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How to Become a Tradie in Australia

How to Become a Tradie in Australia

Tradespeople play a vital role in economic growth. Tradies are also a crucial part of maintaining and developing the infrastructure that supports our daily lives.

They are the construction industry's backbone, significantly contributing to the country's GDP. However, the value of tradies extends beyond their economic contribution. They also play a vital role in society, providing essential services that maintain the functionality and comfort of our homes, workplaces, and public spaces.

Becoming a tradie in Australia offers numerous benefits. For one, high demand for skilled tradespeople leads to solid employment prospects. Furthermore, tradies often enjoy the flexibility of working independently or starting their own businesses. They also have the satisfaction of performing tangible, practical work that directly impacts people's lives.

This article will explore the importance and benefits of becoming a tradie in Australia, the opportunities available, the skills required, and the potential career paths in this field.

Understanding the Tradie Profession

In Australia, the term 'tradie' is a colloquialism that refers to a tradesperson. This individual has received specialised training through an apprenticeship for skilled labour. 

Common apprenticeship specialisations include: 

  • Automotive Apprenticeships

    These apprenticeships are perfect for those who have a passion for vehicles and mechanics. They offer practical experience in inspecting, maintaining, and repairing various types of vehicles.

    Automotive apprenticeship specialisations include:

    • Diesel Fitting
    • Heavy Vehicle Mechanic
    • Light Vehicle Mechanic
    • Panel Beating
  • Construction Apprenticeships

    These apprenticeships provide a solid foundation for those interested in the construction industry. They offer training in various aspects of construction, from woodworking to civil construction, painting, and plumbing.

    Construction apprenticeship specialisations include:

    • Cabinet Making
    • Carpentry
    • Civil Construction
    • Painting
    • Plastering
    • Plumbing
  • Electrical Apprenticeships

    These apprenticeships are designed for those who are interested in the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems. They provide comprehensive training in various specialisations, allowing apprentices to develop a broad range of skills.

    Electrical apprenticeship specialisations include:

    • Air-conditioning and Refrigeration
    • Electrician
    • Electrical Fitting
    • Electrical Instrumentation
  • Engineering Apprenticeships

    These apprenticeships offer a deep dive into the world of metalwork and engineering. They provide hands-on experience in working with various metals, machinery, and engineering principles.

    Engineering apprenticeship specialisations include:

    • Boilermaker
    • Casting and Moulding
    • Fitter and Turner
    • Mechanical Fitter
    • Sheetmetal

Why Become a Tradie?

Choosing a career is a significant decision, and it's essential to consider various factors, including job market demand, potential income, and personal satisfaction.

For those who enjoy hands-on work and seeing the tangible results of their labour, becoming a tradie in Australia can be rewarding.

Job Market and Demand for Tradies in Australia

The demand for skilled tradespeople in Australia is consistently high. This is partly due to the ongoing need for infrastructure development and maintenance in urban and rural areas. Additionally, the construction industry, which employs many tradies, significantly contributes to the Australian economy.

This means that job prospects for tradies are generally providing job security.

Potential Income and Benefits

While specific incomes can vary depending on the trade and level of experience, tradies in Australia can earn a competitive salary.

Data from Seek shows an average salary range from $75,000 to $95,000. It’s important to understand this number will vary considerably based on your position, experience and skill set (apprentice, business owner, jobsite manager etc.)

In addition to pay, many tradies also enjoy the flexibility of their work. This can include setting their own hours, choosing their projects, and even starting their own business.

The Satisfaction of Hands-on Work

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a tradie is the satisfaction that comes from hands-on work. Tradies can see the direct results of their labour - whether it's a newly wired house, a repaired plumbing system, or a custom-built piece of furniture.

This tangible outcome can provide a sense of accomplishment that is uniquely satisfying.

Educational Requirements

Becoming a tradie in Australia typically involves a combination of formal education and hands-on training. This path ensures that tradies have the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to perform their work safely and effectively.

