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  • Writer's pictureJohn Macedo

Joining the construction industry? Here's what you need. (EASY GUIDE)

Updated: May 27, 2022

So, you've decided to get construction jobs in Sydney? That's great!

▶️The construction industry in Sydney is BOOMING, and there are plenty of opportunities for labourers and jobs for tradesmen.

Pay rates are generally above average, and there is a significant demand for workers in the construction industry sectors, so getting in isn't tough. However, before looking for the construction employment, it is critical to understand your expectations and cover the essential criteria.

This post will go over the basic standards, how to meet them, and some recommendations that can help you become more employable and aid your job search.

👉 In this article, we will share instructions and suggestions for labourers joining the construction industry for the first time.

But before we go ahead... You must be wondering how much construction jobs in Sydney are paying these days

What are the pay rates?

In May/2022, General Labour jobs in the Sydney region salary range from $29 per hour up to $35 per hour*. Tradesmen and Skilled Labour Jobs may vary from $32 per hour up to $60 per hour*.

Sound great, doesn't it? So here is what you need to join the construction industry and get a new job in Australia.

*Reference rates paid on TFN for casual employment. The rates for casual employment tend to be slightly higher than for regular employment.

1 - Sharpen your Communication skills

To be the right person for the job, you need to have enough English to understand and follow instructions.

👉It is understandable that you may be an immigrant and you’re learning the language. However, make sure you do understand the instructions every time to avoid possible accidents and mistakes.

Before you get too nervous:

If you find a labour job in Sydney, you will be working with professionals from all over the world that speak different languages, providing multiple types of services, with many different areas of expertise.

So the spoken English difficulty on a construction project doesn't tend to be too high, since things have to be made clear across cultures. Don't let it keep your going ahead with your job search in the construction industry.

Pro Tip: Be humble and ask your site supervisors for instructions as many times as you need.

Do not undertake tasks that you did not understand completely. Use a real-time translator if necessary

2 - Get a Whitecard

The first step in starting your career in the construction industry is to obtain a white card. You will need this to work on most construction projects in NSW and Australia as a whole.

A Whitecard shows that you have completed the necessary safety training and are aware of the risks involved in construction jobs.

How long does it take to get a Whitecard?

Typically takes one day to complete and costs around $100. There are a lot of schools that can offer you a white card in the Sydney CBD area

If you do not have a student visa, you may be able to complete it online. Check to see what alternatives are available to you. This course is pretty easy too. So don't get too nervous about it!

Do not try to find labour work in the construction industry if you do not have a White Card. It is both illegal and dangerous because you will be unfamiliar with safe work procedures.

Pro Tip: Most job sites will grant you admission if you have a certificate of completion. So, if you’re in a rush, you might be able to finish the course and begin working straight away. However, it is best to verify with the customer ahead of time to ensure that this is acceptable in the job you are applying for.

And always have a form of ID with you!

3 - Buy some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

The next thing you will need is the proper PPE or personal protective equipment. You will need to wear this gear in any labour jobs in the construction industry while working on site.

This includes items such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, steel-capped boots, and more.

The minimum PPE necessary

👉 With prices!!

If you're REALLY short on cash and need to start, here is the minimum you need to start:

Hard Hat.

  • Plastic Helmet that absorbs impact $15 - $25

High vis clothing.

  • You can get them in Kmart or many other stores. $10 - $20

Steel Cap boots.

  • You can get them as cheap as $40. But ideally, you should get something comfortable. You will be wearing it for 8hr a day at least and doing heavy work.


  • Rigger or “ninja” gloves. They cost around $10

Here are the suggested extra that you should have:


  • Capable of absorbing impact (Do not use regular glasses if doing activities that may create sparks, dust,t or result in any flying objects). $10 - $20

Work pants/Shorts.

  • Work pants may include cotton or jeans pants. Avoid sweat pants, as they may not protect you from sharp objects and even catch fire. $30 - $40

Earplugs or muffs.

  • You want to protect your hearing as it's one of the first things to go. $5 - $30


  • You will be working outside most of the time, so you need to take care of your skin. $15

Rain Cover.

  • Some jobs will still require you to work when it's raining, so you need to be prepared. $10 -$40

First Aid Kit (for small stuff)

  • Getting scratched working on site is no surprise. You should always have a first aid kit with you in case of any accidents. It should include Band-Aids and bandages, alcohol as well as some painkillers. $10 - $50.

Pro Tip: Do not work in the construction industry if you are not able to clean or cover a wound. It may get infected. Every site should have a first aider. If you are unable to find one, stop work and inform your supervisor.

Some construction companies in the construction industry may provide you with specific protective equipment (such as overalls or specific gloves and glasses). Always check with your employer whether you need any specific equipment or any additional safety qualifications to operate the equipment safely.

You may be able to buy some of this equipment from a hardware store like Bunnings. For the clothing, Kmart should be one of the cheapest options.

You can buy second-hand PPE from sites like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Just make sure that the equipment is in good condition and meets Australian Standards.

Pro Tip: Avoid buying cheap PPE. Keep in mind that cheap PPE becomes useless very quickly.

