How to Become a Professional Paving Contractor
A paver is responsible for building roads, driveways and parking lots. Opportunities in the industry are varied, with demand for pavers increasing for residential, civil and commercial projects. As a paver, your work could entail the simple paving of a suburban driveway or the more elaborate task of tiling an entire airport runway.
What Does a Paving Contractor Do?
Paving contractors work with a wide range of materials. These include asphalt and tar for public roads. Pavers also work with various stones and bricks in the creation of driveway and designer paving. It’s the kind of work that can merge practical adeptness with creative savvy.
Pre-Apprenticeships in Paving
If you’re interested in starting a career as a paving contractor, there are many courses you can take. Most aspiring pavers prefer to jump right into an apprenticeship, a paid training program offered by a reputable paving organisation. Others opt to do a pre-apprenticeship, which is fast becoming a popular way to stand out from the competition for prime apprenticeship spots.
You can study a pre-apprenticeship course though a TAFE-accredited organisation or technical college. A Certificate II in Construction Pathways is a basic, semester-long course that teaches up-to-date paving skills and how to create and interpret technical drawings. Here, you’ll learn about all of the tools of the trade and basic paving materials. If you’d like to study for a little longer, a Certificate III in paving will go into more detail about the job, and teach you about excavation, Occupational Health and Safety and masonry for steps and stairs.
An Australian Apprenticeship in paving will bring you up close and personal with the job at hand. Here, you’ll learn a range of technical skills. These include the operation of heavy equipment, such as levellers and asphalt compacters. You’ll also get first-hand experience on how to manipulate dangerous bituminous materials in a safe way.
Apprenticeships are valuable because they will also teach you a range of soft skills that are crucial to the job. You will, for instance, learn about working with other pavers as part of a crew. You’ll also learn how to communicate effectively with other construction workers on the site, as well as clients and inspectors.
Can Anyone Be a Paving Contractor?
Paving is a physically challenging job – so if you enjoy the sun on your skin and dirt on your hands, paving projects are for you. Be prepared to lift heavy objects and work strenuously for eight-hour days. You’ll also have to be observant and have an eye for detail, especially if you’re working in design paving. Design jobs also benefit from pavers who have the creativity to make visually-arresting work, especially with regards to corporate and residential projects. You should be an adept technical drawer and have no problem interpreting blueprints.
Successful pavers are also personable. You should be a clear, fair communicator and get along with the rest of the team. It also helps to have good hand-eye co-coordination, especially if you’re working on a potentially dangerous construction site.
If you’re creative, but also enjoy the Great Outdoors, then this could be the career for you. Source some reliable apprenticeships in your area, and get paving!