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Careers in infrastructure & construction



Find out more about jobs in-demand, salaries and fee-free apprenticeships on offer.

Why construction?

Because the construction industry is booming — over the next decade, it’s predicted 300,000 more workers will be needed around Australia.

In NSW, the government’s record $80.1 billion spend on infrastructure will see thousands of job opportunities across the state.

There’s never been a better time to start — or supercharge — your career in construction.

From trade apprenticeships and traineeships, to roles in finance, telecommunications, human resources and more, VET is a proven pathway to tens of diverse roles in the construction industry. Plus the opportunity to earn salaries of more than $75,000. And with apprenticeships now fee-free in NSW, you can start your VET studies debt-free.

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Explore jobs and careers in health, finance, design, technology ... and more!

Jobs in demand 

With 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships and subsidised traineeship qualifications on offer, now is the perfect time to get your start.

There are significant and ongoing skills shortages in the construction industry across NSW­. Opportunities are available for project managers, plant operators, electricians, carpenters, glaziers, supervisors, roadheader operators, plasterers, tilers and many more.

The NSW Government is not only covering the cost of your training, it is actively creating roles for apprentices and trainees. Learn more about fee-free apprenticeships.

Under the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, the government has set minimum targets for its projects:

  • 20% of the total labour force of a project to be made up of ‘learning workers’ (defined as trainees and workers who need to update their qualifications to meet the needs of the infrastructure project )
  • 20% of all trades positions on a project made up of apprentices
  • double the number of women in trade related work
  • 1.5% of the total contract value of a project to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation
  • 8% of the total project workforce aged less than 25 years.

Browse jobs in demand

You'll be surprised at the range of careers available in construction.

In Sydney, experienced marketing managers earn an average of $110,000, according to data from recruitment agencies.

Required in most large organisations, including in the construction industry, a marketing and communications manager blends creativity with strategic priorities and insights from data to shape the advertising and communications from a company to its customers and the public.

Marketing professionals understand what makes people tick so they can convince them to buy a product or service. They focus on digital advertising, social media and events to make an impact. From developing big-picture marketing campaigns to working out the finer details of which text and images to use, the job involves collaboration to create and promote key messages to targeted audiences.


VET courses

Plant operators can expect to earn over $75,000, according to Joboutlook.gov.au.

Correct preparation is key in construction. Plant operators drive and operate large, heavy machinery and equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers and graders. This job includes tasks like digging trenches, excavating, crushing rocks and transporting materials.

It’s practical, hands-on work that requires skill, precision and control. Safety, communication and efficiency are important attributes, as is a love of working outdoors.

VET courses

With salaries around $75,000, surveyors are vital to the construction industry. Their role is to supervise and inspect construction sites, and estimate time, costs and resources, to ensure buildings are safe, accessible, energy efficient and complaint with the relevant building codes and standards.

Day-to-day tasks can include the preparation and assessment of maps and building plans, with a surveyor’s expert input often affecting the design and functionality of a building.

VET courses

Starting salaries for electricians can be as high as $91,000, according to the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).

As an electrician you’ll face new challenges every day. Neither repetitive nor monotonous, electrical work requires physical labour and intelligent problem solving. You’ll install, maintain and repair electrical power, lighting and communication systems in industrial, commercial and domestic properties.

Electricians also read blueprints so they can test, install, maintain and repair wiring, electrical and power systems.

VET courses

On average, accountants earn around $75,000, but this can increase with experience and your work context.

Accountants combine a flair for numbers and finance with strategic thinking and problem-solving to make businesses and individuals legally compliant and more profitable. An asset to every construction business – from small operators to large corporations – accountants are responsible for analysing, interpreting and reporting on financial matters, and providing taxation accounting systems and services.

VET courses

If you’re technically savvy and have a natural curiosity about how things work, the job of telecommunications technician may suit - plus the Federal Government puts your average earnings at around $80,000.

Qualified technicians work with the ‘unseen’ internal components of a building. They assesses, install, fault find and repair equipment and lines related to radio, optical, data and internet protocol (IP) networks. As our buildings become increasingly technological, the demand for this job will continue to grow.

VET courses

Be a boss! Project managers ranked #9 in a Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs List for 2018, with average salaries at $124,603.

