Summary of occupation
Scaffolders plan, build and erect scaffolding and working platforms for construction projects, as well as building stands and tiered seating for public events such as concerts or sporting events. They inspect the area that requires scaffolding and make calculations to determine what kind of scaffolding is required, unload it, fit its tubing and braces together to form frameworks, and fix ladders, rails and other attachments to the scaffolding. They are also responsible for checking and maintaining scaffolding equipment, inspecting scaffolding structures for safety, and taking down scaffolding when the job is done. Scaffolders work all over the state, assisting and enabling the construction of everything from schools to skyscrapers.
Erects and dismantles scaffolding to provide work platforms on building and industrial sites, and for temporary structures such as staging and seating. Registration or licensing may be required.
Scaffolders work on a wide variety of building projects where construction processes need to be undertaken at heights. Because they construct and erect the scaffolding, scaffolders themselves work at heights, which may be dangerous. They work in most weather conditions. Scaffolders usually work regular hours but may be required to work longer hours if working to a deadline.
On average, scaffolders, classified under structural steel construction workers, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 a year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a scaffolder develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Scaffolders work primarily with scaffolding, which is usually comprised of metal pipes or tubes connected with couplers, and boards or other platforms on which workers stand. They use hand tools such as scaffolding spanners, socket wrenches and hammers, and ladders to get up and down the scaffolding. They often drive trucks or utility vehicles to transport scaffolding equipment to and from the building site, and are usually required to wear safety gear such as helmets, harnesses, workboots and tool belts.
You can become a scaffolder without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
You can improve your employment prospects by completing a traineeship.. The scaffolding traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.
To work as a scaffolder in Western Australia, you will need to obtain a High Risk Work license from the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Commerce (WA).
In order to be issued a High Risk Work license, you must be at least 18 years old and complete a scaffolding training course offered at registered training organisations throughout WA.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”). In WA, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Commerce (WA).
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.