This week we caught up with Builders Academy Australia graduate Steven Thompson, who’s recently taken on a site foreman job in Geelong, VIC.

​Name: Steven Thompson

Age: 43

Job: Site foreman / Junior site foreman


​“I’m a carpenter and joiner by trade. Straight out of school I became a carpenter / joiner / stair builder, doing shop fitting. I did that for about 10 years and then I got into commercial carpentry and had my own business doing that, subbying for builders and things like that.”


​“About 10 years ago I started as a site foreman, travelling up to Melbourne every day. I was with a company for about eight years and I took my long service and left them because I wanted to come down and work in Geelong. I couldn’t find any work so I was back on the tools working in Melbourne for a couple of years and then my current job came along. Even though I have the experience, I reckon I only got this because I was doing the diploma as well. It was handy.”


​“I did the diploma to up my skills, to have it on my resume because, like I said, if I wasn’t doing my diploma I don’t think I would have got this job. The diploma set me apart from others. It has helped with the standards, knowing where to look for all the standards and bits and pieces like that. OH&S is always big on these sites and that’s valuable. The business planning is helpful in many ways, especially if I would like to start up my own business again—that would help a hell of a lot.”


​“I did the diploma online. It was cool. It was Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8.30pm. The teacher runs through everything online. It’s basically like a lecture. What you see is a slideshow and you hear his voice. You can hear what he is showing on the screen as he goes through it. And then there is a little bit of homework to make sure you get it right. The good thing about it is, if you miss one, they are all recorded so you can just go and have a look through it. But I try not to miss them—I haven’t missed one yet. It’s pretty cool.”


​“Because it was online it was much easier. I live in Clifton Springs and I would have had to travel to Geelong. After work that’s the last thing you want to do. You get home and the last thing you want to do is piss off from 6pm to 8.30pm somewhere else. If I had to go somewhere to do the course, I don’t think I would have done it.”


​“I get on-site at about 7am and work til 3.30pm on a normal day. I’m running between the office and site. Here, there and everywhere. Often I’m referring to my plans and then going back out there, helping them mark-out things like grid lines on the new slab. Holding the blokes’ hands, basically, ha ha, making sure the subbies are doing things right, sorting out any problems, making sure they are putting things where they are meant to be as per the plans.”


​“I use a theodolite, a computer and a laser level. A theodolite gives you straight lines across the slab so you can mark out where everything is going to go. You can spin around so that it gives you 45 degrees or whatever you need. Basically it’s for marking out.”


​“Marking out is one of those things you can only learn from being hands on, reading plans, reading grid lines, putting-in RFIs, trying to figure out what the bloody architects are talking about with their drawings. Things like that. When you get your RFIs back from the architect with the architect’s instructions, you have got to make sure that they get incorporated into the plans so that they don’t get missed.”


​“I’ve been a site foreman for 10 years so I know basically how to run a job but there are bits and pieces, like legislation or Australian standards that relate to different things. It’s the little things that you learn along the way.”


Legend! Thanks Steven.


To find out more about our virtual online Certificate IV and Diploma courses, give the team a call on 1300 534 363, or visit our courses page and send through an info request: