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Published: 14th August 2018
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Traffic Control Jobs in Australia
While many people refer to traffic controllers as lollipop men, there is more to the job than holding up the "stop" and "slow" lollipop sign. The job requires endurance, good communication ability, and a moderate level of fitness. While the road works industry used to be a predominantly male-dominated field, more and more women are joining the ranks, with good reason too. There’s a big demand for this kind of work, and it pays well. If you’re looking for a job to fund your travels around Australia and allow you to extend your working holiday visa, then look no further.
So what does the work entail? A road traffic controller’s role is to manually direct road traffic on roads during road construction, maintenance, roadside works, and public events. The job includes planning and preparing the worksite, operating a two-way radio, coordinating and controlling traffic, and putting out signs and traffic cones. Good concentration is essential, as the work often requires standing for eight hours or more. It’s important to have a good attitude in this kind of work, as drivers can often get frustrated having to wait. One of the most challenging aspects of this work may be the weather. Road traffic controllers are required to work outside, rain or shine. This means standing under the hot Australian sun, or out in the wind and rain. However, working in the great outdoors has its perks too. You’ll see new parts of Australia, get a great sunglasses tan, and never have to worry about having a vitamin D deficiency!
Traffic Controller Job Requirements
Traffic controller license:
There are two different qualifications required, depending on the job. Level 1 qualification is operating the stop/slow bat. Level 2 is operating signs and devices. Thankfully, attaining the qualifications is as simple as a one-day theory course followed by a practical assessment. Each state and territory in Australia has its accreditation, which means if you decide to seek out traffic control work, it would be best to stay in the same state. Courses range in price, but generally, you should expect to pay about $250 per qualification. Assessment may be an additional cost.
Level-one training involves a single day of learning theory, followed by 20 hours of supervised practical work. You’ll receive a logbook that needs to be signed off by a certified traffic controller.
Level-two training involves, again, a full day of theory, followed by a practical examination. You’ll be required to set up three different sites. After passing this examination, you can then apply for a traffic controller license with the relevant state or territory department of transport. The traffic controller license is valid for three years.
Road traffic controllers need to have good communication skills. This means you’ll need a good grasp of English. Controllers often have to communicate via radio, so a clear voice and succinct language is essential. You may also be required to speak to drivers waiting, to explain wait times or driving directions.
Agree to drug and alcohol testing
Most employers of road traffic controllers will require you to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. Some employers may even require daily testing. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few hard-earned beers after work, but its something to be considerate of.
2nd and 3rd Year Working Holiday Visa Extension
Working as a traffic controller is a great option for those wishing to extend their working holiday visas for a second year. There are so many wonderful reasons to extend your working holiday visa. There is so much to see and do in Australia. Beyond that, it’s also a great opportunity to build skills and get solid work experience. Expending your visa requires three months (88 days) of working in a specified area of regional Australia and your employer pays you in accordance with Australian legislation and awards. Thankfully, a lot of road traffic control work is based in regional areas. What’s more, road traffic control work pays very well.
To extend your visa, the required work needs to fall into one of five categories:
- Plant or animal cultivation
- Fishing and pearling
- Tree farming and felling
Road traffic control work falls into the construction industry. After completing your 88 days of regional work, you can apply for the second year visa.
How much can I earn as a Traffic Controller?
Road traffic control work falls under the construction modern award. This means a wage of $28 an hour plus penalties. On weekends you could likely be earning up to $50 an hour.