Construction project managers plan and run construction projects, including managing budgets, staff (including other managers), contractors and services. A top-level position with salaries that can be well over $100,000, skilled managers have a detailed understanding of the construction industry and its regulations, excellent communication skills, and are able to work under pressure to complete jobs on time and within budget. A job to aspire to.

VET course

Architectural draftspersons earn around $75,000, according to Jobsoutlook.gov.au

Working closely with architects and builders, draftspeople create or complete design concepts by preparing drawing, plans and other documents that provide the ‘blueprint’ for construction. If you enjoy working on computers, can ‘think’ in 3D and have an eye for accuracy and detail, this job would suit.

VET course

While interior designers earn around $1000/week on average, experienced professionals can earn significantly more.

Construction projects don’t end with the external ‘shell’ of the building – the interior fit-out is often equally important, be it residential or commercial. Interior designers have a trained eye for colour and texture, a heightened spatial awareness, and attention to detail. They plan and implement interior schemes using colour, furniture and finishes, with an aim to create spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

VET courses

The average income of a safety inspector is $110,000 according to Joboutlook.gov.au

Workplace injuries are an issue across every industry, but particularly in construction, where sites and machinery pose numerous hazards and dangers for workers. Safety inspectors and advisers help keep people safe. They identify and control risks, and work to promote a safe and healthy work environment. Be an important player.

VET courses

Expect to earn around $75,000, according to Jobsoutlook.gov.au.

With so many banks, credit unions and finance providers on the market, people rely on financial brokers and advisers to help them find the best deal for their financing needs – including companies in the construction industry.

Brokers work between buyers and lenders. After assessing a client’s financial status, discussing their options and developing a strategy, they organise and negotiate the sale and purchase of shares, stocks and property and arrange insurance and loans on behalf of the client.

VET courses

Combine your love of design with technical precision, and earn an average salary of $80,000.

Civil engineers work to design and build structures, using their expertise in mathematics and existing and new materials to ensure buildings are safe, sound, and – at times – stunning.

VET course

One of the most important – and valued – roles on construction projects construction managers ranked #8 in the Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs List for 2018, with an average salary of $126,122.

These managers plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate the construction of civil engineering projects, buildings and dwellings, and the physical and human resources involved in building and construction. They combine detailed technical knowledge with project management skills to estimate construction, quantify costs and plan project programs. Construction managers often report to project managers.

VET courses

Bricklayers earn around $1,200 a week, according Joboutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

Bricklayers are highly skilled craftspeople who can transform simple pieces of rock and clay into majestic structures. This job requires physical, intense and repetitive work yet there’s great satisfaction in seeing the finished product.Bricklayers use specialist tools to cut bricks to size, spread mortar and lay bricks, tiles and concrete in a uniform fashion to build structures. Bricklaying is a methodical practice. It requires meticulous preparation before active work can be carried out.

VET courses

On average, carpenters earn around $1,000 a week, although salaries can be higher.

According to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business, there’s currently a state-wide shortage of skilled carpenters and joiners in NSW (2017).

If you love the idea of building things, working outdoors and – maybe one day – being your own boss, a carpentry apprenticeship is the ticket. It generally takes three years to become a qualified ‘chippie’, and along the way you’ll learn how to measure, cut and construct the frame of a building with timber, as well as common skills required for work in the construction industry. Elective units cover building skills for doors, windows, stairs and more. Qualified apprentices can go on to complete a builder’s licence.

VET courses

On average, painters and decorators earn around $1,000/week, although salaries can be higher.

Use your artistry and attention to detail to forge a rewarding career in construction. You’ll erect scaffolding, prepare surfaces, mix paints and other finishes, and apply paints, varnish and wallpaper to buildings and structures

VET courses

Glaziers earn an average of $60,000, according to Joboutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

With windows and glass an increasingly popular design element in modern architecture, the demand for qualified glaziers continues unabated – jobs growth in this occupation is expected to grow strongly in the four years to 2022.

Glaziers work with a range of glass ­– tempered, laminated, safety, specialty – offering clients expert advice and precision installation. They cut, replace and remove glass, and can work in both the residential and commercial construction sectors.

VET course

Plasterers take home around $1,000/week, although salaries can be higher.

If you boast great hand-eye coordination and a keen attention to detail, this may be the job for you. A plastering apprenticeship generally takes around three years, with apprentices taught how to work with specialised tools to install and finish walls and ceilings in commercial and residential buildings.

