We talk to Wes Zandt at the Down Under Centre about what you need to know to pass your Skills Assessment

Migrating to Australia is one of the most popular moves for British people looking to make a new start working abroad. If you’re skilled in a specific trade, then the job opportunities in Australia can be plentiful.

Skilled trade workers are in high demand in Australia; whether you’re a builder, carpenter, electrician, or specialise in any of the other key trade sectors – your skills are highly sought after!

There are many important considerations that go into any decision to migrate to Australia, with the opportunities for work being amongst the most important. It is vital to get to know the job market in Australia and understand how it differs from the job market in the UK.

Then, there are a number of processes that need to be undertaken to make sure that you are able to make that dream move abroad a reality. In order to become a trade worker in Australia, one of the first hurdles that need to be overcome is the Trade Skills Assessment.

What Do You Need to Know About the Trade Skills Assessment?

Wes Zandt

Wes Zandt, Down Under Centre

Just like the assessments undertaken in the UK needed to become qualified in a specific trade, the Trade Skills Assessment is an assessment of your ability. The main purpose of this Australia skills assessment is to get a clear understanding of your skills and make sure that they’re up to the expected standard in Australia for Australian migration – almost like if you were going for a job interview.

There is a significant demand from the immigration department in Australia for trade workers from the UK and Ireland. They are looking for people able to speak English and meet a high standard in their professional trade. In order to assure that potential migrants meet the standards expected, the Trade Skills Assessment has become a mandatory element of applying for an Australian visa for skilled trade workers.

If you’re new to the processes of a Trade Skills Assessment, like most applicants are, then there is a lot of help open to you. One of the best places to visit, for a wealth of information on the Trade Skills Assessment and other travel advice, is The Down Under Centre. Founded by Wes Zandt, The Down Under Centre provides invaluable assistance to any skilled trade migrant looking to make the move and relocate to Australia. Their skilled team of travel advisors are experienced with skills assessments for Australia, and migrating to and from Australia as a trade worker. Their migration agents will ensure the process is simple for you.

Wes Zandt was a plumber who migrated from Australia to London. He has first-hand knowledge of working in a trade Down Under and really understands what it’s like to start a new life overseas in your chosen trade.

What Trades Can the Down Under Centre and Wes Zandt Assist With?

All professions require an Australia skills assessment for the Australian Skilled entry visa. The Down Under Centre specialises in a wide range of trade skills, including the following areas:

Electrical Skills

  • Electrical
  • Automotive Electrical

Construction

  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry
  • Fitting
  • Cabinet Making
  • Toolmaking
  • Joinery

Mechanics

  • Motor Mechanic
  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration

Plumbing

  • Plumber

Engineering

  • Sheet Metal Trades Worker
  • Metal Machinist(First Class)
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Welder (First Class)

Hospitality

  • Barber
  • Patisserie
  • Hairdressing
  • Cookery

How Does the Trade Skills Assessment Work?

There are two key stages in the Australia Trade Skills Assessment: the documentary assessment stage and the skills assessment stage. Depending on your exact occupation, what’s involved in the stages can differ slightly.

Stage One: Documentary Assessment

Almost as if you were submitting a CV for a new job, the documentary assessment stage involves providing documentary evidence of different aspects of your trade.
There are two elements to the document stage that a migration agent can help with: proof of work experience in your trade and financial evidence. Proof of work experience is achieved by submitting employer references, photos, and in some cases, video evidence of your work. The second aspect, financial evidence, includes the provision of two forms of proof: wage slips, invoices, or tax documents.

At this stage, there is some variance in how the process goes. Generally, the information that you’ll need to supply will be dependent on your employment status (employed, self-employed, or sub-contractor). It is important to note here, that the Government forms that you use as evidence for the assessment must be certified for them to be accepted. A good migration service, a skills assessment agency service like The Down Under Centre, can advise you on what to do.

Stage Two: Skills Assessment

The second stage of the process differs, depending on whether you are in a licensed trade or an unlicensed trade. This is the main part of the assessment, with the purpose being to get a clear idea of your skills and how much you understand about your trade. Again, a migration service agent can help here.

Licensed Trade – Practical Assessment

For licensed traders, such as plumbers and electricians, the trade skills assessment takes the form of a practical assessment. This is normally split into three separate parts, with each part focusing on a practical task. In addition to the tasks set during the practical side of the assessment, there will be technical questions asked in relation to your trade.

The time limit of the practical assessment is eight hours, although it is common for some applicants to finish earlier than the given time.

Unlicensed Trade – Technical Skype Interview

The process for unlicensed traders is very different to the one for licensed traders. Unlicensed traders are required to take part in a technical skype interview. The assessment during this stage is performed by a qualified Australian trainer, who works in the same occupation as the applicant undertaking the assessment.

There is some variation between interviews, depending on your occupation, but you can normally expect the assessor to ask you about your day-to-day work, which tools you use in your job, and what you are responsible for doing each day. Before the interview takes place, the assessor will have reviewed the information you provided in the documentary assessment stage.

Most interviews last for around an hour and can be undertaken at The Down Under Centre. Plenty of advice can be given beforehand from migration agents who are experts in trade workers in Australia, migrating to Australia, and skills assessments in Australia.

How Long Does It Take to Process the Assessments?

The time it takes for processing at the documentary assessment stage varies quite considerably between applicants. Depending on what information you are requested to provide, you may have to wait to receive forms from your bank or from HMRC. The sooner that you can gather together the needed documents, the quicker the process can be.

The timeline for the Australia skills assessment is much easier to predict. Some applicants in engineering or construction trades have their assessment processed in the space of three weeks, whilst for others, it can take around five weeks. If you don’t have your assessment processed immediately, it’s often nothing to worry about. If you are worried, then just speak to your migration agent and they will advise as best they can.

Once everything has been processed, and the trade skills assessments have been successful, you’ll receive a number of crucial documents. These include the documents that are required during the migration process and an Australian Qualification Certificate III (AQF III).

Why Is an Australian Qualification Certificate III Required?

In the UK, the recognised qualification for a skilled trade worker is the NVQ City & Guilds Level 3 certificate. In Australia, the counterpart is the AQF III; obtaining this certificate is a mandatory part of the process for skilled trade worker migration.

Once you have fully migrated to Australia, and are searching for a job, this certificate can be very important. Not only does it demonstrate that you meet the requirements for occupation as an Australian trade worker, but some employers may require that you have the certificate to apply for a job. Just like in the UK, some employers require that you have an NVQ, whilst others are keen to see your previous experience.

Make Your Migration to Australia a Success

Starting the process of migrating to Australia is an exciting time, but can also involve much bureaucracy. If you’re concerned about what you need to do, don’t panic as there are many resources available to help make the transition smoother. The Down Under Centre has many great migration services that will help you with any migration advice and Australia skills assessments.

For additional information about the Trade Skills Assessment, we’d advise you to contact The Down Under Centre. Wes Zandt and the Down Under Centre are a comprehensive source of information and expertise in all areas of skilled trade migration to Australia. You can speak to Wes Zandt or any of his team at The Down Under Centre on 0203 376 1555 or email [email protected]. They are a friendly bunch and will be happy to help – especially if you mention that you were referred by PSS!

Wes Zandt Talking To Two Tradies About Their Skills Assessment and Migration Plans