Construction will be ’firing’
IT’S of no surprise that the Far North faces a critical construction industry staffing shortage.
After the global financial crisis of 2008-09 many of our skilled tradespeople left the region to get work elsewhere.
Housing construction slowed and there was little commercial activity.
Many had hinged their hopes on the proposed multi-billion dollar Aquis integrated resort and casino at Yorkeys Knob.
Aspial’s Nova towers in the CBD were on the horizon, but there was nothing concrete.
Then, out of the blue, came Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud, who not only talked about $500m of investment, but started construction on three hotel sites in the CBD and is eyeing off a fourth.
Tradies came back to town while others, who were driving taxis and doing other work, pulled their work belts out of the back shed and returned to the tools.
But the uptake of apprentices has failed to keep pace with the resurgence in the sector.
A Construction Skills Queensland report says in the coming year “construction will be firing on all cylinders”.
“Employment in the industry has recently jumped amid the growing workload on offer, outpacing growth in apprenticeships.
“The pick-up in activity across all sectors leaves tradespeople in high demand and an expected labour shortage through the medium term.”
The report shows 10,200 people in the construction sector in the Far North but just 760 apprentices.
It suggests ageing workers having to work longer while fewer staff will be doing more work to meet shortfalls.
Nick Dalton Deputy editor