Construction Skills Queensland

Skills, saws and renovations

Gold Coast carpenter Ben Archard used CSQ funding to complete a Certificate III in Carpentry, which helped him to obtain his builders licence. Ben spoke to CSQ about his career and the importance of finding a job you really enjoy….

I was only 16 years old when I started my carpentry apprenticeship. I was happy to be working and didn’t really understand what I should have been doing. After 2 years I realised that my boss had never signed me up for my apprenticeship, so I ended up wasting all that time.

After that I worked with a boat builder and ended up completing my apprenticeship working on superyachts. I really enjoyed the woodwork but it was quite limited and after a while I realised I wanted to focus more on carpentry.

After I completed my boat building apprenticeship I worked for a few carpenters and realised I needed to complete my Certificate III in Carpentry to further my career.

I phoned up CSQ after hearing a radio advert and was stoked to get some funding to do my Cert III. Then I went on to get my builders licence and last year I finished my Builder – Low Rise licence.

CSQ funding made a massive difference to me, it gave me a real leg up and I haven’t looked back since doing my Cert III. Without the funding for my study I would have had to wait a couple of years while I saved up – I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I had a lucky break when my boss moved interstate; he gave me his customer list so I decided to go into business for myself. I’ve been working for myself for 6 years now and I’ve never had to advertise. I get all my work through word of mouth and have so much work that I’ve taken on two more guys to help me.

“I was taught to always do the best work you possibly can because it always comes back to you – most of my work comes from recommendations from previous clients.” 

Being my own boss means I can pick and choose the work I take on, and I have more flexibility which means I can spend time with my family. I work hard, and it’s really satisfying to look back over all the photos from the projects I’ve built.

I want to become a specialist in home extensions – most of my time is spent on renovations. The Gold Coast is very built out so people are looking for ways to add value to their existing homes, like adding an extra room or an extra story.

My advice for anyone interested in a career in the construction industry is to try out a few different trades first to find one you really enjoy. Get started, knuckle down, and when you’re at work, work!

I’m finding that the younger ones coming through aren’t so willing to put in the hard yards and I have to invest a lot of time to teach them the ropes.

I have two good guys working for me now and they’re both keen to learn. One is a qualified carpenter and I’m looking to put the other one through his carpentry apprenticeship, CSQ funding means I can get him started. It’s a great industry and I’m keen to help my team get ahead in their careers.

Find out how to access CSQ funded training by calling 1800 798 488 or visit csq.org.au