Rebuild & Design is a new program by FTMA Australia which targets workers, especially builders, who have either been injured on the job, or are simply seeking a new career, as we believe builders make great designers.

I know first-hand how debilitating a workplace accident can be as my husband Scott had a log roll on his back in 2004 which causing extensive lower back nerve and muscle damage including a fracture.

Scott had previously worked as a wool presser, builder, brickies labourer and tree climber to name a few of his career choices but given he was millimetres away from being a paraplegic, he had to retrain himself, as he could no longer do physical work.

Scott was lucky as he had a stubborn determined wife who convinced him that I needed help in the office of my old job and over a 6-month period we retrained him. Today Scott is Operations Manager of a business and his excel computer skills leave me for dead.

Even though Scott went through hell, he looks back now and thinks it is the best thing that has happened to him (besides meeting me of course!).

Builders are halfway there in being great designers. They know all the technical information, they know how to take off plans and know the terminology, they simply need to learn the design software and they have a great career waiting for them.

I asked a number of designers what they like about their careers to which they replied:

  • Having the trade background is a significant advantage. It provides a solid appreciation for the impact of designing decisions, gives an established understanding of what it is you need to achieve when designing and helps from a problem-solving perspective.
  • You’re always learning and growing. There are days you’re estimating standard houses one day, 12 townhouses the next, or a massive house that is an architectural masterpiece. I’m never bored in the role there is always something new, something to learn.
  • You go safe every day. Some days your mentally tired, but you have energy to go to the gym or go for a walk after work. On the weekends you have energy to play with the kids or visit friends and family. I like that there is longevity in this role, you can do this role for a few years or 25 years plus.
  • I like the flexible hours (if need be), the challenges of some designs, learning a lot about the building industry in general not just the framing side and seeing new and innovative products and software come into the market.
  • The role is family friendly and I am able to use flexible hours to fulfill all of my duties and even work from home.
  • I love being given the freedom of creativity in designing and problem solving or taking a complex job that has many design and information holes and producing an end product that goes together seamlessly on site. It’s interesting.
  • I now have a job that I enjoy, I am not being injured and getting my backside burnt off all day, I don’t have to unpack and then pack up tools every day, I am not losing money when it rains, I am not chasing builders for payment, and it’s a niche role that I can keep doing well after I would have had to otherwise hang up the nail bag.

There are a number of designers in our industry who are wheelchair bound, but that hasn’t stopped them and we believe we can help many others discover the next stage of their career.

FTMA will also be using the Rebuild & Design program in a number of other areas which we are very excited about. More news to come on this as we set up a few pilot programs!!

Nationally the frame and truss sector are screaming out for designers, so if you, or someone you know, has been injured whilst on the tools, or simply looking for a new career please contact us at

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