How To Become A Scaffolder In Australia

June 2, 2023


Scaffolding is a rapidly growing sector in the construction industry. Today, it’s rare not to see this equipment outside any building or structure that’s being constructed or renovated, as it plays a vital role in most projects. Due to this demand, the market size is projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.5% and reach over AUD$130 billion by 2030. As such, the demand for professional scaffolders continues to grow as well.

Professional scaffolders play a critical role in ensuring the safety of workers on construction sites. While some construction sites rely on the basic skills of their workers to assemble scaffolding equipment, this can be risky and lead to scaffolding-related injuries. It’s always safer to hire experts who have the necessary training and experience to assemble scaffolding structures properly. Scaffold hire is also an option for construction sites that do not have the resources to purchase their own scaffolding equipment.

By hiring professional scaffolders or opting for scaffold hire, construction sites can ensure that their workers have a safe platform to work on, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

This article will discuss everything you need to become a scaffolder in Australia, from training to securing scaffolding jobs in Sydney.

Understanding The Role Of A Scaffolder

Scaffolders play a vital role in the construction industry by constructing, dismantling, and modifying scaffolding structures on job sites. Their primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of workers by creating secure and stable platforms for them to work on.

These professionals must have the skills to interpret blueprints and collaborate with other tradespeople. Their attention to detail and adherence to regulations contribute to the overall efficiency and success of construction projects.

If you’re interested in becoming a scaffolder, here are the main steps to take.

  1. Complete Relevant Education And TrainingWhile formal education isn’t mandatory, it’s highly recommended that you undergo scaffold training Australia. Several registered training organisations (RTOs) offer scaffolding courses in Australia. These comprehensive programs cover topics such as scaffold components, erection techniques, safety regulations, and equipment usage. Undertaking an apprenticeship provides the added advantage of gaining practical on-the-job training, allowing aspiring scaffolders to learn from experienced professionals.
  1. Obtain A High-Risk Work LicenseAlthough erecting and setting up scaffolding may seem straightforward, it’s a dangerous task. Any mistake during the process can lead to property damage and severe injuries. An improper setup is also a recipe for fatal accidents at the construction site. That’s why it’s wise to leave the job to trained personnel. To be a scaffolder, you must meet all legal requirements, one of which is to acquire a high-risk work license (HRWL). The HRWL is mandatory for scaffolders, as their job description involves high-risk tasks.The process of obtaining a high-risk license may vary depending on the regulatory authority in your area. But generally, to be eligible, you must:
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Complete HRW training
    • Pass an assessment with an accredited assessor
    • Have a sufficient level of English proficiency

    If you meet this criterion, arm yourself with the following:

    • A passport-size photo
    • A notice of satisfactory assessment (NSA) provided by your assessor
    • A PDF application form
    • 100 points of evidence of identity

    Once everything is in order, follow the steps below:

    • Fill out the PDF application form without signing it.
    • Gather all documents mentioned so far, including the unsigned form.
    • Choose a Post Shop and book an appointment.
    • Visit the shop and complete the application with the guidance of an Australia Post officer.

    It’s worth noting that the pink copy of your NSA can serve as your interim license. You can use it as you wait for the original to arrive, which should take less than a month. Keep in mind that the HRWL is valid for five years, after which you should renew.

  1. Gain Practical Experience

    Practical experience is essential to become a proficient scaffolder. Consider seeking employment opportunities as an apprentice or entry-level worker. This step will help you gain hands-on experience in constructing and dismantling scaffolding structures. It’s an opportunity to refine your skills, improve your understanding of safety procedures, and develop problem-solving abilities.

    Apart from enhancing your competence, practical exposure can also increase your employability in the competitive job market. As you work with experienced professionals, you can start building your network and listing potential clients.

  1. Stay Updated With Industry Standards 

    This is a crucial step for scaffolders and professionals in the construction sector. The industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and safety standards emerging regularly. Therefore, it’s crucial to actively seek opportunities to expand your knowledge and understand the latest trends.Attending workshops, seminars, and industry events will allow you to learn about the latest scaffolding tools and equipment. As such, you’ll stay competitive in the field and become more effective in your work.

    It’s important to mention that safety protocols and best practices also change with the evolving industry standards. So, staying up to date with these trends will help you maintain a safe work environment for you and your colleagues.

  1. Consider Further Specialisation 

    As mentioned, the construction industry is dynamic. The best way to stay in touch with it is by advancing your expertise. Once you have established a strong foundation as a scaffolder, you may want to consider further specialisation.There are several potential routes for career advancement. Some include working with specialised scaffolding companies or becoming a scaffolding supervisor.

    Specialising in a particular area allows you to expand your skill set, take on more challenging projects, and increase your earning potential. It also positions you as an expert in your field and opens doors to leadership roles within the scaffolding industry.


Becoming a scaffolder is no easy feat. With this role, you’ll be responsible for erecting and dismantling scaffold equipment at job sites. You’ll also be responsible for the safety of scaffolding users and everyone around the structure.

This job demands a high level of skill and expertise, as well as a thorough understanding of safety regulations and procedures. However, for those who are up to the challenge, a career in scaffolding can be rewarding and fulfilling. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can begin your journey towards becoming a qualified and competent scaffolder in Australia.