conservation earthworks

Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in conservation earthworks

The conservation earthworks industry is involved in the design and construction of earthworks associated with soil conservation and erosion and sediment control on rural and urban construction sites.

If you would enjoy assisting communities to rehabilitate water catchments while developing productive natural resources, then the conservation earthworks sector may be for you.

Controlling runoff to prevent soil erosion, safely storing and distributing water on-site and rehabilitating eroded or disturbed areas are key elements in the management of properties and catchments.

Well-designed and constructed earthworks and revegetation have proven to be cost-effective and reliable measures for soil and water conservation. These works are a sound, long-term investment for private landholders and communities concerned about protecting land and assets for future generations.

Areas of work include undertaking erosion and sediment control, planning and constructing rural earthworks, earthmoving in natural areas, specialist services, working with rural communities, assisting with agency policy and planning development, responding to emergencies, carrying out field calculations and using measuring equipment, and management of properties and structures.

Jobs and qualifications

Entry Level Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management »
Conservation Earthworks Operator Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management »
Senior Conservation Earthworks Operator Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management »
Conservation Earthworks Supervisor Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management »
Manager/Owner Operator/Contractor Diploma of Conservation and Land Management »
Business Manager Advanced Diploma of Conservation and Land Management »
Entry Level

Under supervision, the work includes operating basic equipment, assisting with routine maintenance and support conservation work.

Conservation Earthworks Operator

A conservation earthworks operator is partly supervised and may perform some or all of the following tasks:

  • Carry out erosion and sediment control work using specialist earthmoving plant, such as scrapers, bulldozers, graders, front end loaders, shovel-excavators and haul trucks.
  • Operate a range of vehicles and equipment, which could include tractors, four-wheel drive vehicles, chainsaws and earth moving machinery.
  • Maintain machinery and equipment.
  • Safely use chemicals to treat weeds.
  • Work in remote and isolated areas using map reading and radio communication skills.
  • Carry out revegetation works and planting of sites.
  • Assist with fire prevention, fire fighting and cleaning up activities.
Senior Conservation Earthworks Operator

A senior earthworks operator is a skilled worker who can work effectively on their own or as part of a team and may be required to undertake some or all of the following tasks:

  • Construct conservation earthworks, such as farm dams, rural waterways, contour banks, and access/fire tracks.
  • Implement erosion and sediment control measures, such as deep ripping, contour banks, drainage lines, and tree planting.
  • Operate, maintain and transport large earthmoving machinery and equipment.
  • Apply technical skills, such as map reading, testing water quality, surveying, and using, handling and transporting chemicals, and determining soil properties and soil types.
  • Undertake fire prevention, fire fighting and cleanup activities.
Conservation Earthworks Supervisor

A conservation earthworks supervisor will usually be responsible for a team of workers and may be required to undertake some or all of the following tasks:

  • Supervising staff engaged in construction activities with responsibility for their safety and work performance. This will also include on-the-job staff training.
  • Supervising construction and erosion and sediment control work.
  • Liaising with and providing information to the media, community and special interest groups.
  • Planning, scheduling, costing and organising construction, and erosion and sediment control work.
  • Supervising maintenance of machinery and equipment.
  • Planning and implementing the use of chemicals in weed control and revegetation work.

A manager or contractor will usually be responsible for operational management of a conservation earthworks business and may be required to undertake some or all of the following tasks:

  • Designing and planning conservation earthworks and erosion and sediment control measures.
  • Overall management responsibility as a contractor, or on behalf of an agency, including managing business operations and human resources.
  • Preparing and monitoring budgets and financial reports.
  • Conserving soil and water resources through implementing management plans and strategies.
  • Managing projects and programs, such as rural earthworks, restoration of bushland, reduction of wildfire hazards and controlling weed infestations.
  • Preparing and submitting reports, estimates and tenders for work.
  • Providing specialist advice to clients on soils, water and conservation earthworks.
Business Manager

At this level a person would be responsible for ensuring that conservation earthworks activities are successfully managed. Responsibilities would include managing projects, managing employee relations, managing policy implementation and developing and reviewing management plans and strategies.

* Source acknowledgement for some of the material: Primary Skills Victoria »