The construction industry in Sydney is booming which is great news for anyone on a working holiday visa or student visa and looking for work in the Land Down Under. The white card is 100% necessary if you want to even just step foot on a construction site, let alone work on one. Once received, men usually get work as general labourers or skilled workers (electricians, carpenters etc.) and women as traffic controllers. Unfortunately, the saying “it’s a man’s world” does apply to the construction industry in Australia and (all male) site managers are known to express unhappiness if they receive a female labourer onsite one morning. Hopefully this changes soon because there are plenty of females more than able to carry out the job of a labourer or skilled worker and in most cases would probably do it better than the men!
The great aspect about getting your white card and working in construction is you can travel and work whilst saving up a large chunk of money. Check out my crash guide below on how to get your white card in Australia and everything you need to know about it!
Who Needs to Get the White Card?
The Australian National Health and Safety Law states that it is mandatory for individuals who work on a construction job site in NSW, QLD, South Australia and Victoria to obtain a white card from reputable RTOs (Registered Training Organisation). Requirements in Sydney NSW, Melbourne Victoria and Brisbane Qld are the same as in Perth Western Australia or Adelaide SA.
The following people need a white card qualification:
- Traffic controllers
- Construction labourers
- Site managers
- People who access operational construction zones unaccompanied or unsupervised
- Workers who routinely enter operational construction zones
How Do You Get the White Card?
To get the white card, everyone must complete a course either online or at a registered training centre. The course has no such requirements only that you have an Australian mailing address and the necessary ID documents. Many people complete the course online however, it is much more hassle free to complete it at an onsite centre. You will also receive your white card within a week if the course is undertaken onsite whereas some people are left waiting for up to a month for online applications. It takes between 2 – 4 hours to complete online or 6 hours at a training centre (includes break and registration) and costs between $40 – $80.
What You Will Learn on the Course
Working on construction sites poses risks and hazards and safety is taken very seriously especially due to the fact many construction workers have never worked on a site before or handled dangerous tools or machinery. During the course of receiving your white card qualification, you will learn:
- How to identify a safety hazard
- How to report a safety issue on a worksite
- What measures should be taken to reduce the risk of accident or injury
- How to correctly respond to a workplace health and safety incident
How Do You Use the White Card?
Once you complete your White Card training, you’ll be given a Statement of Training certificate which allows you to begin work on a construction anywhere in Australia immediately. Register with a few labour hire agencies and you should get a job offer within the next few days! The hard copy of your white card will be posted to your address within 60 days and if lost, it can be replaced easily.