Fu­ture un­der con­struc­tion

Re­ports on a sec­tor where ap­pren­tices are in steady de­mand

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Classifieds -

AP­PREN­TICE in­take in Queens­land’s con­struc­tion in­dus­try has in­creased by more than 54 per cent in the past decade, out­pac­ing all other states bar Western Aus­tralia.

Con­struc­tion Skills Queens­land’s

re­veals 4.1 ap­pren­tices were hired per 100 work­ers in 2015, up from 2.7 per hun­dred in 2006.

De­spite the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis and slow­down of the re­sources sec­tor, de­mand for con­struc­tion ap­pren­tices is con­sis­tent and strength­en­ing, CSQ chief ex­ec­u­tive Brett Schim­ming says.

“From 2006 to 2015, the num­ber of qual­i­fied con­struc­tion work­ers cre­ated by the ap­pren­tice­ship sys­tem more than dou­bled,” he says.

CSQ di­rec­tor of ev­i­dence and data Robert Sobyra says Queens­land had been track­ing below the na­tional av­er­age in­take for nine out of the past 10 years but had now over­taken the av­er­age and out­per­formed al­most ev­ery other state.

He says the civil sec­tor – en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion of pipe­lines and mines, etc – has in­creased its ap­petite for ap­pren­tices in re­cent years.

“The qual­i­fi­ca­tion is called civil con­struc­tion in plant op­er­a­tions so it’s peo­ple op­er­at­ing big dig­gers, ex­ca­va­tors, trucks,” he says.

“It’s a broad qual­i­fi­ca­tion and I think it’s a great op­tion. All con­struc­tion ap­pren­tices have great op­por­tu­ni­ties, I don’t see any of them fad­ing away.”

In the res­i­den­tial sec­tor, Sobyra says there is a lot of in­ter­est in brick­lay­ers and stone­ma­sons.

“There might be a lot of peo­ple who iden­tify them­selves as brick­lay­ers but house builders, par­tic­u­larly big­ger pro­duc­tion house builders, are only tak­ing on brick­ies who are qual­i­fied,” he says.

“It’s now a li­censed trade so if you don’t have your ticket you’ll have a much harder time get­ting work.”

The CSQ re­port finds a shift in ap­pren­tice de­mo­graph­ics.

In 2006, more than 65 per cent of male ap­pren­tices were aged 19 or younger when start­ing but this dropped to 41 per cent by 2015.

Sobyra says more work­ers are get­ting a taste of the in­dus­try – as a labourer, for ex­am­ple – be­fore com­mit­ting to an ap­pren­tice­ship.

“I think it’s a re­ally healthy path­way be­cause non­com­ple­tion rates are very high com­pared to other in­dus­tries,” he says.

Sobyra says em­ploy­ers are in­creas­ingly seek­ing older ap­pren­tices. “In the civil sec­tor, you’ve got ap­pren­tices driv­ing ma­chin­ery worth a cou­ple of mil­lion dol­lars so (em­ploy­ers) are more in­clined to want a ma­ture-age worker,” he says.

The por­tions of in­dige­nous and fe­male ap­pren­tices are also in­creas­ing, the re­port finds.

While women only com­prise 2.5 per cent of Queens­land’s con­struc­tion ap­pren­tices, rep­re­sen­ta­tion has dou­bled in a decade. Scooter Group plas­ter­ing ap­pren­tice Krystien Ab­solon is the only fe­male in her work­place but says it doesn’t bother her.

“Girls are will­ing to just give (trades) a crack and sur­pris­ingly they are do­ing re­ally well at it,” she says.

Ab­solon rec­om­mends other women con­sid­er­ing a trade should start with work ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore com­mit­ting to an ap­pren­tice­ship to make sure it’s what they want to do.

GIV­ING IT A CRACK: Krystien Ab­solon, a plas­ter­ing ap­pren­tice at Scooter Group, says fe­males are do­ing well in trades.

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