Meet Kieran: Dual Diploma student with Builders Academy


“I love what I’m doing. It’s hard work but I’m loving it. Working in a management role has longevity, it’s easier on the body and there’s a real career path from junior foreman to foreman, to site manager and project manager.”

We caught up with Kieran Johnson, a carpenter turned junior foreman who completed his Certificate IV and a Dual Diploma in Building and Construction with Builders Academy Australia. To read about his experience taking the jump from carpenter to junior foreman, his plans for the future, and how training has helped him with his work, scroll through the gallery below. Cheers Kieran!

Name: Kieran Johnson
Age: 24
Job title: Junior Foreman

I did a gap year after school and didn’t know what I was going to do. I was labouring for a builder in my holidays and he offered me an apprenticeship, so I finished that and here I am.

I started with a carpentry apprenticeship and then I studied a Certificate IV and Diploma while I was doing my apprenticeship. I finished my carpentry apprenticeship so that I was qualified and then I jumped straight into a role as a junior foreman.

I did the courses to gain qualifications on top of my apprenticeship. I thought it was good to have something behind me as well as the apprenticeship. I think it has fast-tracked things for me. To get into this sort of management role at 24 is unique. I haven’t seen much of it before.

I found the job advertisement for a junior foreman and when I went for the interview they said my job is to learn, which sounded good to me. I’m backed up by a senior foreman and I’ve got his knowledge there to help me. I work side by side with him – we’re responsible for the same areas in the project.

I’m not on the tools anymore. I did my four years and jumped off. I have my days when I miss it for sure. A big benefit to doing the course is that when you’re ready to jump off the tools it’s there to help you get into management or supervision.

The main part of my job is scheduling sub-contractors. On any given day we’ll make sure they are in the right area working to program. In the morning we make sure everyone is where they need to be, doing the jobs that need to be done and pushing the program along. Ultimately we’re making sure the building is being built and no one’s holding up other trades. We’re also responsible for reading the plans and details, making sure everything is being built right.

I love what I’m doing. It’s hard work but I’m loving it. Working in a management role has longevity, it’s easier on the body and there’s a real career path from junior foreman to foreman, site manager, project manager.

There’s lots that I learned in the course that helps me day to day. The course gives a good overall background knowledge to the industry that, coming from a domestic background, I didn’t have. You get to learn about other trades and managing sub contractors, tendering, the money side of things, contracts, which is all really important for anyone who is running their own business or working on a job site.

In the course I found bouncing off other guys and chatting to others in the industry makes you learn things that you might not necessarily learn in your everyday work. It’s good to be in a classroom environment bouncing ideas off each other. It’s more than the coursework and the assignments you do, talking to different people helps.

What I enjoy most about my job is getting to work with a lot of different people, meeting new subbies every day and learning about their trades as well – gaining a greater understanding of the building industry overall.

I use a clipboard, a laptop and sets of plans really. I use my phone a lot for calling subbies, emailing and the calendar. For communication within the site we use a radio – we’re on it all day. We look up plans on our phones, check details, specifications, all that stuff. We use the mail system to mail the bosses of the subcontractors and schedule and program them – get them where they need to be.

My advice for anyone starting out in building and construction is to do a course to get credentials, get involved, take your opportunities and see where it takes you.

I want to see how far I can take this: working in a project team. So progress to a foreman role. And then maybe one day, if I’m switched on enough, become a site manager.