We caught up with Tim Clark, a former carpenter who is now the general manager of a construction company as well as a trainer with us at Builders Academy Australia. Tim told us how he went from being an apprentice carpenter to a general manager with a builders licence, and he filled us in on how he translates his on-site experience to the Builders Academy classroom.
Name: Timothy Clark
Job title: General manager of Chatsworth Constructions and trainer at Builders Academy Australia
Industry experience: 15 years
“I started as an apprentice carpenter because I loved working with my hands and working outdoors. I did my apprenticeship and really enjoyed it, and worked for a few years before making my way through to some supervising and project management roles.
After that I moved off the tools into more of an office-based role, and that’s where I am today: the general manager of construction.”
“I currently work for Chatsworth Constructions, and my day-to-day role is to supervise the project managers and the site managers, making sure the projects are running on time and on budget. I also make sure the customers and our clients are happy, and I liaise with councils, VicRoads and different authorities to ensure we meet regulatory requirements.”
“A typical day starts at about 6.30am. I get in the office nice and early, dealing with any problems that may arise – if we can get onto them nice and quick it’s going to mitigate the problem throughout the rest of the day.
Most of the morning is spent on sites, working with the project managers and checking that the sites are running smoothly. The rest of the day consists mostly of meeting with new clients, meeting with new contractors and making sure the jobs are running smoothly – so liaising with our office staff and our sister companies as well. “
“I first came across Builders Academy as a student. I did my Certificate IV in Building and Construction, and after completing that I decided to progress further with a dual diploma.
I think the most enjoyable aspect was meeting the other guys in the industry and learning from their experiences. We all shared our stories. I enjoyed the camaraderie.”
“My main motivation for doing formal training with Builders Academy was that I wanted to get my site-based and professional skills recognised in a formal qualification – and get my domestic builders licence.“
“As soon as I finished my dual diploma with BAA, I did the mentoring program with Robert Schaasberg. With Rob’s help, I’m proud to say I got my Domestic Building Unlimited licence. The licence allows us to progress further in the industry and undertake works in our own right.
The VBA nowadays is quite strict about who can and can’t do building works in Victoria, so having the DBU allows you to fully comply with the VBA regulations.”
“The main advantage with the diploma is you can take the skills you use every day on site and you can put them into a context that allows you to comply with regulations and legislation.
A lot of guys do things on site because it’s the way it has always been done; by doing the diploma, I can do things the proper way and make sure I’m fully compliant.”
“Training enables you to take the site-based skills that you have and put them in a textbook format. There’s a lot of emphasis in this industry on the skills we have on site, but in order to comply with government regulations and legislation, we need to learn what they are.”
“One of the problems we see in building and construction is that a lot of people do things the way they’ve always done it. Training lets us learn the right way of doing things to make sure we’re fully across standards, tolerances, compliance codes, OH&S, and a whole plethora of different codes and legislations we need to follow.”
“What I love about being a builder is that it allows you to work with your hands, work outdoors, meet lots of people, and drive past a job at the end of the day and feel like you’ve achieved something. To look at a house you’ve built is quite rewarding.”
“One of the things that led me to become a trainer with BAA after being a student was a motivation to see the difference that training makes. We have a whole heap of tradespeople on our sites that do really great work, but they don’t always know the next step to becoming registered, to becoming builders.
One of the ways I feel I can help is by training them up in the necessary qualifications to guide them along that path to becoming a builder.”
“I think what makes a good trainer is being able to relate with the students. Being in the industry, being on site, sharing stories and experiences with them – it builds rapport. I think the other thing is to have some lighthearted moments – a lot of the students in our class have a bit of fun, a bit of banter, to make sure it’s not too dry.
Some of the textbooks are quite heavy, so lightening it up makes a huge difference.”
“What I love most about being a trainer is that it gives you the opportunity to give back to some of the people progressing through the industry. I’ve been lucky enough to have some good mentors in my career, and by being a trainer I can pass on those skills to my students so that there’s a future for them in the industry too.”
“My advice to anyone who works in building and construction is to get the formal qualifications. The reality of the building industry nowadays is that we need formal qualifications to marry up with our skills on site. The way the industry is heading, without those qualifications you won’t be able to get the promotions, you won’t be able to get the good jobs, and salaries will reflect that.”