer to your dream carpentry job.

If you have completed a partial qualification from outside the country, you may qualify for partial credit transfer so you get some components towards an Australian qualification.

If you have a partial qualification of city and guilds level 2 from the UK, for example, you may be considered for an AQF level 3 Australian qualification.

How your partial qualification will compare to an Australian qualification will depend on the course you studied, however. This is usually judged on a case-by-case basis. 

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