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There's a very strong imperative to generate lots of new
apprenticeships in the construction industry
It's official. There's a serious
shortage of bricklayers, carpenters and joiners throughout
Australia. And this shortage has the potential to put the handbrake on
the construction industry's growth. Bricklayers, in particular, are in
Why does this matter? Well, if you happen to be a skilled brickie,
chippie or joiner, you'll certainly have no shortage of work coming
your way. But it also means the construction industry won't be able to
keep pace with the demand for new buildings, whether they're houses,
shops, warehouses, or other important pieces of infrastructure.
Brian Berry, CEO of the Federation of Master Builders, said that the
shortage of brickies was something affecting nearly half of the
approximately 400 small and medium-sized firms who responded to a
recent poll. Other companies reported difficulties finding experienced
carpenters, site managers and supervisors.
So, there's a very strong imperative to generate lots of new
apprenticeships in the construction industry. But there are concerns
that only large employers will be taking up this slack. This is
because of a new levy on large businesses that's designed specifically
to fund new apprenticeships. Unfortunately, two-thirds of all
construction apprentices are trained by smaller companies.
Industry representatives are therefore calling for a scheme that
ensures new apprentices are trained by companies of all
sizes. They claim this is the only way this particular skills
shortage can be effectively addressed.
"If the levy on large employers is only used to fund
apprenticeship training by large employers, how will apprenticeship
training by small firms be dealt with?" said Brian Berry.
TAFE NSW has a good track record of addressing things like skills
shortages. There's never been a better time to apply
for an apprenticeship in the construction industry.
There are a few essential skills that TAFE NSW can help you master.
Applied mathematics, for example, is an often overlooked skill that's
essential for a successful career in construction. You'll also need to
get your head around ‘tradie speak' – all covered in the Certificate
II in Construction Pathways course.
Once you've grasped the basics, TAFE teachers can help guide you into
a career that will be best suited to your strengths. This will allow
you to move on to a specific trade course like bricklaying,
or joinery. From there, you'll learn the practical and theoretical
components of your trade with TAFE's hands-on approach, which is often
the quickest and most effective way to learn anything.
With shifting populations and demographics, this isn't the first
skills shortage the construction industry has seen. And it probably
won't be the last, either. But as long as there are people out there
willing to learn a necessary trade and literally get their hands
dirty, the industry will always bounce back.