30 December 2019

Construction tradies: Canberra needs you

| Michael Weaver
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Carpentry is one of the trades with the highest demand for new workers. Photo: File.

There has never been a better time to begin a career as a tradesperson in Canberra, as the construction sector struggles to meet the demands of a growing industry.

Figures released by the Commonwealth’s Department of Employment show that the demand across all construction trades will increase by 9.2 per cent on previous estimates during the next five years.

The figures show the total number of construction trade workers is anticipated to increase to more than 445,000 nationwide by May 2024, compared with the 407,600 construction trades workers estimated to be active during May 2019.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said the highest demand will be for new carpenters and joiners, plumbers, painters, glaziers and wall/floor tilers.

“When you factor in the number of construction trade workers who will retire or leave the industry over the next five years, that means the required intake of new construction trades workers is massive,” Mr Hopkins said.

“In the ACT, the construction sector is the second-largest private sector industry, employing around 20,000 people, but as Canberra continues to grow, we need more qualified tradespeople to meet demand,” he said.

Nationally, more than 37,000 construction trades workers are required to meet projected demand during the next five years.

The figures predict that more than 16,000 carpenters and joiners will be required.

They also predict a shortage of plumbers. In May this year, there were more than 80,000 plumbers; it is estimated a further 7700 will be needed by 2024.

There is a similar demand across other trades, with another 8.7 per cent more painting trades workers required, along with 5.8 per cent more bricklayers and stonemasons.

Mr Hopkins said Master Builders ACT has been training and hiring construction apprentices in the ACT for 50 years and will commence a new cohort of carpentry apprentices in January next year.

“Construction apprentices can enjoy a long and rewarding career with safe and secure employment, skills which can be used internationally, and well-paid employment while they study,” Mr Hopkins said.

“We are calling on anyone looking to start a carpentry apprenticeship in 2020 to contact the MBA and find out how they can join this growing industry.”

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