Home > Blog > Upskilling: How To Go From Being A Chippy To A Builder

If you’re a carpenter looking to take advantage of the Sydney and NSW construction boom, there’s no better way to do it than to shift sideways into construction. Before you dismiss it as too hard, if you’re up to date on your documentation and have current skills, it can be surprisingly easy to make the jump to being a builder.

To get there, you’ll need to know how your current skills can be applied in a new industry, and will have to have an understanding of how to navigate the NSW Fair Trading licensing system. We’ve prepared this brief primer as a starting point for your research.

Understanding your current skills & qualifications

Carpentry and building are defined as separate licenses by NSW Fair Trading, but it’s likely that by working in such close proximity to builders and on the same teams as them that you’ve picked up a thing or two. It’s important to note that ‘a thing or two’ is not going to be enough to land you a builder’s license, but it is a good starting point for understanding the gap between your current skills and the skills you need to transition to construction.

This said, a current Carpentry contractor license or supervisor certificate is recognised as part of a successful application for a Building license, but it must be partnered with a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. There are other paths to a builder’s license, but for someone who is already an experienced chippy, this is the shortest. 

RPL & gap training

The next step is to speak to a Recognition of Prior Learning institution. They can assess your current skills against what NSW Fair Trading needs to see in a new builder and can tell you where your skills overlap and where you need more work. You’ll then be recommended a series of gap training programs. These programs are designed to fill in holes in your knowledge that will be necessary to get your builder’s license. A comprehensive gap training program will tick off the units of competency that stand between you and the builder’s license, ensuring you’re fully qualified to apply.

Getting your paperwork in order

After that, it’s a simple matter of presenting your documentation to NSW Fair Trading, including documentation of the relevant qualifications such as a trade certificate and referee statements from licensed supervisors confirming you have the necessary practical experience. Fill in the Applicant’s checklist and lodge the forms in person at Service NSW or Government Access Centre. NSW Fair Trading will be in touch with a verdict.

For more information on the approvals process or to learn how you can upskill into construction, speak to the team at Skills Certified.  

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