Overview of the Educational Path to Becoming a Tradie

The first step towards becoming a tradie often involves completing a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course in the chosen trade. These courses provide a solid foundation of knowledge in marketing, covering both theory and practical skills.

They can be undertaken at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutes or private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET courses are designed to provide practical, career-oriented training. They offer various qualifications across multiple industries, from Certificate I to Advanced Diploma.

For those looking to become a tradie, relevant VET courses might include Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, Certificate III in Plumbing, or Certificate III in Carpentry, among others.

In additional to completing a VET qualification, Australian Apprenticeships include paid hands-on training on a work site. This involves working under a qualified tradesperson's supervision to gain practical trade experience.

Apprenticeships and traineeships can last 1-4 years, depending on the trade, often resulting in a nationally recognised qualification.

These educational and training pathways provide the necessary skills and experience to become a competent and successful tradie.

Steps to Becoming a Tradie

Becoming a tradie in Australia involves several key steps, from choosing your trade to starting your career. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process.

1. Choosing Your Trade

The first step to becoming a tradie is deciding which trade to pursue. This decision should be based on your interests, skills, and career goals.

Consider what type of work you enjoy, your preferred environments, and the projects you find satisfying.

It's also worth researching the job market to understand the demand for different trades.

2. Getting the Right Education

Once you've chosen your trade, the next step is to get the proper experience. This involves getting hired as an apprentice in your chosen trade, signing a training contract and enrolling in a qualification at college.

At MIGAS, we will guide you through each of these steps.

3. Starting Your Career

After you've completed your education, it's time to start your career. This might involve finding a job with a company or starting your own business.

By following this path, you can develop the skills and qualifications necessary to become a successful tradie.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Like any profession, working as a tradie in Australia comes with its own set of challenges. However, these challenges can be overcome with the right approach and mindset.

Here are some common challenges tradies face and tips on navigating them.

Common Challenges Faced by Tradies

Physical Demands: Many trades involve physical labour, which can be demanding and potentially lead to injuries.

Extended Hours: Tradies often work long hours, which can lead to fatigue and burnout.

Keeping Up with Technology: As technology advances, tradies must keep up with the latest tools and techniques.

Regulatory Compliance: Tradies must comply with various regulations and standards, which can sometimes be complex and time-consuming.

Tips and Advice on How to Overcome These Challenges

Feeling Good, Working Great: Regular exercise and a balanced diet aren't just for athletes - they're your ticket to handling the job’s physical demands. And remember safety first to avoid injuries.

It's Your Time, Use It Well: Balancing work and personal life isn't always easy, but a bit of time management can go a long way. There's a whole world of tools and apps out there to help you get organised.

Stay Curious, Keep Learning: The world of trade is always evolving. Keep up with the times by attending workshops, taking online courses, or catching up on the latest industry reads.

Rules of the Game: Every trade has its own set of rules and standards. Make sure you're in the know, and be bold and ask for professional advice if things get a bit tricky

Choosing a career is a significant decision, and it's essential to consider all your options. Becoming a tradie in Australia is an excellent choice for those who enjoy hands-on work and seek a rewarding and stable career.

The path to becoming a tradie involves several key steps:

  1. Choosing your trade based on your interests, skills, and career goals would be best.
  2. Completing your Australian Apprenticeship.
  3. Starting your career working for a company or starting your own business.

While this journey can be challenging, it's also rewarding. As a tradie, you'll have the opportunity to work with your hands, see the tangible results of your labour, and provide essential services to your community. Plus, you'll have strong job prospects with the high demand for skilled tradespeople in Australia.

So, if you're considering a career as a tradie, we encourage you to take the next step. Whether researching different trades, enrolling in a VET course, or applying for an apprenticeship, there's no better time to start your journey. 

If you’re looking for an apprenticeship, we’ve got roles available now. See the MIGAS Jobs Board for details.


Published 18/08/2023

In the spirit of reconciliation, MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.