Meet James Donahue – Certificate IV in Building and Construction


James Donahue left school early to pick up a trade. In 20 years, he’s never looked back, but as his business continues to grow, James is beginning to realise that there are some things that you can’t just pick up on the job.

That’s why, when James heard about the Builder’s Academy Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building), he knew he it was the right next step for him.

“I’ve recently put on two workers, so my main motivation was to learn the business aspect of carpentry and just get more educated about that side of things.”

certificate building and construction

Learning to Build a Business

James grew up in regional Victoria, near the Murray River and border with NSW. From a young age, he knew that working in an office wasn’t for him. He did his pre-apprenticeship in school, and moved to a full apprenticeship right after.

“I moved down to Melbourne, became a subcontractor, worked about five or six years.”

James loved working for himself and the freedom that being a carpenter offered.

“I decided to put on an apprentice and another qualified carpenter and become a company, and here I am today.”

The things that pulled him to carpentry when he was younger are still the things he loves about the job.

“Different environments, working with people. Rather than being in an office every day and seeing the same thing. You get a variety of work.”

James knew that he could improve his business management skills with a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building). When he discovered Builders Academy through a post on Instagram, he thought they would be the best organisation to go with.

“I struggle a bit when it comes to the admin. It’s the kind of thing you’ve just got to persist with and get better and better at it.”

building and construction

The Surprising Thing About Going Back to School

James never loved school, so he was relieved when he started at BAA and discovered that it wasn’t anything like the school he remembered from when he was younger.

“I struggle a bit, because I’m a tradesman and left school at a younger age, so I’m not really good with that side.”

“Builders Academy helps out a lot. They’re very easy going with getting in your assessments and stuff like that. They’ll help you out with your assessments. It’s a very relaxed environment.”

“I like the other students, the comradery, the teacher, he’s pretty funny. He’s easy to get on with. It takes the nerves out of it, rather than going to a full-on school.”

Like any business owner, James can’t just take time off to go and study. He says that Builders Academy is understanding of that, and makes it easier for him to grow his skills while he works.

“Because you’re currently working at the same time, you’re trying to manage work and a course, so they’re a bit more understanding that you’re a very time poor. You’ve worked a full-day’s work. You’re worn out, and it can be hard to concentrate.”

“The teacher is very understanding because he’s from a trade background, so he knows what it’s like.”

Even though James hasn’t finished the course yet, he’s already learning practical skills that he can use on the job.

“We’re learning general admin, building procedures, how to run a business, how to make a business plan and do cost analysis.”

“It has helped me a lot. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of different things. There’s more to running a business, like PR and procedures.”

The Builders Academy course has made James rethink how he will handle certain situations better. He says that it has made him think on times in the past where he’s made the wrong decision, and how he can avoid those mistakes better in the future.

“I’ve maybe done things back to front, such as putting on workers when I should have researched more or been a bit better with my interviews and been more savvy in that aspect.”

James still trusts his gut when it comes to decisions like hiring, but says that having the knowledge from his Certificate IV helps him avoid making mistakes.

“I’d encourage people to do it. It’s easy. They’re understanding of time. Don’t be scared. It’s very helpful, very useful.”

Looking to take the next step in your career in building and construction with a certificate or diploma? Contact our team at 1300 LEGEND (1300 534 363) or request a callback and we will get back to you with all the information you need.