Meet Trevor: Certificate IV student with Builders Academy Australia



Name: Trevor White
Age: 29
Job title: Carpenter who has been running his own business for 10 years

I left school at the end of Year 11 – I was about 16 – and decided to go out and hunt for an apprenticeship. Found that, completed my four years and then went out on my own.

I started Trevor White Carpentry when I was 19 and I’ve kept it going all the way through till now. I’m 29 now, so it’s been 10 years. We work on new builds but most of our work is on decks, pergolas and renovations.

Starting the business was hard at the start, but it wasn’t too bad because I had a lot of help from my previous boss. He gave me a few contacts, which was handy, and from then on it was just a matter of doing what I could to drum up business.

We get on site at about quarter to seven to unpack and set up. We like to start at 7am. We get into it from there, work till about 11 o’clock and stop for a bite to eat. Then we work through till about 3 or 3.30pm. I’ll be on the tools all day and spend some after-hours time quoting.

I’m into module 3 of the Certificate IV in Building and Construction, so I’m about three quarters of the way through. After that I’ll be done.

I’m doing my Cert IV to get my builders licence. It pushes you in the right direction, and the VBA looks at you more positively if you’ve completed your Cert IV.

There’s a lot of stuff in the course that applies to your builders licence, like regulations and that sort of stuff. You need the Cert IV – you need that push to learn.

It’s all the regulations on concreting, bricklaying and every other trade. To be a builder you need to know every facet of the build.

I got mentoring assistance [through BAA’s Builder Registration Mentoring Program] for my licence application. Robert came down and gave us his business card. I worked with him closely to create my portfolio to hand to the VBA. He would say, We need this, we need that,’ and then once I got it all, I was ready. We’d have regular emails, some back and forth, and phone calls to work on what I needed. It was really helpful. The VBA gives you a checklist but it’s not easy to fully understand the details, so Robert was a great help. Robert would send through any updates or changes to requirements – he’s on top of it all.

I’ve submitted my portfolio for my builders licence. Next, the VBA will go through that and check everything’s right and then they’ll get back to me with a yes or no. After that, I’ll book in my exam.

My job is a passion. Sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m going to work – I like it that much. You have your good days and your bad days, but this kind of work is something I’ve always liked. I enjoy the physical work, and there’s always something new: new houses today, tomorrow might be a deck, day after might be a pergola. There’s always something different.

We’re working on a 30-unit development. We started on lot 1, right down the end there, and we’ve worked our way around. We’ve only got two left to do now. Villawood is the builder and we subcontract to them.

We’ve been working on this a while – it has been three or four months, I reckon. Numbers 1 through 12 are complete, but the whole project will finish up in September. Everyone will be in and out.

BAA popped up on my radar and I gave them a call. They have classes in Cranbourne, which was helpful for me because I live in Narre Warren South. The location was handy.
I’m doing the course in person. Juggling work and study was pretty hardcore by the time you get home, drop the trailer off, have a shower and get straight to the course. Then you get home at around 9 or 9.30pm. In the end it’s all worth it, though.

I’m lucky that I’ve got a really good teacher, Gary, who puts a lot of time in for us. He’s a little bit relaxed with it rather than, you know, straight down the line, so he makes the classes work really well. You learn more when it’s relaxed, and he gives you a hand when you need it.
It’s good being in class. You learn from your classmates. We’ve got each other’s numbers now, so if someone is short on work we can always help them out. But it’s more the workrole stuff that you learn you get different ideas from different companies. It’s a good thing.

My favourite thing about the course is the content. The knowledge I pick up through it is huge. I enjoy doing it in person because I feel like I pick up more information in class rather than doing it from home. It’s a lot better when you’ve got a group and you can all help each other out. It’s a lot easier.

The stuff I’ve learnt in the Cert IV definitely applies to my day-to-day work having knowledge about things like tolerances and regulations and those kinds of things definitely helps you. There are lots of bits and pieces you pick up along the way that apply to your job.

My advice to anyone taking on the course is that it’s definitely worth it in the long run. At the end of the day you get out what you put in – if you go to every session, you’re going to do well. Stay committed to it, knuckle down and you’ll get it done. It’s worth it.
Looking to take the next step in your career in building and construction by taking on a Certificate IV and becoming a registered builder? Contact our team at 1300 LEGEND (1300 534 363), read more about the mentoring program here, or fill out our enquiry form on our contact page and we will get back to you with all the information you need.