If you have talented hands that can master a building craft, there are indeed opportunities to make a good living in construction here in Australia. Tradies, as they are known Down Under, are always in high demand and as you would expect in the 21st century, you need to be certified in order to take up a trade.

Various Building Trades

There are quite a few trades in the construction sector, including:

  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter
  • Joiner
  • Plasterer
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Roofer
  • Stonemason

Once you are qualified, you can apply for a builders licence and that allows you to work independently or to be directly employed by a construction company. Most colleges offer courses in all building trades, while you can also work under supervision and when you are registered, you can start looking for work.


This is the traditional way to learn a building trade; a young person would sign an agreement with a builder to work and learn at the same time, which would be for a period of at least 4 years. The apprentice would typically spend 1-2 days per week at college learning theory and the rest of the week is spent working under supervision. Once the apprenticeship is completed, the tradesperson might have to work for a specific period of time; the builder spends a lot of money training apprentices and therefore they might insist on working a minimum of 2-3 years after certification. Click here for top tips on starting a business in 2024.

Essential Qualifications

Every state is different and we take a look at what is required in NSW to acquire a builders licence.

You will need to have one of the following:

  • Certificate IV in building & construction
  • Current bricklayer or carpenter contractors licence
  • Diploma of building & construction

You will also need at least 2 years of work experience, then you can apply to the NSW government for a builders licence.

Sub Contractor Status

Many tradespeople freelance their services as a self-employed person and that means registering with the Australian government as a self-employed person. This would involve doing your own bookkeeping and accounting and filing your tax returns on an annual basis. Of course, there are many living expenses that you claim for tax deductions, which is something your accountant can help with.

Essential Business Insurance

You need to have some general liability insurance and we advise you to consult with a business lawyer, especially if you are also registering a business as well as applying for a builders licence.

Once you are certified and have your builders licence, all trades are in great demand so you shouldn’t have any issues finding employment, whether directly or as a sub contractor. Start by accessing the NSW website where you can apply for a builders licence and check out the list of essential requirements.