The great aspect about getting your white card and working in construction in Australia is that you can travel and work while saving up a large chunk of money. Check out Lainey Quinn (aka Little Miss Sunray’s) crash guide below on how to get your white card in Australia and everything you need to know about it.
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 will change soon because there are plenty of women more than able to carry out the job of a labourer or skilled worker and in many cases would probably do it better than the men!
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 New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia or Victoria to obtain a white card from reputable RTOs (Registered Training Organisations). Requirements in Sydney, New South Wales; Melbourne, Victoria; and Brisbane, Queensland; are the same as in Perth, Western Australia, or Adelaide, South Australia.
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 only requires 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. The course takes between two to four hours to complete online or six hours at a training centre (including registration and a break) and costs between AUS$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 that 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 will be given a Statement of Training certificate that allows you to begin work immediately on a construction anywhere in Australia. 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 easily be replaced.
Lainey Quinn is an Irish travel blogger currently living in Sydney, Australia. She started her travels off in Cuba, from where she then headed to the Land of Oz. After travelling the East Coast and completing five months of rural work as a banana peeler in Queensland, she is now working as a Digital Marketing Executive in Bondi Junction, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. Check out her travel blog or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
Seven Types of Construction Tickets and Licences in Sydney
In addition to the general construction induction training (white card), which is needed to work on any construction site, Lainey Quinn has also put together a list of additional tickets and licences that labourers or tradespeople working in Sydney might also require.
- Confined Space Entry Ticket
A confined space entry ticket is required for those that work in confined spaces that are either enclosed or partially enclosed. Examples of work where this ticket may be required include sewers, tunnels, trenches, tanks and vats.
- Working at Heights Ticket
If you are required to work at heights throughout the course of your work, the Working at Heights ticket will be necessary due to the level of risk that is involved. Jobs where this ticket may be required include working on elevated work platforms and scaffolding.
- Elevated Work Platforms Ticket
The Elevated Work Platforms ticket (EWP) is separated into two sections, the first for under 11 metres and the second for over 11 metres. Once you have completed the EWP under 11 metres course you will be able to operate a scissors lift, a vertical lift and a boom lift under 11 metres. If you are required to operate a Boom lift over 11 metres you will be required to have completed additional training that allows you to do so.
- Asbestos Removal Ticket
There are two licences for asbestos removal, as well as a licence to be an asbestos assessor.
- Class A – to remove friable asbestos
- Class B – to remove non-friable asbestos
- Asbestos assessor license – to carry out air monitoring, clearance inspections, and issue clearance certificates.
- Traffic Control Blue and Yellow Cards
The traffic controlling tickets are divided into two categories: the first allows you to control traffic (Blue card) and the second allows you to plan and implement a traffic control plan (Yellow card). If you plan on working as a traffic controller and earn good money, you will require a Blue card that will allow you to direct traffic flows around sites. A Yellow card allows you to plan for traffic movement around a site and to ensure that it is up to safety standards.
- RISI Ticket (Rail Industry Safety Induction)
In order to receive the RISI ticket, a simple training course must be undertaken that tackles basic hazards in the operations of the rail environment and awareness on track safety and electrical safety. The ticket is essential for any workers who work on rail infrastructure throughout Sydney.
- High Risk Work Licences
Construction workers who carry out high risk jobs are required to get specific licences such as crane licences, dogging, rigging and scaffolding licences, forklift licences, hoist licences, pressure equipment licences, and reach stacker licences.
How to Get Construction Tickets and Licences
There are various registered providers who offer different courses on the above tickets and licences all around Australia. Luckily, many of the courses can be taken on Saturdays and Sundays so that you do not miss out on work while you become more qualified and certified to perform work on a construction site.