Better equipment lasts longer and tends to offer better protection. We highly suggest you buy good gear if you're serious about being in construction even though it may be slightly more expensive.

It will last way more and pay for itself many times over and keep you safer on site.

4 - TFN and/or ABN

A valid TFN and perhaps an ABN are required to work in the construction industry. If you are not paid through one of these channels, you are breaking the law and should exercise caution or you will be targeted by local authorities. Be aware of any construction company that offers you cash paid jobs.

CASH jobs are Illegal in Australia

TFN, Tax File Number:

You need this to get paid by any employer in Australia. It's free to apply for, and you can do it online or at a post office and it is required for every individual when filing their annual tax return.

The process is pretty simple, and you will need to provide some basic information such as your name, date of birth, and address.

Indicates that the recruiting company will engage you as an employee. The employer will be responsible for the related tax, workers' compensation, and other employee-related insurances related to working in the construction industry.

ABN, Australian Business Number:

✳️An ABN is not required but is highly recommended if you plan to work as a contractor. It's free to apply for, and you can do it online. ABN suggests that you be hired as a contractor for a specific assignment or job.

Once you have been issued an ABN, you can start invoicing your customers for the work you have completed.

ABN may earn you a higher hourly rate, but you will need to save money to pay your taxes before the end of the fiscal year instead of TFN employees who have their TAX withheld by the employer.

Be careful: working on ABN may be illegal

Depending on your employment conditions and task the TFN is the only option for you. Make sure you understand the law before applying for one to work legally in the construction industry.

5 - Proactive attitude and work ethic

Most people who join the industry are concerned that they will not be able to do a good job or that they don't have the talent for it.

But this is a wrong idea!

👉 It's not so much about the skill set as the mindset. Most entry-level professions do not require any expertise at all but rather an attitude about work.

You may be coachable and humble if you approach the construction industry with the appropriate mentality. You communicate well and are dependable; you have a bright future. Don't let your lack of skill prevent you from entering one of Australia's best-paying industries.

Construction may be tough. Understand that!

Working in construction is, by definition, complex. You may have to work outside in the rain or the sun. You will begin your career as a labourer or a trade assistant most of the time. You may be expected to perform physically demanding chores to assist the other tradesman.

➡️You must understand that this is part of the job and that it is nothing personal.

It's also important to be punctual and presentable. Wear clean clothes and closed-toe shoes, and make sure you arrive on time for your job.

Do not be a hero!

When you're working in the construction industry, it's important to remember that safety comes first. That means following the instructions of your supervisors and being aware of potential hazards at all times.

Become a great labourer.

Most people who join construction projects and work on construction site as General Labourers or Trade assistants. To understand more about how to become a great worker and climb in your career fast read the article we wrote about this specific goal: 👆 5 Tips On How To Be a Better Labourer.

🌟Bonus - How to find labour jobs, Sydney?

Small businesses are created every day in the construction industry. It is easy nowadays to find Australian building construction work for construction projects and construction site or just small construction contractors. Construction managers prefer to get skilled workers 7yet affordable from labour hire companies with great construction services.

Now that you already understand what you need to start, it's time to find out how to find work.

Lucky you, we wrote a specific post giving our workers all the tips and tricks on how to nail that great construction job and grow in their careers.

Click the link HERE and find out all about it.


We hope this article was of great help to understand what is needed to join the construction industry and will help you to find jobs or get a new job in the field.

Joining the building and construction industry is a great way to start your career in Australia.

⚠️ The process is pretty simple, and in sum, here it is:⚠️

1 - Sharpen your Communication skills

  • Make sure you know enough English to communicate well on-site and understand instructions or at least have a real-time translator available.

2 - Get a Whitecard

It's the most basic (and obligatory) construction license. If you don't have one you cannot work in construction.

3 - Buy some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Personal Protective Equipment is what keeps you from getting hurt while working. You need (minimum):

  • Hard Hat

  • High vis clothing,

  • Steel cap boots

  • Gloves

4 - TFN and/or ABN

You need a TFN or an ABN to get paid legally. If you want to work as a contractor, go for the ABN, if you want to be an employee stick to the TFN.

5 - Proactive attitude and work ethic

Construction may be tough. Understand that! Be prepared to help the tradesmen out with whatever task and conditions they are presented with. The right attitude is the single best predictor if you will be called to the next job or not.

👷 Ready to start your work search?

Remember: If you can communicate with people and you are hard-working and humble, the rest will follow.

Lastly, try not to be a hero! It's better to play it safe than sorry. We hope you enjoyed our post, and we hope it was informative for those of you looking to join the construction industry.

Do you feel ready to take the next step: This next post addresses the fundamental skills and attitudes needed to advance in your career. Click HERE to read it!


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We are always looking for construction workers in Sydney who are ready to do their best and are looking to grow to work on major projects. Click HERE to Sign Up!


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From years of experience dealing with people in the construction industry (Workers - Foremans - Project managers), we've noticed that most of the problems happen due to a lack of communication skills.

👉 We wrote our own Delegation Manual that gives you a 5-step-guide that will END your briefing problems once and for all.

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