Labourer jobs are predominantly found in the building and construction industries. Labourers perform manual tasks such as digging trenches, unloading building materials and preparing job sites. They use a range of hand and power tools in their duties, and are also expected to operate and clean heavy machinery.
When assisting qualified tradespeople such as bricklayers, plumbers and landscapers, labourers often develop expertise in these areas. Experienced workers are called on to perform routine labourer jobs and skilled tasks as needed.
Most labourer jobs are outdoors and involve early start and finish times. Labourers may be required to work with dangerous materials such as lead, asbestos and chemicals. Certification is usually needed for these jobs.
General skills required for labourer jobs are:
A high level of physical fitness
Strength to lift heavy objects
Ability to read technical plans and drawings
Attention to detail
Compliance with safety procedures
Good communication skills
Ability to work in all weather
Ability to work in cramped spaces and at heights
Flexibility to work with different crews
Knowledge of building materials and practices
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PROSPECTS FOR LABOURER JOBS:
Job prospects for labourers are generally good. Employment opportunities for building, plumbing and miscellaneous labourers are predicted to remain strong up to 2019. Labouring jobs in other areas such as landscaping and paving and surfacing are also expected to remain steady over this period.
Labour is a significant employment category and labourers jobs will be available in most areas throughout Australia over the next 2-3 years.
EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS FOR LABOURER JOBS:
Projections from the Australian Department of Employment, 2015 to 2020. Note data is '000.
Trades Assistant, Builder, Plumber, Bricklayer, Scaffolder, Furniture Removalist, Landscaper, Carpenter, Concreter, Forklift Driver, Machine Operator, Farm Hand.
AREAS OF EMPLOYMENT:
PAY FOR LABOURER JOBS:
Pay rates vary slightly for labourer jobs. General labourers earn around $20.17 per hour. The average wage for a construction labourer is $22.14 per hour. A landscape labourer can expect to earn about $20.35 per hour. The average hourly rate for a demolition labourer is higher at $30 - $34 per hour.
The median full-time weekly pre-tax wage for building and plumbing labourers is $1100. Full-time miscellaneous labourers earn slightly less on average at $1045 before tax. Gardening and landscaping labourers have a median weekly income of $792, while furniture and freight handlers have an average pre-tax pay of $1192 per week.
Wage increases for labourers are generally modest and experience does not impact significantly on pay.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR LABOURERS:
There are no formal qualifications to become a labourer as learning takes place on the job. Labourers need to be over 18 and some jobs require safety certification and tickets.
Most general labourers have completed Year 10. High school subjects which are beneficial for those planning to become labourers are maths, technical drawing and design and technology.
While formal qualifications are not required, tickets and licences can enhance job prospects. It is helpful for labourers to attain a forklift licence and tickets in areas such as Asbestos Removal and Working at Heights.
A Certificate IV is available in Building and Construction which is beneficial for labourer jobs.
Many job ads specify a labourer should have the following:
The ability to pass a pre-employment drug and alcohol test
Construction White Card or Red Card