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March 18, 2015

Q. Gday Nick.
My name is Chris. I am 28 and an established Carpenter of 12 years experience in the building and construction industry in QLD Australia. I am looking for a way to put my skills to better use. The industry in my area is very crowded and finding and securing work is becoming more and more difficult. I want to combine my love of travel, my desire to help or at least be involved and the skills I possess to help in areas such as; developing and third world countries remote and disaster areas.
I’m basically looking for some sort of a contact or a point in the right direction.
Would appreciate your feedback.
Cheers. Chris.

A. G’day, Chris.

So – you’re a carpenter, and it’s hard to find work, and you’d love to travel and help other people. So – I think that we need to deal with a couple of different issues here, and I’m going to be frank and honest, rather than tactful and sensitive. I hope that’s ok.

First – I don’t think carpentry is a skill that is in particularly high demand in the developing world. It’s rare that any society lacks the skills to construct basic shelters and structures. Most of the time there is plenty of semi-skilled and skilled labor available locally in these areas. What is often in demand is the ability to manage construction contracts on a large scale.

I would suggest that you don’t think of aid work as a way to find less competitive carpentry jobs – if anything the aid world is more competitive than a lot of careers. If there is a skill-set that is in high demand it is construction management, contracting, and the associated jobs of bidding and supervising sub-contracts.

Sorry if that isn’t what you wanted to hear,

Good luck,


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink
    April 27, 2015 5:48 pm

    Do you think they may require plumbers help over in Nepal to help set up medical facilities.

    • April 27, 2015 6:47 pm

      Hi Dan –
      Plumbers? Well, I don’t know. My suspicion is no, but I can’t say for certain. In general hands-on skills like that are hirable locally, and most agencies are looking to hire at the management level – construction supervisors, engineers etc. What you’ll also want to bear in mind is that a lot of people don’t get hired for their on-paper skills, but for their transferable skills – management, budgeting, supervision, problem solving etc.
      I would check out the Register of Engineers for Disaster Relief (REDR) – I think they have an Australian chapter – it never hurts to ask – let us know what they say. Ah yes – here is is –

      • Dan permalink
        April 27, 2015 8:10 pm

        Thanks Nick will let you know how we go. Regards Dan

  2. Catherine permalink
    February 25, 2016 7:45 am

    Hi Nick,

    I am responding to your comment above stating that construction management is in high demand. I am a construction project manager with full cycle experience on multi million dollar projects. I would love to know where to find/look for such required positions. Would appreciate any feed back and assistance!

    • March 1, 2016 2:06 pm

      I replied in a post – thanks for the question!

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