The job can also take you outside, where techniques such as concrete render and stucco are applied to a building’s external facade. Plaster repair work is a key aspect of the job, and there is some scope to work on historical or more complex buildings that require specialised techniques.

VET courses

Expect to earn around $817/week as a roof tiler, although salaries can be higher.

There is currently a shortage of qualified roof tilers in NSW and Australia, with demand often greater in regional areas.

If scaling ladders and working up with the birds doesn’t faze you, an apprenticeship as a roof tiler may suit. This qualified trade is involved in all aspects of constructing a roof, from reading architectural plans and drawings to erecting ladders and scaffolding, securing a roof with waterproof sheeting and underlay, and fixing tiles and other roofing materials.

VET course

Wall and floor tilers earn an average of $1,000/week, according to Joboutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

Tiles are one of the most popular wall and floor coverings in our homes, and with good reason. Practical, heard-wearing and attractive, they add untold value to high-use areas such as bathrooms, corridors, living rooms and outdoor areas. It generally takes 2-3 years to become a qualified wall and floor tiler, with apprentices learning how to examine, prepare, cut, lay and finish tiles. The popularity of colour and pattern work in tiles adds an element of creativity to the job.

VET course

On average, plumbers earn around $1,100/week, although salaries can be higher.

According to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business, there’s currently a state-wide shortage of skilled plumbers in NSW (2017).

You’ll need to love working outdoors and with your hands, with apprentice plumbers learning to connect and maintain water and gas supplies to domestic, commercial and industrial buildings. From sub-soil drainage to roof plumbing, gasfitting and repair of heating and ventilation systems, the trade offers general skills and a variety of specialist streams.

VET course

Expect to earn around $1,000/week, although salaries can be higher.

Australians love to renovate ­– especially their kitchens and bathrooms – and skilled cabinetmakers are currently in short supply throughout NSW. Over the four years of this apprenticeship, you’ll gain skills in furniture making as well as manufacturing and installing fitted furniture, most typically in kitchens, bathrooms and similar settings.

Capitalise on your fine motor skills and attention to detail as you learn to understand and apply drawings and specifications, and select materials, use hand and power tools to cut and shape wood, and learn the techniques and accessories needed to build and construct furniture and fittings for homes, caravans and boats.

VET courses

Tunnelling specialists can earn around $78,000, according to Joboutlook.gov.au.

With so many major infrastructure projects incorporating tunnels, there is a real and growing need for workers with skills related to this task— such as shotcreting (where concrete is sprayed onto a surface), rock bolting (a system to stabilise rock excavations), and driving road headers (large excavating machine with a boom-mounted cutting head). Skill up today!

VET course

Truck drivers earn an average of $68,000, but salaries can be higher.

Get behind the wheel of removal vans, tankers, heavy trucks and tow trucks to transport bulky goods, liquids or vehicles. Duties include the operation of lifting and tipping devices, weight estimations, and handling of loading documents.

VET courses

A specialist role, demolition supervisors can earn salaries of around $90,000.

Before a new building can go up, another often has to come down. In this role, you’ll oversee a specialist team of workers ensuring safe and efficient demolition of large public, commercial, industrial or residential buildings, structures and installations.

VET course

Welders earn around $1,100/week, according to Joboutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

According to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business, there’s currently a state-wide shortage of skilled automotive and engineering trade workers in NSW (2017).

From forging and metal fabrication, to erecting structural steel and operating computer-controlled equipment, this apprenticeship will see you with the skills and relevant qualification to seek work in the manufacturing and engineering industries. Qualified tradies can seek work as a boilermaker, sheet metal worker, class welder, foundry tradesperson or patternmaker.

VET course

Fitters earn an average of $1,500/week, according to Joboutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

Begin a rewarding career in the automotive service and repair industry. Qualified fitters design, assemble, manufacture, install, maintain and service mechanical and mobile equipment, power systems, and use computer-controlled machine tools.

Qualified apprentices can also seek roles as a fitter and turner, fitter and machinist, plant mechanic, or first class machinist. The average weekly pay for fitters and machinists is $1500 (before tax), and there is currently a shortage of qualified fitters and first class machinists in NSW.

VET course

Vinyl floor layers earn around $855/week, according to Jobsoutlook.gov.au, although salaries can be higher.

Technological advancements in manufactured flooring have propelled vinyl to the top of many designers’ wish list. To learn the skills and techniques required to prepare flooring surfaces and lay a range of materials, including vinyl, carpet, timber and polished concrete, a trade apprenticeship is required.

