Sydney – Skills training that will get students a job in 2023

Good news! Students looking for jobs in Australia’s booming hospitality and construction sectors can find training easily.

Hero Image For Skills Training Blog Many Lexis English students come to Australia to learn English and work. Fortunately, there’s plenty of casual work available but sometimes a short course can improve the hourly pay rate or give the flexibility needed to study day or night.

Most of the courses mentioned in this post are reasonably priced and can be completed within one or two days. But, before you book a course, do three things:

  1. Check the requirements for the work you want to do with the Australian State or Territory that you plan to work in. The rules can vary.
  2. Check that the trainer is registered to offer the training (if subject to government requirements), and
  3. Check that a course is accredited, even if the trainer is registered. Nobody wants to spend time and money on a course that isn’t the right one. Most training providers will help you make the right decision but there are some bad operators out there. It’s wise to do your own research.

You can check a training provider’s RTO number (Registered Training Organisation) here. If the trainer isn’t listed, look for another trainer.

1. Barista – average pay rate $25-$35/hour (depending on experience)

This is the one course on this list that you’re not obliged to do in order to get a job as a barista. However, having the training will probably make you a preferred barista job applicant.

Australians love their daily coffee and like to critique how well it is made. It makes sense that barista skills will be valued by the businesses that serve coffee.

Baristas are sought after by shops, cafes, restaurants, and some bars. This means that work opportunities exist in every major city of Australia, nearly every town, and in many suburbs!

Early morning and day shifts are most common. If you are an international student studying at night, this might be a job that fits well with your timetable.

Training courses are usually one day. Advanced courses that teach coffee art (the frothy pictures that decorate coffees) might take longer.

In the research for this article, it was noticed that both “nationally recognised” and “unaccredited” courses are being offered by some providers. “Nationally recognised” means accredited.

Read this report in the Sydney Morning Herald about incentives some businesses have been offering for well skilled staff.

2. Bar work – average pay rate $35-$40/hour (depending on experience)

To serve alcohol in a licensed premises (bar, restaurant, café, club etc.) you must complete Responsible Service of Alcohol training (RSA).  If you do not have this training, you could be fined. The Australian Government published this fact sheet (2020) to explain what is currently happening in each of the different states and territories of Australia.

In NSW, once you have completed RSA training you will need to apply for an RSA Competency Card. Find out more about RSA training in NSW here.

3. Construction work – average pay rate for a labourer $30-$35/hour

In every state and territory of Australia, all construction workers or people accessing construction zones require a White Card (also called a White Ticket). This includes labourers, tradespeople, site managers and so on.

To be approved for this type of training, applicants need to provide proof of identity. International students should discuss with their training provider what documents they will need.

Ten-hour shifts are commonplace in the construction industry. International students should be careful not to exceed the number of hours their visas allow for work. Generally speaking, the workday begins early in the morning and finishes by 4.00/4.30pm.

Weekend, night work and public holiday pay rates are generally considered to be very good in this industry – often paid at double the usual hourly rate.

It’s worth mentioning that during the COVID pandemic in Australia, construction industry workers were among the first people to be allowed to return to work.

Students who are interested in pursuing a trade apprenticeship or trades assistant role might also like to consider doing courses like Forklift Driver training or Elevating Work Platform training. Having more than one skill makes you more employable.

In Australia, more and more women are choosing the construction industry as a career pathway, but it is still predominantly a male industry. According to Women Building Australia “As of November 2020, labour market figures show women now make up 14% of the building and construction industry, growing from 11% at the same time in 2019.”

4. Traffic Controller $30-$35/hour

Traffic controllers are aligned with the construction industry and direct traffic according to approved work zone traffic management plans. It’s a role that’s becoming increasingly popular with women and the training is mandatory for any worker conducting traffic on or adjacent to public roads.

In NSW (at the time of writing), those who complete the training and hold a valid Statement of Completion may carry out supervised work until final assessment is completed. When final assessment is passed, a Traffic Control Work Card is issued.

Remember that the process and requirements might be different in other states and territories, so do your research.

You do not need this kind of training to supervise traffic at a school crossing.

Working interstate

The Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) scheme enables many licensed or registered people to work in other Australian states and territories under a single licence. At the time of writing, the AMR scheme is operating in every Australian state and territory except Queensland. The links below will explain how AMR works in each of the different locations.

Skills you might already have

It might sound obvious but some students already have skills worth mentioning on resumes. For example;

  1. Multilingual workers are appreciated in many tourism and hospitality services. Be sure to let prospective employers know what languages you can speak or are studying.
  2. Soft skills: These are personal characteristics like attention to detail, reliability, helpfulness, honesty and friendliness. Soft skills are a huge asset in the workplace. They’re valued by most employers and are especially needed in fast-paced, high-pressure work environments.
  3. Volunteer experience: Volunteer work demonstrates an industrious and giving nature. A well-run volunteer program gives back with genuine learning opportunities, ensuring volunteers gain practical knowledge and experience. Maybe you’ve been lucky to be involved in such a program?
  4. Entrepreneurial skills: Have you ever earned money running your own market stall or by selling things online? Don’t forget to consider the marketing and business skills that you learned from doing that.

We hope this post was useful.
Good luck with your training and with your job search!

Lexis English delivers academic excellence in General English, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge FCE and CAE. Download the 2023 Lexis English Brochure here or get in touch to enquire.

Lexis Training delivers professional training in Business, Marketing & Communication, Leadership & Management, Project Management, Beauty and English Language Teacher Training. Enquire online.


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