Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2018: <5,000
Median weekly earnings: $901 to $1000
Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
There are many ways that glass can be used creatively by flat glass tradespersons. Not only do they install glass, they also create distinctive looks through their application of decorative finishes.

There are currently around 370 glass tradespersons employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the manufacturing and construction industries. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a younger age profile less than a third of tradespersons aged 45 years or older.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Glaziers

Accredited (Award)

  • Most of us take objects like the glass shower screens installed in our shower recesses at home or the shop front at the local butcher store for granted. Behind the scenes, however, skilled flat glass tradespeople cut, shape and install these glass products with apparent ease.

    Flat glass tradespeople can specialise in one of the following areas; flat glass trades, structural trades, working with furniture, glass cutting, glass bevelling, embossing, silvering, edging, colour cladding, or toughening and slumping.

    OutdoorPractical and Manual

  • To become a flat glass tradesperson you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Glass and Glazing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

    Training is usually both on and off the job. The off-the-job training is provided through Registered Training Organisations, including TAFE.

    TAFE SA offers a Certificate III in Glass and Glazing.

    For more details on apprenticeships, see the Australian Apprenticeships section. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

  • This occupation is subject to fluctuations in the building and construction industry, which continues to experience only moderate activity at the present time.

    Opportunities also exist in repair and maintenance works.

  • Flat glass tradespersons work with other tradespeople, such as builders as well as the public, on a daily basis, so in addition to their trade skills, it is essential that they have good communication skills. Before a job gets underway, flat glass tradespersons obtain the dimensions for a glass product from plans or from drawings or measurements taken on site. The glass is then cut using a technique where it is 'scored' and broken off using cutters. At this stage, any imperfections in the glass are removed. In some cases, the edges are shaped or decorated, ensuring that they are smooth (known as bevelling). Finally, the glass is fitted using different methods and mediums such as putty, chemicals or rubber. Decorative finishes may be applied to enhance the overall appearance of the glass. Completion of a specialist training course is required to go into the area of glass decoration. Engraving designs into the glass by grinding, sandblasting or by using acid results in embossed glass. Adding a solution to one side of the glass, making it silver or reflective is used to make mirrors.

  • There are some hazards, such as removing broken glass from windows, and in some cases, working at heights, that are associated with this trade. If you have a phobia about working well above ground level, then you need to think twice about this job. Handling glass can be extremely dangerous. Glass is produced in gauges from 2mm to 25mm. The thicker the glass, the heavier it will be. Safety policies regarding lifting are, therefore, important. To minimise any danger, the glass should be lifted in a certain way, and of course, tradespeople should only lift a manageable weight on their own. Mechanical equipment is used to move or lift glass that is too heavy to carry.

    Several manual and practical skills are required to operate the equipment needed for the job. Glaziers use cutters, drills, pliers, glass and wheel cutters, and bevelling wheels. Technological change has led to the introduction of computerised, automatic cutting equipment, which in turn has minimised waste.

    A flat glass tradesperson usually works between the hours of 7am and 5pm except if an emergency occurs out of work hours. Some overtime may occur on evenings and on weekends. A lot of travelling can be expected when going between work sites.

  • Employment for flat glass workers, decorative specialists and other flat glass specialist tradespeople can be sought with flat glass suppliers, manufacturers and other self employed glaziers. Flat glass tradespeople generally work in one of two areas; commercial or domestic installation. Those working in the commercial area will largely be involved in the installation and repair of shop front windows. The domestic market concentrates on window and shower screen installations in the home. Aluminium fabrication, while a separate occupation, is closely related to the glass and glazing trade. Fabricators make aluminium frames for the glass to be set in. A flat glass tradesperson who has the skills of an aluminium fabricator as well, will have more employment opportunities, due to their level of skill which is usually acquired on the job. Flat glass tradespeople need to have steady hands and it's important that they demonstrate accurate calculation and measurement skills. Incorrect calculations cost time, productivity and money.

    Further information:

    Glass & Glazing Association of South Australia
    Phone: (08) 8358 1541

    Construction Industry Training Board (SA)
    Phone: (08) 8172 9500