VET course

On average, landscape gardeners earn around $950/week, although salaries can be much higher.

From hardscaping to green spaces, landscaping finishes off a building and gives it context in the environment. In this role, you’ll plan and construct gardens and landscapes, and plant, cultivate, maintain, and treat trees and shrubs.

VET courses

Human resource officers earn around $70,000, with salaries increasing with experience.

As with any industry, the success of a construction project relies on the people who deliver it. Managing personnel is key a role in a construction agency, but especially large, commercial ones. Duties for an HR officer in the industry can include payroll, staff administration, training and experience, workforce planning, recruitment, internal communication and ensuring compliance with government regulations.


VET course

Fee-free apprenticeships

Thinking about an apprenticeship? Getting a trade under your belt through VET is a smart move.

  • Fee-free training for 100,000 new apprentices. The NSW Government will pick up the up to $2000 training fee, meaning no debt when you start a trade.
  • 91.2% of VET graduates are employed after a trade apprenticeship.
  • Potential for career progression and opportunities to earn salaries of more than $75,000.
  • Work where you want, with opportunities in Sydney and regional NSW.
  • Great lifestyle and work/life balance.

Start by searching the top 20 apprenticeships available in NSW today, or all 122 available apprenticeships on our course finder.

Read more on our Employer and industry page or download our fee-free apprenticeship training brochure.

FAQs

Once you know the industry and apprenticeship course you’re interested in, you’ll need to find an employer who will take you on as a new apprentice. It’s like looking for a job – only with plenty of help and support available.

Polish up your CV and follow this 5-step process.

Step 1Search apprenticeship courses. Find the one that most appeals.

Step 2: Secure an apprenticeship. Look for vacancies online, through group training organisations, the Apprenticeship Employment Network, and/or your school and community networks.

Step 3. Work with your employer and Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) to determine the apprenticeship course that best suits your work environment.

Step 4. Sign a training contract with your employer and ANP.

Step 5. Receive your training contract ID number and develop a full training plan. After completing a probationary period, your apprenticeship will be officially registered.

View further information on fee-free apprenticeships, including the top 20 apprenticeship courses in NSW.

With more than 120 different apprenticeship courses available in NSW through VET, there’s something to suit everyone. Think about your strengths and interests, and the kind of work and industry you might enjoy.

Search all available apprenticeship courses and talk to a trusted adult, career advisor and local employers for support and guidance. Read about past VET students and be inspired by their stories.

View further information on fee-free apprenticeships, including the top 20 apprenticeship courses in NSW.

No. The construction industry provides job opportunities for people with a wide variety of skills and qualifications. From marketing to human resources, architecture, interior design, transport and logistics, finance and work health and safety, there are possibilities across the board. In fact, VET offers pathways to over 30 diverse roles in the construction industry.

Start your search with our guide to 30 great jobs in construction

Construction is a boom industry with opportunities for skilled, experienced workers to earn salaries of more than $100,000. Salary packages can also include use of a vehicle and phone, alongside other benefits.

Apprentices earn while they learn, with their salary increasing each year of their training period or when each level of competency is reached. On average, apprentices earn around $25,000-$53,000 a year. The Australia Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman pay calculator provides more detail.

Starting salaries for qualified tradespeople can be impressive. The highest average starting salary for all VET qualifications is in construction: Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas – Electrical at $85,400.

Your job prospects are excellent, too, with 81% of VET apprentices or trainees employed after training.

Yes. As you gain skills and experience, and supplement these with additional training, you’ll be able to apply for more senior roles, including management. Many large construction companies have job opportunities overseas, and, for those not on the tools, the skills you bring to your construction job can also apply to other industries.

Yes. Women are increasingly visible in the construction industry and play an important role in its future. All VET courses, including apprenticeships and traineeships, are open to women.

Under its Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, the NSW Government is committed to doubling the number of women in trade-related work on all projects that fall under the state’s record infrastructure spend.

Yes. All VET courses, including apprenticeships and traineeships, are open to people with disabilities. Eligible students are also exempt from fees for any government-subsidised training.

View further information on Smart and Skilled training for students with disabilities.

Yes. Under its Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, the NSW Government is committed to increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in trade-related work. Eligible students are exempt from fees for any government-subsidised training.

View further information for Smart and Skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.