Upskill Learning recently sat down with Fraser, a 24 year-old Project Manager from Melbourne, Victoria, to learn a bit more about his journey from his challenging school days to finding his feet in building high-end residential homes.
We asked Fraser to tell us about what drew him to start in the industry.
“I sort of just fell into the construction industry when I left school and started labouring as a landscaper.
Not being very academically minded, I realised during my school years that I was more of a hands-on type of guy. Working as a landscaper, I was trained on the tools and machinery, learning different aspects of physical labour.
But I found it wasn’t just a physical job, although it was better than hitting the gym every day, it was also technically and intellectually challenging as well. The more I was learning about the industry, and the intricate parts involved, the more rewarding the job became.
Once I had a grasp on how to do one task, I would want to move on and learn something else. So that’s where I moved into more Building and Construction, which played into my strength of being able to look at the small tasks and see where they fit into the bigger picture.”
Fraser’s story starts the same as it did for many tradies within the industry. But he took steps to change his story.
“It was easy to realise, I didn’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. No-one does. Like everyone else, I wanted to be the boss!
So I started the Diploma of Building and Construction. This course was a great way to learn while working, because the class hours were in the evenings, so I didn’t have to sacrifice work to do it. I was given the option to study from home or in class, but it was such a great environment being in class with other guys, just like me.
My trainer wasn’t some academic that learnt about the industry at Uni, he was also a tradie like me that had gone through the industry himself. So I was learning from someone that actually knew what they were talking about.
The best thing about combining the Diploma and working on site, it allowed me to understand the units I was studying by putting them into practice in the workplace. We would get a subject like “interiors or services”, and I would go to my boss and say, “I need to learn about services”, and he would show me in a practical sense. So when it came to doing the Diploma assignments, I just blitzed it.
Thanks to the Diploma of Building and Construction, I was not only growing my skills and knowledge in the industry, but my confidence as well, which was vital to getting me to where I am now.
I was able to say “I want to be the next guy, why can’t I be like him? There’s no reason I can’t do that!”
And I was able to achieve that goal.
We asked Fraser, looking back from where he came, to where he is now, was the study worth it?
“Now, at the age of 24, I work as a Project Manager, currently working on two high end residential projects in Melbourne. I work on a daily basis with five carpenters and apprentices as well as subcontractors and suppliers.
It’s empowering to know there are so many people that rely on you, it’s a good feeling.
And, one of the biggest things is, these are people I can relate to, having been in their shoes.
I wouldn’t have gotten here without having done the Diploma of Building and Construction. And I encourage the guys under me to do the same thing.
When hiring, I’m looking for those guys either doing the Diploma, or wanting to do the Diploma. It gives me a peace of mind that they are wanting to make the commitment and take the responsibility.
I have one of my guys preparing to start his Diploma of Building and Construction this month, and I will help support him throughout his studies.
When I look back at how far I’ve come, my message to others is “You will always be successful if you follow what you want to do, not what you think you should do.”Read more
Everyone’s reasons for progressing their building career is different. Meet Doug, his life changing moment was when his daughter was born, he wanted to be there to support his family to make sure they have the best he can give them.
So How did you get started in the industry?
“When i was a kid, i’d go out on job sites with the old man during weekends and holidays. Being the small guy, the guys would put me to work, crawling under floor spaces and doing the dirty work. So I grew up around the industry.
When it came to deciding on a career path, I didn’t think it was right for me and I went into a different industry.
But it didn’t take me long to realise I was wrong! Working in Building and Construction was what I wanted to do, it was what I understood and what I was good at.
So I started off as a labourer, doing maintenance and stuff like that, just trying to work out what type of career I was going to take.
I did that for about 15 years before starting my own business. Mostly it was small jobs for people that were too busy or incapable of doing, maintenance, odd jobs. Mostly handyman type work.”
Did you need to get a licence to run your own business?
“No, because I wasn’t doing jobs big enough to require a licence at that stage. And if I did work on a bigger project, I was working directly for another builder, so I didn’t need the licence or formal education.
But there came a point I realised the small jobs and working under others wasn’t going to be enough.”
What was the big kicker to cause you to make a change?
“My Daughter was born! I became a family man.
I wanted to be there to support my family, to make sure they have the best I can give them.
To do that, I needed to grow my business, and wanted to get my builder registration. But that’s when my lack of formal education came back to bite me.
To grow professionally, I needed to go back to studying and get a formal qualification.
One thing that was a worry, with a newborn, was the cost.
I was amazed to find that because I didn’t have a formal qualification, I was able to get subsidised assistance, and the cost of the course was covered. I didn’t have to pay, which was a big relief.”
How are you finding the study?
“Having a chat with one of the course advisors, everything they said made sense to me at the time. Having a new little one, doing an online Diploma of Building and Construction course was a great option.
Unfortunately for me, I found early on that online study did not suit my learning abilities, so I had another chat with the course advisor, and they were able to switch me over to a classroom course, without any fuss or even questioning it.
Studying in a face-to-face environment was 100% better for me. It suited my style of learning, and having your trainer right there made a big difference.
I have made friends and business connections through the other students as well. They were such a great group of like minded people who were all pulling for each other, cause we were all there for the same reason.
Not only have I learnt from them, and hopefully they picked up a few things from me in class.
I’ve had a few of the guys come out and even help me on site, as well as going out and helping some of them as well.”
Do you believe the Diploma is going to help you towards getting your Builders Registration?
“The Diploma is teaching me about applying the rules and regulations to my business, as well as OHS and management skills.
We have been advised that having the Diploma ticks off a lot of the requirements that would have been in the testing, so it does make the process easier.
The course is also helping us plan for the Registration process, they have a department where they have someone that helps once you have completed the Diploma to put together your package that goes towards your Builders Registration application. They help with your application, and filling out your forms. They are able to be contacted and help you through it.
So, yeah, I have high confidence that I will get my Builders Registration after doing this course.”
Doug is nearly at the end of his course, and we look forward to hearing that he had received his Diploma of Building and Construction and successfully applied for his Builders RegistrationRead more