How to become a carpenter in Australia

There are plenty of things that are attractive about becoming and working as a carpenter in Australia, like working outdoors, using your hands to craft and build things that will help your clients in their everyday lives. Not only is it a skill that is in high demand in Australia but there are different branches of carpentry that you can explore and work within, giving you plenty of different career opportunities.
Read on to learn all about becoming a carpenter in Australia, how to get a job as a carpenter, and how carpenter insurance* can help reduce your exposure to carpentry risks.

What does it take to be a carpenter?

Having an interest in the trade is one of the first things that probably sparked your interest in a career in carpentry. With the role comes a few traits and qualities that help when working in the industry, such as:

  • you enjoy manual labour, working with your hands;
  • you like to pay attention to detail;
  • good at basic math skills;
  • good at basic math skills;
  • clear and friendly communication skills; and
  • reasonable level of fitness

Education and qualification requirements for carpenters

While you can’t get a carpentry degree in Australia, there are formal qualifications that aspiring carpenters can enrol in to become a certified carpenter.

So, how long does it take to become a carpenter? Getting the right qualifications and training to become a carpenter is essential in this industry. Within Australia, there are different types of educational courses and apprenticeships available. Each state and territory has its own educational systems in place so it is best to check with them to see what options are available.

Most carpentry apprenticeship courses run for four years and will be a combination of online study and on-the-job hands-on practical skills. Typically a carpenter qualification can take around three to four years to complete and may require the completion of your High School Certificate to enrol.

Many aspiring carpenters complete a Certificate III in Carpentry, often referred to as a Cert III. This fundamental carpentry course is designed to give you exposure to a range of different skills and techniques that you will need when working out on a job as well as dealing with things like blueprints and client requests

What does a carpenter do?

Each day on the job for a certified carpenter can vary depending on the specific project they are working on, the location of the job, and what area of carpentry they specialise in. Generally speaking, carpentry is a very broad trade.

As a qualified carpenter, your day-to-day duties can vary. You may work as a shopfitter, a framework carpenter, a formwork carpenter, or in green carpentry, which focuses on using environmentally friendly materials to make buildings more energy-efficient and sustainable.

Some of the core duties for most carpenters include:

  • studying building plans and drawings to work out the materials required and how best to install features.
  • preparing, treating, cutting, and shaping timber elements to be used for structures or fittings.
  • erecting building framework, roofs and floors, fitting exteriors, doors and window frames.

Different types of carpenters

Within the carpentry industry there are different fields and areas of carpentry that you may want to specialise in. Take some time to become familiar with what these are, what is involved and which ones you may want to specialise in the future. Some examples of these specialised areas include:

  • joinery;
  • framework carpentry;
  • formwork carpentry; and
  • green carpentry

There are always other carpentry courses that you can undertake if you decide to change the type of carpenter you want to be. In addition to the state education systems there are plenty of building and construction courses which are usually provided by private education sectors.

How much does a carpenter make?

The average salary for qualified carpenters in Australia is $77,500 per year or $39.74 per hour. For entry-level positions with no experience, salary may start at $65,000 per year, while experienced carpenters can make up to $97,500 per year. How much a carpenter makes will also depend on their level of experience.

Build your framework of connections

Networking within the carpentry industry is an important skill to have when it comes to building a name for yourself within the industry. Talking to like-minded tradies and making connections can help with things like finding the right suppliers, having a heads-up about upcoming jobs, sharing best practices and recommendations for other tradies when required.

Get your tools sorted

Other than using your noggin, your tools are essential to getting the job done. In those early stages of starting out you may not have the cash to purchase everything you need brand new. Luckily there are some other options that can help, such as.

  • look at purchasing your tools second hand;
  • borrow/hire tools;
  • don’t buy everything under the sun, keep it simple to the basics you need

Insurance for carpenters – what you need to know

Once you’ve finished your training, got your tools, and start working on-site there’s one more thing that you need to consider having in place – business insurance. There are a few different types of policies that you may need to consider when working as a carpenter, as follows.

Public Liability insurance

One of the fundamental types of business insurances, you may often be required to have this type of insurance in place well before you pick up your tools. Public Liability insurance is designed to provide protection for you and your business in the event a customer, supplier or a member of the public brings a claim against you due to their being injured or sustaining property damage as a result of your negligent business activities.

Portable Equipment cover

Once you start building up your tool collection and working on sites, you may want to look at having an extra safeguard in place like Portable Equipment cover to keep them safe. Portable equipment (or general property) insurance can cover specified items such as tools, business equipment or electronic items, or unspecified items of lower value.

Personal Accidental and Illness insurance

This is a form of insurance that is designed to protect your most valuable asset- you. Accidents can happen regardless of how careful you are at work or after hours. Should the unexpected happen, this product can cover your income and provide benefits for permanent disability and even death if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury

Are you considering a career in carpentry?

With a projected 8.1 per cent job growth for carpenters in Australia between 2020 and 2025, the future is bright for aspiring carpenters and now may be a great time to pursue a career in carpentry.

To find out more about getting your carpenter insurance sorted, get in touch with BizCover today. Call us on 1300 920 864 or visit our dedicated page for carpenter insurance and get covered in minutes and get back to doing what you do best.

*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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